The Garage Cafe (garagecafe.us) is a popular bar located near 5 Points South, known for its odd decorations and spacious patio area. Food is available during lunch hours. Blake made this week’s selection.
Greg: I was excited for Blake’s selection of The Garage Café. I have been many a times with the bros in the evening hours to hang out on the patio area and enjoy the weather. I had always seen the lunch menu and small kitchen area, thinking that it would be good place to try for lunch. We settled in to our small table, due to the restaurant being pretty full at lunch time. TV’s were on showing college basketball. The menu was unique in that it didn’t have any prices on it. It had some basic sandwiches and a soup of the day option. Being a cash only establishment, I came in with a set amount of money on me to spend ($10). The no prices made it an adventure. I settled on a turkey and ham sandwich on wheat bread. This came with some wavy Lays chips. I topped it off with a water. I figured this would keep me under budget. We waited about 10 or so minutes for our sandwiches. When they arrived, I was happy with the large size of the sandwich and amount of chips. The sandwich was stuck firmly in between “not bad” and “not great”. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was just a normal sandwich. I ended up closing out at under $8, which was exciting. If you are in the area, give it a try and judge for yourself. Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Bros
Joey: I’ve been to The Garage many, many times to drink beers with the roaches out on their patio. This time I went to enjoy lunch with the slightly better company of the BLC. I was surprised and pleased to find easy street parking directly in front of the restaurant. But like most restaurants we’ve visited, The Garage was fairly crowded at noon on a Friday. We snagged some menus at the bar and nestled into a seat underneath a hanging motorcycle. The menu was limited to a build your sandwich option and the soup of the day. The prices were not listed but I didn’t feel this was a “if you have to ask…” type situation. I ordered a cup of taco soup and half a BLT from the bar that could have possibly cost me a ton of cash but turned out to be quite reasonable. As I am currently not working on Fridays, I looked forward to the opportunity to order the first ever beer at a Birmingham Lunch Club meeting. I really felt this order would make me the Jackie Robinson of the BLC. Unfortunately, soon after I sat back down with my Shiner Bock I noticed that the hiring manager for a position I had applied for was sitting at the bar enjoying his lunch. But at least when I don’t get that job I can blame it on my Shiner Bock instead of my own job skills. The BLT was better than the soup and the beer was better than both. The Garage would be an OK place to meet a friend downtown for lunch for the same reason I like to meet friends there for drinks. It’s quiet and allows for a relaxed conversation. The sandwiches weren’t that great, but they were fine as an accompaniment to a conversation with friends.
Overall Rating:3.5 out of 5 bros
Brad: The Garage has one of the more unique atmospheres of any bar I have been to. In previous trips, I have gone with one thing in mind: overpay for a beer and ensure good conversation with friends. This trip, the goal was to enjoy some solid pub-grub and not hear the same recycled jokes: Greg will vote for Romney, Joey is unemployed and has roommates, I love Creed and Blake is stupid. (Only two of those are true by the way.) Sadly, only half of my mission was met. The joint was filled and it was incredibly musty inside – not the most comfortable of dining environments. I went with the smoked turkey and swiss on wheat with lettuce, tomato and cucumbers. It was priceless!… literally. The menu was devoid of numbers so I hadn’t any idea what I was paying. (Nice to see that somewhere in this wonderfully progressive state the lottery exists somewhere.) The sandwich came served with Wavy Lays and a pickle. I washed it down with water, as I wasn’t sure a soda would push my tab over 20 bones. The sandwich was good, but I feel I could have made it myself. It was rather average and I feel that if the cucumbers were missing, this would have been a disappointment. After enjoying my meal, I rolled the dice and headed to pay: $6.80. Not bad at all. Wish I could say the same for the temperature inside and the quality of food. The Garage is a great place to enjoy a cold beer – and they have plenty varieties to choose from. Sadly, this was not a “bar review.” You’re better off eating before you arrive and saving the scratch for a nice Good People Brown or other libation of choice.
Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Bros
Blake: I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences at The Garage: there was a lady with a mustache, a bluegrass band and my first meeting of my pal Andy Jackson and his lovely gal, Rachael (the only non-chartered member of the Birmingham Lunch Club to have a review appear in these pages). But none of those involved sandwiches, and I had heard good things. I had a half sandwich on rye and a cup of taco soup. The former was a “build-your-own” and “pay-as-you-go.” I had pastrami, kraut, ground horseradish and garlic. And I think that was all, but I remember a lot of delicious things on the options menu that I wanted, so maybe I asked for more. There was a pickle spear on the side, and I really like pickles. The ability to throw ground horseradish and garlic on this sandwich really went a long way for a guy who loves condiments. The taco soup was very good, but neither were something I’d make a special trip for. The environment is fantastic, the price was very reasonable (although, in hindsight, a tip was unnecessary), it’s got a nice location and the food was above average. The extensive condiment and topping menu went a long way for me. and are the leading reason why this review is so high. Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 bros
Composite Bro Score: 3.00 Bros