Shallos indeed has an antique feel to it -- dark woods decorate every surface, dominating the decor from the moment you walk in the door. Those surfaces are in turn decorated by a plethora of beer-related trinkets, tap handles, bottles and what-not. We sat down at the bar in front of one of their five eight-tap stands (that's 40 taps for the math-phobic). Behind the bar is a large cooler that houses dozens of beers also available in bottles. A seasonally-appropriate line-up of Oktoberfest bottles were set on the bar in front of the tap stand.
The beer list is a bit overwhelming at first. The first thing I noticed was a large number of Bell's beers available, both on tap and in bottle. I've already documented my high opinion of Batch 8000, so when I noticed it on the menu, I had to order it. Unfortunately, the bartender informed me that their supply of Batch 8000 went quickly and they no longer have it. No worry (especially since I still have a 6-er in the closet!), I also noticed that they have Bell's Double Cream Stout on tap, which I've never had. More bad news: Bell's has been a little flaky with their delivery of kegs to Shallos recently and they no longer have that either. The good news? They have Java Stout instead! I've had it in bottle before (and LOVED it) but never on tap, so I quickly ordered that. It's quite possibly better on tap, or maybe this season's batch is just better than last year's. My wife decided to go with a pint of creamy Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
Next up, we decided to split a bomber. Two beers popped out at me: "Three Floyds Anniversary Ale" (I assume Fantabulous Resplendence) and Stone Imperial Stout. I asked for the first and they warned me that it was $25. Wow, a little rich for my blood. The Stone? $23. WOW, these guys drive a hard bargain on the bombers! We decided to settle down to something we'd had before and figured wasn't too expensive: Two Brothers Hop Juice. No price warning on that one, so I felt that we were safe. Man, I love Hop Juice: pure hop-gasm! You certainly wouldn't call it a well-balanced double IPA, such as Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA, but I still love it.
Of course, all was not well when the bill arrived. Wow, they're expensive! I can take $4, $5, or even $6 for a pint of beer, especially if it's something really special. But the high price of the bombers I was warned about apparently extends to all bombers, where we were charged $15 for Hop Juice. That only costs $5.99 at Parti Pak! Compare this to the price of Dreadnaught at a place like MacNiven's, where they charge around $13, only a dollar or two above the store price.
Shallos seems to think of bomber pricing more in the way restaurants think about wine pricing (i.e. 100-200% above in-store prices). This is especially a turn-off since most of these bottles are available around town for far cheaper and will taste exactly the same at home. That's in contrast to the taps, where you really are getting something special that you can't get elsewhere.
So, what's my final call on Shallos? Their selection is amazing and I'll definitely be back, but next time I'm sticking strictly to the taps.