Clustered alongside I-80 in Fairfield, a junction East of the I-680 and CA-12 interchanges is a collection of petrol stations, fast-food restaurants, and pizza joints. In the midst of this plentiful, but uninspiring food options is a sports bar called The Slanted Tree Kitchen and Taproom.
The Slanted Tree’s focus is on serving craft beer on tap; with a wide range that changes on a regular basis. On the visit about which I am writing there were twenty beers to choose from. One of these was from Colorado, one from San Diego, and the other eighteen were from Northern California. I have only visited half a dozen times since they opened this Spring, but on each occasion at least one of the beers has been from Fairfield’s excellent Heretic Brewery.
The Slanted Tree’s wine options are more limited, but are, with the exception of sparkling wine, sourced from the Suisun and Green Valley AVAs; so ultra-local.
The food is fairly standard bar fare, but that works well with the beer. On this visit, I had their BBQ Burger and California Girl’s mother had a chicken sandwich. They offer a few more options after 4pm Monday to Friday, including fish and chips. I have yet to try The Slanted Tree’s variation on this dish, so there is another visit needed in the future.
Since, as previously noted, this is a place whose focus is beer, I did not drink wine and selected the Fireside Chat Winter Ale from San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery. The beer had an excellent rich, creamy flavour of chocolate and roasted nuts; it reminded me of one of my favourite British beers – Adnams Old Ale. What I had not noticed when I ordered it, was that it was 7.9% ABV; so not a session beer and one that benefited from slow sipping.
I ordered my burger medium and it was served medium to medium-well; so within the bounds of acceptability. The balance of bacon, BBQ sauce, and burger provided an enjoyable contrast of flavour and texture. The stand-out item were the beer-battered fries. The batter gave them a wonderful crispness on the outside and an accent of additional taste. These would be a great complement to the aforementioned fish and chips.
California Girl’s mother had the chicken burger, which she ordered with a side of coleslaw. She was impressed that the chicken was moist and not overcooked to dryness. The coleslaw combined creaminess, with the crunch of crisp celery, and a slight spice kick.
Both of us were happy with our food choices. I left some fries and a few bites of burger, not because there was anything wrong, but simply because of the size of the portions.
The decor of the bar is simple, but effective. It is in an end unit of an anonymous strip mall building. It uses this location to have windows along two walls. The wall behind the bar is covered in wood; the bar itself is wood and corrugated metal, with the counter being a large piece of polished timber. There are several large screens around the bar. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and various NFL games were being shown. The sound was turned down low, so the main noise was chatter from other tables and we could talk easily. When the games came to an end, music was turned on; unfortunately at a volume that made it difficult to talk. Since this happened just as we were finishing, this was not a major problem.
The Slanted Tree is a great place to drink craft beer or watch sport. The quality of the food and the friendliness of the staff are added bonuses.