Friday, May 13, 2011

The Hanger on the Wharf

Over the last few months I have been traveling to Juneau, Alaska for work, and while I am there I always take the opportunity to stop into the Hanger on the Wharf.  It is, hands down, the best spot in Juneau for beer.  The Hanger initially was a float plane hanger and retains many aspects of its original appearance.  Metal beams line the ceiling and hanging along the walls are the tap handles that a cycled in and out when new beers come on tap.  When entering the Hanger, the first thing you see is the large glass windows that follow the length of the pub.  The main seating area and bar is on first floor with additional seating upstairs.  Also of note are the pool tables on the second floor; these are free to play. 
Since I normally travel by myself I tend to sit at the bar. The bar tenders at the Hanger have to be some of the nicest and most social I have ever met.  This is also true about the locals in Juneau.  A majority of the time when someone sits down next to you it is really easy to strike up a conversation with them.  During the tourist season, the Hanger is packed with people that have just gotten of the cruise ships looking for a quick pint before running back to the boat or off to some site seeing event.  I bring this up because if you are like me and want to sit at the bar, then do not worry bar seats will open up quickly.  Another reason I am recommending the bar is because of the stunning view you get through the large glass windows of the harbor and the snow capped Mount Jumbo.  From time to time during the tourist season you can also watch float planes land and take off in the harbor. A majority of them will dock right in front of the Hanger on the Wharf.  If you cannot find a spot at the bar, your next best bet is the outside deck that is standing room only.
They have a wide variety of beers from the west coast including: Midnight Sun, Stone, Kona Brewing, Rogue, and of course the Alaskan Brewing Company, which is based in Juneau.  The Hanger on the wharf has the largest number of Alaskan brewing company beers on tap in Juneau, with the exception of the Alaskan Brewery of course.  These beers will change with the season and when pilot and rough draft series beers are released on tap.  Both series are the beers to keep an eye out for when you are at the Hanger.  The Pilot series beers are shipped to areas on the west coast, but the rough draft series beers are distributed in kegs only in Alaska.  They are limited in quantity so if you see it on tap while at the Hanger, my advice is to take the time to get a pint while you can.
The Hanger has a variety of food on their menu but a majority of the dishes are seafood related.  My suggestion is to stick with the seafood dishes while in Juneau; it is the freshest you will find anywhere.  Some of the dishes I recommend at the Hanger are the Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut, the Broiled Wild Salmon, and of course the bucket of four king crab legs.  The winner out of the three for me is the Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut.  The dish comes with a marmalade sauce on the side that works rather well with a meaty fish like halibut.
So whether you are on a cruise that makes port in Juneau, up there for business, or coming here to hike or ski the beautiful mountain range make sure to take the time to stop at The Hanger on the Wharf.  You will not be disappointed.  For more information check out The Hangar on the Wharf.