915 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-3555, luckylab.com. 11 am-midnight Monday-Saturday, noon-10 pm Sunday.
[MAN'S BEST FRIEND] If you've been an eastsider for long
enough, you've had a neighbor like Walt. Walt has two disabled station
wagons growing moss in front of the stately Victorian he bought for
$5,000 in 1967. He brings his own Tupperware and hand-fired ceramic mug
to the coffee shop, where staff isn't quite sure why he's the only
regular still allowed to bring his old black dog inside with him. Walt
can't bring his dog into Lucky Labrador anymore, but it's still his
favorite beer spot. Walt's not the only one who loves the woody,
lived-in warehouse that Lucky Lab flipped two decades ago. The bounty of
space is shared by tabletop gamer groups, grad students, happy-hour
heroes in cycling garb, and, of course, guys like Walt. Oh, yeah, and
the beer. Well, the tap selection is as to be expected from a much-loved
and long-lived establishment, with a couple IPAs (Triple Threat for the
hophead, Super Dog for milder tastes), a sharp, smoky stout (Black
Lab), and a Scottish holiday ale sampled during a recent visit that was a
perfect balance of sweet spice up front and a malty finish. You may
tire of the mainstream selections by your Bitcoin-mining meetup's fifth
weekly outing, so be advised when venturing to the outer reaches of the
menu: The rotating cask selection is generally awesome, while the
Reggie's Red tasted like the hose water reserved for our four-legged
friends on the patio.
DRINK THIS: The rotating cask selection is always a pleasant deviation from the ales and IPAs if you're not in the mood for megahops.