Bearfoot Tavern boasts broad board

jgaines@macon.comJanuary 27, 2012 

Well, sure, there’s sports. You can go to the Bearfoot Tavern to watch a game; but don’t go there just for sports.

Even those totally disinterested in sports can find something on a plate to hold their interest at restaurateur Cesare Mammarella’s latest downtown venture.

Mammarella is aiming for the Mercer University crowd, as the name implies. The plain wood booths and bare tile floors convey the atmosphere of a purpose-built college hangout, and he took the sports-bar concept seriously by placing a small flat-screen TV at each table.

Even on a rainy night, Bearfoot is pretty full. Basketball fans’ chatter echoes off the walls and high ceiling, making it loud but not overwhelming.

The menu carries all the sports-bar standards: nachos, chicken wings, burgers; but also lots more, from big salads to a variety of entrees. Those are good and plentiful enough to bring in people just for the good food.

There’s a full bar, but the main alcohol draw is a wide selection of beer, both in variety and origin.

I tried the Cubanito grande sandwich, with pasta salad and a pickle spear. It was delicious, and obviously freshly-made, from the hot peppered ham and egg to still-chilly avocado.

The range of ingredients illustrates the variety of Barefoot offerings: my sandwich also included prosciuttino, jalapeños, refried black beans, tomato, onion and a few other items. In fact, it was so full it was hard to pick up without something sliding out of the French loaf.

My only wish is that it had arrived sooner. Service was a bit slow, and my server got busy hauling beer to a large party. Her co-workers, despite apparently having less to do, took a while to pick up the slack. I didn’t get a drink refill or inquiry on my meal quality until the last bites.

A couple of friends, however, reported snappy service on a separate visit. One had the tilapia po-boy wrap and found it tasty enough to order on a second trip. The other tried Thai red curry chicken tacos (three to a plate).

But he’s a plain-food kind of guy: “It was good if you like fancy tacos,” he said. He scraped off the bean sprouts, but that still left the chicken, sweet peppers, cilantro and cheese sauce.

Bearfoot Tavern has enough variety to please most palates, though. My friend moved on to the smothered tater tots, and found the chili, shredded cheddar, scallions and diced tomatoes more to his liking.

Bearfoot Tavern

Address: 401 Cherry St., Macon

Phone: 743-4645

Hours: 4-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, noon-11 p.m. Saturdays, noon-10 p.m. Sundays

Payment: Cash, cards

Smoking: No

Alcohol: Yes

Kids Menu: Yes

Noise Level: High

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Health Rating: 100

Price range: Entrees start at $4.29

Rating: Three stars

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