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Great beer and food. Wish they'd use a true Pint glass. The Freestate pub-size glass is 14 oz.
Freestate is far and away my favorite restaurant in town! If I'm ever trying to decide where to go to eat, they are always the first place I think of. A testament to their quality - they are always packed!!
I love the special hot Pastrami sandwich, OH MY GOD!! It's so delicious it's ridiculous! I wish it were on the menu year round though, it's far and away my favorite item on the menu! The fries are the best I have ever had, so potato-ey and flavorful and you really get a lot for your money.
The prices are great, you get excellent quality for less than you'd pay at, say, Applebees (which sucks). I have never once experience bad service here and always tip well as the staff are so good. They are always friendly and will offer recommendations when you ask. They are prompt about filling up drinks and I think they offer the best service I've had at any restaurant in town.
I don't drink beer so I can't comment on the quality of it, though my husband says it is awesome! He regularly buys the bottled versions from the liquor store so it must be worth the price!
All in all, Freestate is my favorite place ever in Lawrence! It was the first restaurant I ever ate at and it has spoiled everywhere else for me. If I were on death row, the hot pastami sandwich would be my final meal selection (with tiramisu to follow!)
Free State is the greatest restaurant and the best brewery in town. The black bean quesadillas are pretty much the tastiest thing I've ever eaten. The french fries, mustard that they bring out, and grilled cheese are also awesome. And they have great service.
Love this place. Honestly, I've had quite a few good dishes here, but I keep going back to the fish & chips. It always hits the spot! As far as the beer, it's good, but I've had better. Laszlo's in Lincoln comes to mind, their oatmeal stout puts Free State's to shame. That said, it's definitely not bad. I really like the "Invigorator" (I think it's a doppelbock), and the Old Backus Barleywine is pretty amazing, but sort of a rare occurence and definitely pricey at $4.00 a snifter. Anyway, I highly recommend this place unless you're turned off by a huge and noisy crowd & an incredibly busy bar & wait-staff, which is pretty much what you're going to find at Free State at any given time.
We had a great meal and had such a big crew, we didn't even notice "the regulars" (oops - half our table was filled with "regulars" - d'oh!). LOL!
Anyway, great Vegetarian-friendly options (I mean, it's La-La-Lawrence - they have to!). Vegans can request no cheese, etc. This place was a hoot! Only my third time there, though (ever). I would go back for a 4th, for sure!!!
I've been a Lawrence resident since the early nineties. The State has always been one of my top favorite local places. The food and the beer are equally rad. It's funny to read comments about it "going downhill" because I believe it to be one of the most consistently satisfying restaurants in town. Don't believe the naysayers! Free State remains an example of excellence for other local eateries to strive for.
The food sucked ass this past Friday night; our burgers and sandwiches were cold, as were the fries. The cheddar ale soup was awesome, but the ciabatta and home-made crackers were both stale.The food and service keeps going downhill.
People crack me up. Tell me one place in town that the food is better for the price. The service is always adequate and usually great. If the staff doesn't hold you hand the whole time, maybe it's because they are freaking busy. Oh, and the people posting about the beer not being cold enough should just stay at home and drink a Crap Light in a frosted glass. The flavor of a beer is lost when it is served too cold. Free State is great and I go there as much as I can afford.
FreeState is nothing without Debbie Sue. Her warm smile makes me want to drink more. Good environment, good food, good service and awesome beers.
Had to close immediately on 8/14/07 because of Cockroach infestation... I'll be back, but I'll be a little weary for a little while. To those who were not served yesterday.... it was not a "Kitchen Equipment Malfunction"... but these things happen. It just sounds like there was some major roachage.
Over priced and overrated.
This place rocks. Yes, there is an air of pretensiouness to it. The "we live in an artistic/democrat voting community so we're better than you" vibe.....But hell, it's an awesome place to eat. Love it!
I go to Freestate but it could be so much better.
What time of day do you need to go to actually get a "cold" beer at Freestate?
The Lawrence spot. It is so uber Lawrence. And the beers are amazing, some of the best in the world, not exaggerating, its true people who rate thousands of beers agree.
The food is just as good as the beer.
I think that the service at Free State is absolutely horrible! I think it's ridiculous when a person has to wait for 20 minutes just to get their drink order taken, which happened last time I ate at Free State. Seriously...how hard is it to bring around a glass of water?! I will continue to go there though because I think that food is great, but I would love to see some improvement in the friendliness and speed of the servers.
Best restaurant in Lawrence. Period. Cheap, yet they use great ingredients. Great service, and worth the wait. I recommend EVERYTHING. Start out with a Portabello Parmesan sandwich on foccacia bread. You won't be disappointed.
Free State is a standby. Everything on the regular menu is at best a classic and at worst a decent meal. And when you've tried everything on the menu at least twice, the specials are always something to look forward to. Then there's the beer. Mmmm, beer.
I love this place. The service is great and the food is even better. They have great beer. It's a great place to go with friends or family. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone.
this is simply Lawrence's most consistent and best reasturant and has been since it opened. Anyone who dose not "get" the Free State simply will never get lawrence because this place defines the whole town.
How can this place be voted best bar in lawrence? thats ridiculous
The beer is always great. The food is usually pretty good, and a nice variety of flavors. I think the prices are reasonable for most menu items. It's always very, very loud, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with the noise and the crowd. Service has usually been decent. A great place to go if you want to rub elbows and yell over your beers. Not so great if you want normal decibel conversation.
The quality of the food has gone downhill over the past couple of years, as has the service. Chuck has managed to infect all the workers with a "poor little freestate got screwed by the anti smokers" attitude. The freestate looks crowded everytime I drive past, so are those people drinking water and eating saltines? And $7.25 for black bean quesadillas? They cost 40 cents to make; what's up with that?
The service sucks, its slow, not friendly, snobby, inefficient, need I go on? Yeah, you are all to cool for words with your slick little boots and mini skirts, and no I don't want to chat. Just be somewhat nice, bring me what I ask for, right the first or second time, then leave me alone.
Chef Rick Martin always makes sure there is something new and wonderful on the daily specials. Damn, Chuck even grows the freakin tomatoes they use in his garden! Talk about hyper-local.
Sitting on the front porch for the St.Patty's day parade is something every Lawrencian and converted import should do. Wear the "because without beer things do not seem to go as well" shirt anywhere outside of Lawrence and get lots of laughs.
I heart FreeState.
The beer is wonderful and a good value. I wish John Brown Ale was a regular choice. The staff is attentive. I used to eat here frequently. Unfortunately, I have been disappointed in the food over the past several months. It used to be so flavorful and interesting, but now it is usually mediocre and unimpressive, which is sad. I have been hoping it was just been my bad luck to order the wrong item on the wrong day, so I kept trying -- but I have given up for awhile. The fish and chips used to be one of my faves, but the quality of the fish has been sadly substandard the last few times (awfully 'fishy' in flavor)and I no longer order it. The specials frequently sound wonderful as described on the menu, but no longer hold up to the glowing descriptions. I still go for the beer, appetizers, and the occasional avocado chimichurri. I am really cheering for this restaurant to pick up the quality of its entrees. I really want to love it like I used to! What happened?
Before moving to Lawrence, so many people raved about Free State, and how it was the one place to eat in town. The home brewed beer is by far the best thing about Free State, however the food was not as spectacular as people indicated. I would call it mediocre. it was definitely a let-down to eat there and not be dazzled. It's reputation well preceeded itself, as I expected more. Very similar to Rockbottom, which can be found in large cities like Des Moines and Denver. Both have exceptional home brewed beer, similar prices, however Rockbottoms will win because of the pool tables that are a staple at those establishments. I would recommend eating at Free State (or rather drinking), but if you only have one day in Lawrence, the food is better elsewhere.
OH! i forgot. They also make awesome corn dogs. They're on the kid's menu- But, they'll let you order them. Best during Mustard Madness.
Ad Astra, Oatmeal Stout, Half Price Beer Night, Portobello Mushroom Salad, Fish and Chips, Onion Rings, Queso, Cheeseburgers, Black Bean Quesedillas, The Atmosphere, Summer Days on The Porch, The Wait Staff... These are just a few of the great things about Freestate.
i dont really know why everyone goes so crazy over this place. the beer is ok, and the food, is decent as well. its just at the average in my opinion. nothing i have ever eaten has been "in your face" good. i dont know, maybe its cuz i have been i a cook for so long. and for gods sake, the food comes out way too slow. its a nice place to eat every now and then. its still on my list, but i will never be a regular
I REALLY love Free State... and not for the beer, since I'm not a beer drinker. I also have never had a bad meal at this establishment and my service has always been good. There's nothing better than their artichoke dip... heaven! My only complaint is that it is always soooo loud in the front part of the restaurant and the smoking is a bit of a problem for me too. That is why I really enjoy sitting in the back section. Not only is it much more quiet, but the room is beautiful too! FREE STATE ROCKS!!!
Inconsistent food? Iffy specials? I've never had bad food at Free State. In fact I generally try to order the specials because they're so...well...special. There are only two things here I can agree with: the beer is not cold enough and if you're not a smoker the layout sucks. But hey, in just a few days you won't have to worry about that anymore now will you? The food is great and the price is very reasonable.
First off let me say that I love the Free State. When I lived in Lawrence I was always there, and now that I live out of town I make it a point to go there every time I visit. However, it needs some changes.
My biggest complaint would be the fact that more often than not my beer glass is hot. Not room temp, or even chilled, but hot, just out of the dishwasher. I love the beer, but it somehow looses it's appeal when you are drinking a warm beer out of a hot glass on a Kansas summer day.
Next, I would say it has to be the smoking (I know some of you are rolling your eyes saying "Awww c'mon! Leave us smokers alone!) I have no real problem with smoking and yes I am a non-smoker. It's just the positioning in the restaurant. It makes no sense to have the smokers downstairs, and the non-smokers upstairs. I realize the smokers will want to be at the bar, but it makes it completely useless to have a non-smoking section. Just make the restaurant one or the other and quit trying to please everyone, because it is not working.
I would like to add that altough the food quality may be hit or miss, whoever designed the menu definately had the right mindset. Every Item on the menu goes perfectly with a Free State beer....I can hardly wait to get back to town and have my Free State cravings answered with a John Brown, and some fish and chips!!
They have amazing beer. I am allergic to milk, and unfortunately the only things on the menu I can eat are the burger (no bun - has dairy) and the fish and chips. Even the bread with the hummos has dairy.
But I do not go here for food. The beer ROCKS! I could sing praises of Ad Astra and a similar wow to Black Snake.
And you can buy it by the gallon and bring it home to share with friends. What more could I possible want.
Everyone time I enter Free State I get a smile on my face. Free State Beer the ultimate comfort food. The beers revival any brewery in the nation.
The laid back atmosphere and always friendly staff keep me coming back. The new food items and specials are often inconsistant and somtimes even disappointing. Therefore, I generally stick to the mainstays on the menu. Just ask a regular at the bar or one the servers and they will head you in the right direction in regards to food. In regards to beer you need to try all of them yourself and you be the judge. My personal favorites are oatmeal stout and copperhead ale. Be careful of the brandywine- It can be mind altering.
We really really want to love this place. But the food is erratic as of late and the smoke that lingers in the air is too much for us to bring our infant son with us, so we have had to boycott the Free State, despite our love of their beers and their heritage. Please do something about the smokers!!!!!! And take the grease out of your otherwise excellent food . Then we'll come back again and again.
6th and Mass, the history, the atmosphere, the beer -- the ingredients are certainly there to qualify Free State as the best restaurant in Lawrence. Unfortunately, the service (in my 10+ trips) has been lousy. I don't know why I go back. I have never experienced a more apathetic, unaccomodating, arrogant wait/bar staff. And I'm a liberal, they're supposed to like me -- Right?
While I sometimes hate the regulars, The service here is the best in town.
THREE freakin thumbs up for the servers at freestate.
Onion Rings are the best here. Artichoke dip is great. Salads are good. The value for the money is outstanding. Beers are all good. We had a private dinner group party of about 10 in the upstairs room and the salmon I ordered was fabulous and the service was great. Chuck Magerl is an icon!
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