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Old Hat Brewery & Grill

July 30, 2011

  • 114 N. Main Street
  • Lawton, MI 49065
  • (269) 624-6445
  • Website
  • Menu

This sucks.  I’m just gonna say that right up front.  I really wanted to like Old Hat Brewery.  I still do actually.

J and I decided to head out to Lawton for dinner.  I had come across the restaurant a few weeks ago and it actually caught my interest when I saw a Groupon for it last week.

I had a really rough day at work and I had a problem with lunch at a place I was really looking forward to eating at.  When J asked what I wanted to do for dinner, I suggested Old Hat because I sort of wanted a beer.

Old Hat Brewery & Grill is in downtown Lawton on a street that has a surprisingly abundant number of restaurants.  The brewery is housed in a very cool old brick building.  Parking is a little rough.  A competing restaurant across the street sees a large number of people for dinner on weekends and parking in the small downtown area is a couple surface lots and what ever you can find on the surrounding streets.

We actually found a lot behind the brewery and parked there.  I really don’t know if it was a municipal lot or if it belonged to the business next door, but we weren’t the only ones parking there. 

Since we were behind the restaurant, we entered through the back door.  You have to walk through a small outdoor patio to get to the backdoor which takes you into the restaurant near the small kitchen.  I can emphasis the word “small” enough and I’ll get to that in a second.

The space is fantastic.  There’s a large bar along one wall and a live event stage near the back.  The tables are all pub tables except for a row of booths along one of the distressed brick walls.  Mugs are hung from the ceiling above the bar for the regulars and there’s a really cool, laid back area tucked in to the corner sort of behind the ball.  It features a TV surrounded by a couch and a couple chairs.

J’s not a huge fan of pub tables and we didn’t want to take up a table better suited for a large group.  There are five booths along the wall.  Two of them were being used and two of them still had dirty plates and glasses on them.  The only open one was the booth nearest the windows and the time of day was brutal.  The sun came in and nailed that booth.  I took the brunt of it by facing the window, but J felt the warmth which we dealt with until the sun went down.

It took a good ten minutes or so for a waiter to come over with menus.  He dropped them off and went to the table behind us to take care of their order.  When he came back, we put in both food and drink orders at the same time hoping to speed things up.

J ordered a glass of ice water, but I wanted a beer.  Unfortunately, there was no beer list on the menu nor on the table.  The only place they listed their beers was on a chalkboard behind the bar.  From where I was sitting, I couldn’t really read it and even if I could, there were no descriptions.  The one I could make out and knew what it was was simply Mustachioed Gentleman Pale Ale.  The beer was really good.  It had a really distinct bitterness and a hoppy finish.

For our meal, we decided to start with the Macaroni & Cheese bites.  In addition to that, J ordered the Big BLT and I ordered the 1/2 lb. burger with bacon and cheese.  Wait, something seems odd, doesn’t it.  Isn’t this the part where I usually dive in to details about each of our meals?

Yeah, we never got them.  Not even our appetizer.  We waited patiently for an hour and twenty minutes.  Eventually, our waiter came over and apologized for the wait and offered a beer on the house.  At that point, we were both getting frustrated and very  hungry.  We asked how much longer it was going to be and the waiter couldn’t offer a good answer.  He explained that there is only one cook in a galley kitchen and he can only do one ticket at a time.  After waiting an hour and a half, there were still three tables in front of us so he was guessing at least a half hour.  It also means that our “appetizer” was going to come out with our sandwiches.  The only reason we ordered the appetizer in the first place was because we were both really hungry and didn’t want to wait on the sandwiches.

At that point, we politely declined the offer of free beer and asked for the check for the beer I had already drank.  The waiter told us not to worry about it and we left.  We went to Big T’s across the street and were in and out in twenty minutes.

I was pissed.  I really want to like Old Hat Brewery.  I really want to like all Michigan breweries and I have no doubt that if we actually would have gotten our meals, I would have liked Old Hat.  All the food coming out looked delicious, but two hours to get a burger is a little ridiculous.  I mentioned this at the top, but I really feel for those that bought Groupon’s.  Places usually get bombarded after they appear on the coupon site and from our experience tonight, a typical Saturday night was a bit of a problem.

I’m not saying don’t go.  The place has a really nice vibe to it and the beer I tried was very good.  That’s why I keep saying I want to like the place….I just don’t think it’s going to happen for me because tonight left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Old Hat on Urbanspoon

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    August 8, 2011 12:30 am

    My party of four had the exact same experience! One cook, one waitress, and one bartender, (if you could call him that, more like a bar ornament from the way he moved). Never got our dinner, did manage to get a beer sampler after a half hour wait and would have liked to order the Bees Knees which was the tastiest on the sampler however, after an hour wait we also went to Big T’s across the street. Too bad, the bar does have a good feel to it. We heard from some of the other costumers that the owner had been there earlier and was getting lots of complaints so he had left by the time we asked for him.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      August 9, 2011 2:38 am

      In a way, I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I hate complaining about some place, but if it’s happening to other people, it must be a problem.

      At least Big T’s across the street has good food. I’d hate to waste a night out….

  2. Jeff permalink
    October 6, 2012 11:52 pm

    And a few months later, Old Hat closed. Coincidence? I’m sorry to hear it.

    I’ve heard there are plans to reopen the business, with a new brewmaster and presumably other staffing changes. I’d love to see this happen.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      October 8, 2012 3:37 pm

      I’m not a really big fan of Groupon…I think they’ve led to the demise of more than a few businesses…..businesses that sign up don’t realize just how many people will show up to use their certificates….

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