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Bar serves li-beer-ty and justice for all

by Nancy Kirk, Staff Writer

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Like a Yogurtland for beer and wine, Barrel Republic in Pacific Beach allows patrons to self-pour and taste a plethora of beer and wine at their own leisure.

The pours are tracked via an electronic wristband, which is synced to a credit or debit card that gets charged per ounce at varying costs.

Many first-time patrons fear the uncertainty of the wristband because they don’t know how much their total is going to cost, but they are usually pleasantly surprised by the amount they’re charged.

“People get nervous so they’ll go steady,” said Reyna Quinn, a Barrel Republic cicerone and staff member. “But when their tab is actually like $8 or $10, they’re like, ‘Give me my band back. I’m going to go get more.’”

The novelty of serve-yourself taps is entertaining in and of itself.

It allows beer enthusiasts to try 44 rotating options from local and national breweries, said Quinn, who get to taste-test all the beers to better serve less-knowledgeable customers.

“People will ask what beers are similar to a Guinness or Stella,” she said. “Everything is different today, so I had to try a lot of beers. Darn it.”

Some of her all-time favorites include a coffee-cream ale by Ballast Point and a s’mores campfire stout by High Water Brewery in Chico.

Due to current, painfully hot weather, Barrel Republic has a lot of India Pale Ale and other, lighter beers.

When it starts to get colder outside, Quinn said they will probably put more stouts out.

The interactive qualities of this unique bar extend beyond self-pour taps. Barrel Republic offers an assortment of board games, which gives the bar a laid-back and friendly spirit.

Customers love playing games like Sorry, Jingo, Cards Against Humanity and Never Have I Ever.

In addition to the buzz of a little playful competition, Barrel Republic has free snacks, such as freshly popped popcorn with optional flavor shakers like butter, garlic Parmesan and kettle. There’s also a recently added free nacho bar on football Sundays, which Quinn said has been a huge crowd-pleaser.

It’s the perfect place for a group event, as well as a date night with a little more privacy because servers don’t interrupt anything.

There are comfortable rustic seats and wood panel walls, with a line of taps embedded into a giant barrel that covers the left wall.

Regardless of what beers are out any given day for tasting, patrons are bound to find something they fancy at this unique bar that encourages interaction through board games, self-pour taps and free popcorn.

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