Venti's Cafe and Basement Bar
325 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
phone: (503) 399-8733
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proper glassware used
outdoor seating options
family friendly location
Overall Score: 86.7
Selection: 5.0 | Service: 3.5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Food: 4.5
Date: Wed, Jan 6th 2010
Venti's has some of the best rotating taps in the Eugene/Salem area. It started as a bento shop serving chicken skewers over rice. Now though they have a full menu of great bento food, soup, wraps, and even bar food. Their signature dish being sweet potatoe fries with their special dipping sauce.
Venti's has a total of 8 rotating taps. Over the last six months they've had beers from 52 different breweries. There are 2 levels, the basement bar, and the cafe up top. On tap there's always always four seperate selections for each level. The philosophy for choosing taps is at least one is dedicated to blonds and pilsners. The second tap is reserved for darker maltier beers, The third for IPA, The forth for something above 6 or 7 percent. Both tap sets follow this philosophy allowing for some variety.
The taps are picked by their very knowledgable head bartender, and he heavily favors west coast breweries, especially local ones.
The atmosphere in the bar has been described as Eugene like. There's always people from the art and hipster crowds, as well as your average Joe. It's fairly laid back and small. Service has been dodgy in the past though. One of the bartenders needs help changing kegs when they blow, so if he's serving it can be a wait at times. Also some staff have been known to chat alot meaning you can end up waiting for a drink. Since it is downtown parking can be an issue sometimes as it is on street parking, and spaces aren't always readily available
Overall though this is still the best bar in Salem if you like great beer.