Lynnhaven Pub is a craft beer mecca

Every city has a hidden gem, tucked away off the main thoroughfare. It’s the kind of spot you want to know about but won't until someone lets you in on the secret.

Lynnhaven Pub in Virginia Beach is that sort of place. Tucked away off West Great Neck Road in a small commercial center, the unassuming corner shop has one of the area’s best beer selections. If you're hungry, you'll be able to order some of the best brisket in the city.

Full disclosure: I order the brisket every time I eat there. I'll tell you more about that in a bit.

I'll say this up front: Lynnhaven Pub is one of my favorite spots in Virginia Beach. If you've been around the area for a while, you might remember it as the spot for the dollar draft. Once Rob McGraw bought the place six years ago, he started to transform the place from dive bar to craft beer mecca. The décor hasn't changed much. It’s dark when you walk in, and you'll probably have to squeeze by a bunch of people to get to the bar if you’re there on the weekend. The pub has a pool table and an outside seating area. All of these things lend to the atmosphere of authenticity; pretentious, the pub is not.

If you want a great pour, you're in the right place. The huge beer menu changes with the seasons and always has American crafts and European imports. Virginian craft beers generously pepper the menu. Beer geeks will be pleased with the variety and the staff’s knowledge.

Some regulars at the bar say that since the Lynnhaven Pub has started getting more exposure in the past couple of years, they feel their secret is out. Still, recently, I was talking up the pub's beer selection and food. The guy I was talking to said something like, “They serve food there?”

In addition to the beer selection, Rob has put together a menu of delicious food. Using only a toaster oven and two panini presses behind the bar, Lynnhaven Pub throws together amazing bar food. The pub's brisket is prepared on-site. Rob smokes the beef with aged barrels used by Blue Mountain Brewery and Beach Brewing Company. He hauls them to the shop by the dozen. The brisket is served a few different ways—my favorite is the beef brisket sandwich -- but it is also available in a grilled cheese. It comes with chips, a pickle and house-made BBQ.

Another favorite is the Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich, created by Mike Rowland, who works behind the bar and is a veteran of some local kitchens. The chicken is beer-can smoked using 21st Amendment’s Brew Free! Or Die IPA. It’s prepared with pine nuts, grapes and several other ingredients, so it has depth but is still light and refreshing. I've had this served on Belgian endive and it was great. If you like subs, the Dirty Jersey Grinder is a sure thing too, ham, salami, turkey and with two cheeses—provolone and American. Drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar after being topped with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Lynnhaven Pub uses a Bon Chien sauce made from BFM's (Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes) much-celebrated beer brewed in Switzerland. Rob uses his own blend of peppers when he whips this together, making it spicy and a little tangy. The sauce is served with the BFM Bon Chien Sandwich: turkey, bacon and Swiss. I could go on about the food, but I don't have that much space in the magazine.

Lynnhaven Pub might look a little scary on the outside, but if you enjoy great beer and food, it's a must-try. People say that the best spot to find something good to eat is the local hole-in-the-wall. This is absolutely true for this place. It  has something for everyone: high-end bottles and drafts to domestic staples. Lynnhaven Pub has monthly events, often with brewers and distributors. You’ll do yourself a favor by checking it out.

Lynnhaven Pub is at 2236 W. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.


By George Culver