Quick Info: Allen Burger Venture (or ABV) is small, casual craft beer bar and restaurant that serves a variety of gourmet burgers in Allentown. The restaurant is owned and operated by Mike Shatzel who also owns The Moor Pat, Blue Monk, Liberty Hound and Coles (you may have heard of them). After a lengthy construction process, the restaurant and bar opened in March 2015 in the former Quaker Bonnet Eatery. The restaurant has a unique look and feel; the walls are covered in classic vinyl covers, there’s plenty of exposed lightbulbs and the beer tap handles are old metal tools. On top of having wine on tap and a TV hidden behind the beer tap list, the bar also has elaborate copper tubing that runs through out the liquor selection that feeds a water facet (used when customers order a liquor ‘neat’ and need a drop or two of water).
Our Meal: We’ve visited ABV several times since they opened their doors to the public in March, mostly for late night drinks. Like every other Mike Shatzel establishment, the draft beer selection is top notch. On any given night ABV will have 24 different beers on tap and if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to grab a pint of Community Beer Work’s ABV IPA (brewed exclusively for ABV). The first time I tried the food was with a group of friends and we shared almost every side order and a couple burgers. The french fries themselves are still great, very reminiscent of what you’d find at Blue Monk. The poutine order, however, was disappointing. The foie gravy didn’t have a lot of flavor and had an unfortunate grainy texture. The onion rings and tater tots were really good, both homemade versions of pub classics. The exterior had been fried to just the right amount of crisp while the interior still had a nice bite and wasn’t dried out. We ordered the tots on my second visit and they were still very enjoyable, especially with a side of scallion sour cream.
On the second visit, a friend and I shared two burgers. We ordered the Three and Eight, both burgers were topped with bacon but Three has ‘Ommegang onions’ and cheddar while the Eight has a fried egg and American cheese. Both burgers were cooked perfectly, medium rare, and were incredibly large. The toppings weren’t obnoxious and stayed on the roll, which meant we could eat them without making a complete mess. Our biggest complaint with the burgers were the rolls…they were bland, crumbly and not toasted.
Summary: I absolutely love the bar at ABV, their beer and whiskey selection is easily the best in Allentown. The place looks fantastic and the music is always on point. Currently, this is my go to place to meet friends for a good beer. Since they are still relatively new to the area, the place is still incredibly busy. The restaurant fills up very quickly and the bar only seats ~12 people, which means if it’s a very busy night you have to really squeeze in there. We’ve only tried a small sampling of the food but we left with a good impression of the sides and with a couple tweaks to the burgers (primarily with the roll), I’m sure I will find myself ordering many more. I’ll be back often.