I happened to be in Ellicott City and acquaintances had recommend the Bench to me a number of times. It sits on the man drag just at the west end of the old historic main street. Parking can be a bit of a pain, street parking is the easiest but not always available. There are some off street lots as well. For street parking and some of the lots there is a charge, some of the lots are free, but parking enforcement ends at 6pm.
When i arrived, it was around 4pm, the bar was empty, just bartender and myself. I've never felt comfortable with being in an empty bar, but to be honest it wasn't that bad. The bartender was extremely friendly and i had the chance to chat with the owner for a while. It eventually picked up progressively become a full house. I found the crowd to be friendly, welcoming, and sociable. Before i left they were setting up for karaoke with live back up, they also have a stand up night, trivia, and bands on different days of the week.
I mainly came here for the drinks, so i didn't have the opportunity to have any food. As for the drinks, expect a nice selection of about 15 craft beers on tap. Their about an additionally 30 more in bottles. The craft beer selection ranges from the local, to the regional, to some out fo the region ones, so it ends up being a nice selection. And as seems to be a growing trend in "beer bars" the glassware in which the beer is served match the style of beer. Price wise it isn't to bad, it ranges by type, from about $3 to $7.50.
The Bench has gotten a bad rap in previous years for the clientele that it used to draw, it used to be a biker bar, one of the rough types on top of that. But from my experience the Bench is far removed from its biker bar days. Needless to say, with the service, patrons, and beer selection i will be traveling back to the Bench in the future. And hopefully next time i'll grab a bite to eat.
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