George Kiem, owner A Beer Club. Photo by Todd Cooper.

Best New downtown beer bar and bottle shop 

A Beer Club 472 W. 7th Avenue. Ste 5. 541-636-3094. 

Walking into A Beer Club, located at Washington and 7th, the first thing you’ll probably notice is the massive amount of empty beer cans and bottles decorating the walls. It’s a collection that owner George Keim is proud of. He’s drunk every single one, so when he says he’s a beer nerd, I don’t doubt it. 

Keim opened the bar and bottle shop in June and prides himself in the variety of beers he has on tap and in refrigerators. Before opening A Beer Club, Keim worked as an auto mechanic for 12 years but decided to give up the wrench for the bottle opener. And there’s a sense that his bar reflects his auto industry background. The bar is a pristine stainless steel counter with a light in the middle, which he says is a nod to the barroom scene in The Shining. 

The spot is meant to be an intimate place for beer lovers to gather and talk about the craft, Keim says. But don’t let the name fool you — no membership is required to drink at A Beer Club. Sure, he says that people can join its membership program, which offers customers cool perks like clothing and rare drinks, but it’s open for anyone, whether they like IPAs, lagers or root beer. 

Keim’s love for beer means that he’ll only stock drinks that he likes. With 26 drinks on tap and multiple refrigerators filled with alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer, cider and more, you’re bound to find something that you’ve been hunting for. Of course, I speak from recent experience. For years I’ve been looking for a beer from Segundo’s Broken Skull line, on which the Southern California brewery collaborated with WWE pro wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Having Stone Cold’s beer is all the proof that you need that A Beer Club is the real thing, and — to quote one of Stone Cold’s famous lines that dominated pop culture in the ’90s and ’00s — “that’s the bottom line.”  

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