Another Wet Night at Prohibition Tap Room

Burger Breakdown

Prohibition Taproom - Map It!
$9.00
Lettuce and tomato shouldn't count as toppings but they come on this burger. So do roasted cowboy onions and either Jack, Cheddar, Blue or Brie cheese.
Thin crispy house cut fries are included.
5.5/10

It was one of those winter nights on the edge of freezing but still warm enough for rain. Kyle and I had just unloaded the shipment from the New York gangs and were counting out our earnings. Kyle's a good partner for this kind of work. He trusts no one and can smell a rat from a mile off. No one ever stiffs him. They know he handles the cash and I handle the artillery. They also know I shoot first and ask questions later.

It was a pretty good take that night. Enough that an honest man could have lived off it for a year. But we're not honest men and we had an expensive habit.

We decided to celebrate another job well done by indulging our normal sins. It can be hard to find a drink in this town unless you know someone. Lucky for me Kyle knows everyone. There's a good place on the edge of town that the pigs haven't found yet. It's too far from the city's glamour to attract much attention or the kind of people who might start asking questions. It was just our sort of place. We've never learned it's actual name. We always just call it the Prohibition Taproom.

The Taproom keeps a supply of the good stuff. They import from all over the area. I'd ask who they're connected with but I don't want to raise any flags. It's easy enough to be recognized in this town without opening you mouth.

Inside, the lights are dim and the food is hot. There's a good variety on the menu and the atmosphere is cordial. It's nothing fancy but there's nothing wrong with that. In short, it's everything you want from your neighborhood bar and nothing you don't.

The Burger: Eight ounces of ground chuck with lettuce, tomato, and roasted cowboy onions, which honestly seem out of place. Isn't there a kind of onion that is cooked in booze by Sicilian gangsters? House cut fries and your choice of cheese are included. Asking for substituions might land your arm in the fryer though.

A photo of the burger at Prohibition Taproom

Laurence: Prohibition Taproom was nothing that I expected. The name conveyed a speakeasy feel but the actual execution is more similar to National Mechanics than the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.

We ordered an appetizer of beer battered green beans. A real treat, and a testament to the idea of simple food with a little bit of flare. Served with roasted garlic aioli dipping sauce, they didn't last long on our table.

The burger too was not what I expected. It was simple and, keeping with the theme, was quite good.

I was surprised mostly by the actual meat, which at first appeared to be too perfectly shaped to have been made by anything other than a machine. If it was, the taste did not betray it. Tender and succulent, with strong flavors of Worcestershire and and salty bite. Though slightly on the thin side, it was not overcooked and held its moisture. As Kyle mentioned, it's probably of the high-end frozen variety but that makes it an excellent middle-of-the-road patty—nothing fancy but not much room for complaint.

I couldn't add much about the cheese because as is often the case with middle to low quality cheese, flavor takes a back seat to adding savory calories to a meal. In much the same way that bootleggers of the prohibition days would craft scotch from lower end booze and some fancy chemestry, knowing patrons would drink it because they didn't have a choice, the cheese on the Pub Burger is esentially tricky chemestry and you don't have any other cheese options unless you're the kind of person that carries a brick of sharp Vermont cheddar in his bag, and let's be honest, that's going too far.*

I did enjoy the fries and appreciated the fact that upon ordering your meal you are given the option for a shitty bun or a fresh ciabatta, but didn't understand why they bothered. I suspect it's just to give you the feeling of winning a superior product through your own smart choices. It must work on some people lacking proper brain function. Kyle was really pleased with his choice. Rating 5/10.

*I saw this for real, when a crazy lady got on my bus. She almost hit me in the face three times in her flailing. I did not wish to partake of the cheese. No, I don't like cheese, thank you. Really, put that away. I don't want to have to hurt you.

A photo of the burger at Prohibition Taptoom

Kyle: We spend so much time going to places just for their burger that we often overlook places we already like that may not be known for the caloric artistry. Prohibition Taproom, despite it's two Sailor Jerry tattoo minimum, is one of those good bars that never occurred to to me to visit for Burgerdelphia, even though I've been going since they opened.

The bar isn't known for its burger, and that's unsurprising. It's not bad: I was satisfied and it delivered exactly $9 worth of beefy joy. However, the patty had the excessive water and salt you'd expect from a frozen grocery store burger. Sodium is the predominant flavor, with a slight undercurrent of sodium-flavored beef and a dash of sodium. It's one of the fancier frozen patties, and is enjoyable, but still comes in a box that lists the parts per million of rat noses.

You're given the options of white or ciabatta as well as a few cheese options. I selected brie and ciabatta; brie because I wanted something interesting on the burger, and ciabatta because what the fuck. "Okay" is the only word that comes to mind when thinking of the brie; soft, melty and a bit milky, it was unremarkable in both good and bad fashions. The ciabatta, on the other hand, was the only real standout in the meal, with a nice crusty exterior and a taste mix of both wheat and rye. The fries are decent, if unremarkable, but make up what they're lacking in volume. Eating Prohibition Taproom's burger is absolutely fine, and that's disappointing.

My disappointment with the meal has less to do with the burger and more with the bar. That is to say, I really like Prohibition Taproom. I wanted to give them a good review so they would like me and let me sit at their lunch table. They have some other excellent food, including the must-have beer battered green beans and my favorite pulled pork sandwich in the city, and always have good brews on tap. Mostly, the bar reminds me of growing up the '90s, when we were too young and naive to realize that just because someone liked the same bands as you didn't mean they weren't an asshole.

Prohibition Taproom is worth going to, even if they do force you to say which Pavement album you think is best to get in the door. ("The one where they ripped off Sonic Youth" was not the right answer.) Is their burger worth getting? In the words of our generation, and the bar's target demographic, "meh." Rating: 6/10.

Verdict: 

A great bar with a mediocre burger.

5.5
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