Vine Street Pub, 1700 Vine Street, is known for its brews (pouring Mountain Sun-made ales, stouts and lagers) and its hippie-friendly atmosphere. The walls are decorated with an array of mostly psychedelic band posters, and there are no televisons -- although the pub does provide board games and books if you get bored. And the unique staffing setup -- everyone in the place works every job, from host to server to cook to bartender, and all share a tipping pool -- means that you'll be taken care of, and taken care of well, by everyone in the restaurant, not just one server.
And what will they be serving you? If you're looking for vegetarian grub, some very decent choices -- many of which can be ordered vegan.
When it opens for dinner at 4 p.m. (Vine Street is also open for lunch on Fridays and weekends), the pub fills quickly with large groups of families, couples dining together and businesspeople taking an early happy hour -- so you'll want to get there early if you want a choice, dining-room spot. The appetizer menu is very veggie-friendly, with French fries, chips and salsa, hummus, and a gigantic plate of nachos, $9, pictured above. The chips come covered with melted jack and cheddar cheese, black beans, salsa, sour cream and diced jalapenos. You can add chicken for $1.25, and half-orders are also available -- which you should consider if you're not that hungry, because this is a beast of a plate.
Besides the usual salads and veggie burgers (two options: garden or black bean burger), Vine Street offers vegetarian green chili, vegetarian black bean chili, burritos, quesadillas, a portobello mushroom sandwich and this tasty tempeh Reuben, $6.95, normally served with chips -- but we substituted a spinach salad for an additional $2.95. Vegans can take the chips or ask for the salad without the blue cheese crumbles, and the Reuben without the Swiss cheese. Otherwise, this plate is very vegan-friendly, with sauerkraut, tomato and perfectly prepared tempeh. Sometimes the Reubens come out a smidge dry, but an extra order of vegan Thousand Island dressing will remedy that quickly.
Vine Street Pub's sister locations in Boulder offer similar vegetarian fare; you can view the whole menu for each location by visiting www.mountainsunpub.com.