The Ale House

Not Rated.
The Ale HouseThe Ale House
BA SCORE
86
very good

28 Ratings
Ratings: 28
Reviews: 23
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask:
[ Bar, Eatery ]

3744 Vestal Pkwy E
Vestal, New York, 13850
United States
phone: (607) 729-9053

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 23
Reviews by klewis:
Photo of klewis
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Very tiny and a bit cramped, even when slow. Dingy lighting. Contrary to other reviewers, I found the selection to be quite lacking. Sure, there are 36 taps, but many are local brews that, quite frankly, I didn't find to be quite interesting, and the remaining taps are mostly common beers of large production. And for 36 taps, the assortment of beer styles was quite small. Everything appeared to be served in pint glasses. Service was prompt and friendly and the prices a bit higher than I would have expected. A lack of a beer menu was an annoyance. Not bad, and apparently one of the only good places in Binghamton to get a beer, but far from what I've come to expect from a beer bar.

More User Reviews:
Photo of dewschnozzle
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3

Get a seat at the bar because if you do not sit at the bar, you may as well go someplace else because you are not going to get served.
The Ale House has a great selection to choose from. If you are unsure, ask the bartenders or have a "flight" of 4 5 oz beers as a sampler pack.

Photo of jlancemiller
1/5  rDev -73%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1

Pulling into my hotel I noticed a small strip mall place called "The Ale House". Thinking I had lucked out and found a place that might provide me with a place to relax during the evenings while in town on a consulting gig I checked into my room and crossed the street.
Upon entering I noticed a small bar with maybe 12 stools and maybe 6 tables. All the stools were occupied so I grabbed a table. Found a menu on my own decided what I wanted to eat from options that included about 5 types of sandwiches and a hot dog. Bar help seemed overwhelmed.
Time passed.
People came and went. Noticed there were actually two people behind the bar, but that only one was helping customers. Got my phone out and looked the place up on BA. Found many negative comments regarding service and that the help won't come to tables. Wonderful. So now I have 30 minutes invested, no beer in hand and not one person has bothered to beer me.
Final straw was when i did go to the bar. After about five minutes standing there like an idiot, during which time 3-4 more people came to plead for beer. One by one, the bar tender took orders from people who showed up after me. I left at that point and went across the street to an Applebees where they were really nice and responsive albeit without any beer I could drink.
Still not sure what their deal is. So can I recommend this place? Not really - unless you are fascinated by how bad bad can be and just want to see it for yourself - I would say avoid at all costs.

Photo of nova73
3.13/5  rDev -15.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

36 Taps. Some are usually not available. Often have to go with my third choice. Bar service is good. Table service is non-existent. They need to hire a waitress, not just have the bar staff deliver food that you have ordered at the bar. You need to go to the bar to get your own beer. Beer is pricey at $6.00 a pint. Best beer selection in the Binghamton-Vestal area. Many New York state beers available. Only a few macro's. Food is decent. Pizza is good for a bar. The beer list on their website is almost always out of date.

Photo of nh2032
2.73/5  rDev -26.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3

They advertised 36 drafts, but that's not really true. I had to run through my first 5 choices before finding one that was actually available. Why don't they just cross things off the board as they kick? Trying to keep up appearances I guess.

When we were there on a Saturday night the service was poor - bad attitude from our server and a long time for drinks to arrive. The lady working the bar seemed to be doing the best she could while the guy in the back just stood and watched.

The beer prices were pretty high considering the offerings that were actually available were standard selections. Think $5+ a pint.

It seems like this place is graded on a curve - since there are so few options in the Vestal/Binghamton area this looks better than it is, but compared to Syracuse or Ithaca it is pretty poor.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

My wife booked a hotel for us in Vestal NY not knowing it was across the street from the Ale House, well I had to check it out right? I will start off and say this place is small. You walk in the front door and there are maybe 8 tables against the left side of the wall and a bar with 10 stools off to the right. Bathrooms against the back left and a small kitchen against the back right. I went there around 8pm on a Friday and sat at the bar. The place was fairly slow but became moderately busy by 10pm when I left. 36 taps and only one or two were macros. They had some bottles, but I focused on the taps. I didn't have any food, but what I saw looked good. While the taps are solid this place is a bit pricy. Just about everything that I saw ordered was 6 dollars a pint. I would go back, maybe during happy hour.

Photo of bpalfrey10
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

My favorite bar in Vestal/Binghamton and I always stop by when I'm in town. The selection is good for Bing, as there are about 36 draft lines, but many are often dry. Every once in a while they bring in a cask ale as well, and sometimes they'll do brewery nights (Harpoon especially). I do wish the taps rotated a bit more often. I sometimes find that they'll keep the same couple beers on for quite a while.

The passport program is nice and a lot of fun (try 36 different draft beers and get an Ale House glass, try 36 + a bunch more bottles and you get a sweatshirt and your name on the wall). The biggest problem is the lack of bartenders, the few that are there are overwhelmed and it can take 15 minutes to get a drink on a busy night. I'd also love it if they kept a draft list on their website or on their facebook site, that would get me in more often. I also wish they would open on Sundays as they have great TVs and I'd love to go there for football. Prices are okay, just a little on the steep side for upstate NY.

All in all, a great bar.

Photo of Crystufer
4.55/5  rDev +22.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

The place is not much to look at from the outside, but its pretty nice once you get in. Feels like any other bar, really, until you bask in the glow of the selection. So many beers. They ask you if you've had a passport yet, then if you want one. A passport filled is truly an achievement. For doing the front you get a mug and the front and back together gets you a hoodie. You cannot get these things otherwise, so they are serious trophies. Though the selection is the main draw, the good is nice too. Good spiedies. And three prices are about average for a bar. Special deals make it easier some nights or if you kick a keg.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.53/5  rDev +22.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This is where I was first introduced to many craft beers. I used to go up after work try one or two of the thirty six beers on tap that I had not yet tasted, and then finnish with a Guinness to make sure I ended on a good note. Well, now I know there are beers out there alot better than Guinness and I find them here.

Last night, my wife and I went up, and I found Troeggs Java Head Stout on tap as well as Rougue's Mocha Porter. Thirty six different beers on tap and they rotate often, so there is always something new to try.

The food is pretty simple, but very tatsy. An excellent ribeye sandwhich with caramel onions, which keeps my wife wanting to go back as much as the beer does, a good burger, or a speedie sandwich. The service has always been excellent. The bar tenders are always helpful with suggestions and samples.

Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +7.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is right off the Vestal Parkway, near the apartment complex where my wife and I just moved.

I love the dive bar feel to it. Not too many lights. Small, old school televisions. A bit dingy, but clean, if that makes sense.

About 12-15 bar stools, give or take, surround the 30+ taps. There's a cool old-fashioned cash register that they still use, but they do take credit cards also. And then there are some tables behind all of the stools and the bar. There's not a ton of room in this place, but it seems like people are coming and going a lot, so it's fairly easy to find a place to sit even when it's crowded. Just don't go with a party of 3 or 4 or more.

Lots of good and mostly fairly local stuff on tap. Sly Fox. Cooperstown. Ithaca. Erie and Great Lakes. And there are some other Macros, not many, for those folks wanting that stuff.

They do the beers around the world thing, and if try 38 different beers, I believe, in one year, you get your name on the wall. And maybe a t-shirt or something.

The only minor problem is the prices, where not during happy hour a pint will run you about $5.50, which I find a tad high, especially since many of these are more local brews and they really don't seem like they'd have to charge that much for them. It'll probably be the deciding factor of not spending as much money as I otherwise would there. Happy hour, however, is 6-8 P.M. every day, and the pints are all a dollar off. That's a little better, but still, I just find it a bit much, considering.

The food's supposed to be good too. Maybe I can update this when I eventually have it.

With a bar like this so close to where I live now, and since I'll be here for at least the next four years, I'll be going during 6-8 when I get the chance.

Photo of Brownsfan7
2.17/5  rDev -41.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 1.5 | service: 3 | selection: 1.5 | food: 2.5

Many people say this is a beer bar but the truth is it is not.. You can go there on any given night and have 8 to 10 empty kegs... the last time I was there I tried to order 4 different IPA's..this included a local choice of thaca's flower power... However I was told they were sold out. Dont expect great things from this bar..The hype is not worth your trip!! They may try to get you in the "beers Around the world" program... Please do not join this.. I can get you the same beers for 1/4 of the price.

If you want to go to a bar and have your selection denied within minutes then this is your place!

Photo of Nay
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This plAce is an absolute oasis: I never dreAmed that I could get a decnt selection of ipas in the sticks but here it is. Food simple and tasty. Bartender knowledgBle advice about schwaggy beers and the good stuff. If yer here, stop here. If you live here you're a lucky bastard to have such a place. Dark, nice lighting, brightly lit beer boards, clean neutral smell which is a hell of a lot more than I can say about most bars. Highly recommended from a philly beer geer geek (not a Philly Beer Geek).

Photo of shangwang
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I lived in Binghamton for 2 years and this bar is by far one of my favorite in the country. Great selection- usually a handful of good seasonals, a constant rotation of new beers, and reliable favorites that are always available. The buffalo chicken spiedie pizza is fantastic- I usually order it white with extra blue cheese. The pork spiedie is a good meal as well. The bar is a little small and get quite crowded on weekends and at peak times, and during these times the service can be a little slow, but it's well worth waiting for. In addition to the 36 beers on tap they have quite a few bottles, so there's always something for everyone's beer taste.

Great place to try out, and the most unique beer selection in the area.

Photo of BlueStoneBrew
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I live in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 15 miles from the New York State boarder on Interstate 81. Bars in our area are almost always dives and rarely serve anything besides adjunct-reliant swill. For myself and those whom I go out with, the Ale House is a refreshing alternative (pun intended).

Although the establishment itself is small, the service is great and the selection of beer is well worth the trip into NY. Between the 36 taps and wide variety of bottles, there's always something new to try. They offer an "Ultimate World Tour," which requires that a patron drink a total of 60 beers in one year, including 36 that are on tap. I have completed the tour myself and think it's wonderful for encouraging folks to step out of their beer comfort zone.

Best of all: the only major domestic they offer is Budweiser, only in bottles and for a higher price than many of the higher quality beers. I once saw four college kids leave after a single round of expensive Budweisers. Cheers from the patrons rang out as they walked out the door. It was awesome.

I make the drive every Thursday night and can't wait to go there again this week.

Photo of foxmul924
2.42/5  rDev -34.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Given that it is a smaller, hole-in-the-wall bar, the Ale House has the best selection of on-tap beer in the Binghamton Area. They offer a free beer-card club whereby completing a tour can earn a pint glass or sweatshirt depending on its length (I'm currently on my 4th Tour). While it is fun to track your drinking progress, its lack of new selections makes each tour somewhat repetitive and, well, boring. Additionally, they also have a birthday offer for 6 FREE BEERS (approx $30 worth) between you and five friends that, if not used, should be a crime.

Despite priding themselves on having a '36' beer selection, however, they rarely have more than 30 beers on tap and really only offer no more than 10 different microbrews from around the country--which sounds like a lot, but not when they've had the same ones for over a year now--making it hard for those trying to complete their tours to avoid drinking imports one can simply find at the nearest gas station...

I don't mind paying for good beer, but $4.50+ for a typical pint is a bit steep (Popular Micros and Imports Alike). While they do have happy hour specials featuring three beers of $3.00, I personally do not believe the selection changes as often as it should.

While I have friendly relationships with some of the bartenders, I continue to find the overall service lacking personal courtesy. Owners seem to have something against kind people and stick to a small clique of grumpy, older people with whom they care to associate with--often ignoring obviously-thirsty customers.

Moreover, they often refuse or give guff when asked to fulfill the rights of prize-winning or coupon-holding customers.

While the service is average AT BEST, they retain customers because they (sadly) have the biggest selection of beers in the area. Instead of fun, beer-loving people out to spread the joys of beer, the owners are simply cold, hard-nosed business people.

Photo of slander
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I don't know why they call them "The triple cities". Clearly, Binghamton is the city here; the other 2 so-called cities are villages at best. Yes, it's true, and I'll say it to Johnson City and Endicott's faces, I don't care. Add to that the town of Vestal, named for a passage in an old Procol Harem song, and you've got "Greater Binghamton". Vestal is the home of one of the better state schools, and a few mile long strip of commercial hotel-retail-eatery everything, including something called "The Ale House". I knew it was there in Vestal, I just didn't know that I was in Vestal. Nice stumble upon; it was located just out front my hotel, this accidental ale house...

Amongst a little curbside clutter of stores, we dropped the car out back and entered into this small bar on the strip, parking ourselves at the 11 seat straight bar, stained & dinged copper topped. The barback holds tiered booze, and then ½ yard and yard glasses in the corner next to the Jager machine. A trio of 18" x 24" blackboards above the bar back listing taps in colored chalk, and a Monday Night Football wheel spun for prizes (pizza, growler, T shirt, $20 gift tab, beer). At the far end, a little grill and food prep area. Smaller blackboards on the bar overhang list specials and hold cutesy sayings. 10 square tables with a poly coating over coasters & foreign currency riddled about the room. Spots above, mounted TV's in the corners & off the end of the bar. Cut stone wall behind the bar, and green painted walls over wood slat lower pieces elsewhere. Beer club plaques all over, sports posters, and an ancient "When was the last time you were Jagermeistered?" poster.

3 towers of 12 taps at different points along the bar. A dozen of them from New York State breweries; Ithaca (Nut Brown Ale, Apricot Wheat), Cooperstown (Back Yard IPA, Strike Out Stout, Pride of Milford, Benchwarmer Porter), Middle Ages (Swallow Wit, ImPaled Ale), Blue Point (Toasted Lager, Hoptical Illusion, Oatmeal Stout, Blueberry Ale), and a good few more American micros (Erie, Magic Hat, Boulder, Clipper City, Sam Adams, Anchor Steam, Abita), and at least a dozen imports from top (Young's Oatmeal Stout, Chimay Tripel) down to the standard blah blahs.

Also a small bottled list, a few good beers of note (Orval, Maredsous, and a pair each from Chimay & Corsendonk). Wanted the Chimay but it kicked as soon as I spoke it's name, so I took in a Young's Oatmeal Stout, and Don had the Blue Point Toasted Lager. Beers were well kept. Second time around, I opted for an Orval.

Service was good, they let Don try a little of this and a little of that. Probably the best selection around. Maybe not Greater Binghamton but certainly much better Binghamton.

Photo of JimFalzone
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I love the Ale House. I lived in Binghamton for 16 years, and visited this place regularly. I never had a bad experience there.

At last count there were 36 taps, and the owner(s) did a good job of keeping everything clean and cold. I had my first Belgians on tap here. And with the "around the world" club, I had plenty of beers that simply were not available anywhere else in the county.

There seems to be a few slams on the food. But I regularly purchased the pizzas and loved them. Maybe people don't like the slightly oily NY style? And the cheese and cracker plate was awesome. I especially liked the spicy mustard. Other menu items were average, but nothing too bad like I've encountered at other bars.

I thought prices were great but compared to the Boston Area, anything under $5 a pint is great. I think craft beers were right around $3.50, which seems reasonable.

The place is defintiely too small. And it's less fun if you don't get a seat. People will constantly be banging into you on their way to the bathroom.

The vestal parkway location is fairly isolated, but there is plenty of parking out back.

I remember some amazing waitstaff that played great alternative rock on the CD player. And if it passed inspection, they would even play customers' personal cds. Some folks would bring their own "mix tapes".

The Ale House was like an oasis in the middle of an otherwise bleak beer scene in Binghamton, NY. You were more likely to run across $1 Gennesse drafts than anything from a microbrewery.

Photo of foamee
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

The Ale House is a small bar in a small strip mall amongst auto dealerships near the University at Binghamton. There are 12 stools at the bar and 10 small tables. A fiery grill is next to the liquor display. They have 36 taps, and no macros. But they have near-macros such as Blue Moon, Guinness, Harp, and LaBatt's. Almost all the rest are regionals. They have several Blue Point, as well as several Cooperstown, Ottercreek, and Brooklyn. The ladies tending the bar were pretty friendly, somehow we ended up staying much longer than planned.

Photo of Celt44
4.65/5  rDev +25.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Hands down, the best place for good beer in the Binghamton,NY area - quite possibly in all of Central NY. 36 flavors on tap - try local specialties from Cooperstown and Ithaca Breweries and West Coast greats such as Rogue and Sierra Nevada. They do have Labatt's for the "uneducated" who might wander in off the Vestal Parkway. An impressive selection of Belgian bottles in addition to Chimay on tap. Had a deliciously strong Orval Trappist last week.

The atmosphere is exceptional. Looks small and crowded from the the outside - but upon entering - you realize it has all the room you need for why you entered - a long copper-topped bar with those 36 taps front and center. Additional tables along the opposite wall if you're bringing a party. No overbearing jukebox or big screen - Classic rock emanates at a respectable level and a few small TVs to catch a game if you wish.

Bartenders always have a smile and are very knowledgeable about the product you request. And my favorite - having done it twice - if you kick the keg you drink for half-price for the rest of the day. If ever you're passing through Binghamton - this is a "Can't Miss" establishment.

website: www.beerjoint.com

Photo of Litterbean
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A great place for a pint after class. Probably the best selection you'll find in a bar anywhere near Binghamton, which is better known for swill drinking college students and the selection usually reflects that.

It's a tiny little place, but clean and inviting. Realy homey and enjoyable. Long bar with the taps prominently displayed. Nice signs that show off the selection, artfully done. Beer posters are a nice touch, and old labels adorn the tables underneath the lacquer.

The service is average at best. The owner seems to know what he's talking about, as he should. The other bartenders are female and everytime I have a question about a beer I don't know, they seem confused. I asked what Cooperstown's Pride of Milford was like and all I got was "not too hoppy." No other descriptors, blah. Anyway, they do pour well and there's always a nice pint to be had by them.

Like I said before, the selection is wondeful and ever changing. However, they don't have many imports, and the ones they do are standard (Young's, Chimay). Not that Chimay is bad, but $7 for 8 ounces is a pretty shitty thing to ask for. I'd like more styles as well. The place seems dominated by Stouts and IPAs. More Bocks, Porters, and Witbiers are a must in my eyes. The bottle selection is decent as well but doesn't differ too much.

I had a pizza there once and it was fairly good, nothing spectacular. The cheese and crackers platter is overpriced. Nachos are overpriced as well. The Spiedies (our local specialty) are good and are better bang for your buck.

Overall, this is a place I go semi-frequently, but with some great distributors in the area, it's more economical to go pick up a six for the price of 2 pints at the Ale House and enjoy them more freely.

Photo of palma
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4

Small place but unique, nicely appointed, and clean. Wooden tables, floors and walls, hanging beer paraphernalia, and a long counter bar. Friendly female bar tenders but I have to say, you wont be seeing any buybacks. I must have ordered 6 rounds or more and tipping them like crazy but never one buyback. I hate stuck-up bitches like that. Anyway, as far as the selection, I'd have to say it was pretty good considering they had over 20 quality micros. Didn't try the food but heard it was good. I would visit this place in the future only because it is one of the few bars in the area serving craft beer.

Photo of thinkbreakfast
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

I went to college just down the street from this bar. During my time there, it served me well as an alternative to the macro-serving weekend bars (the rat, sportsbar...).

After entering the very thick wooden door, you find yourself in a small dark room. This is the atmosphere of the Ale House. There is a bar and about 5 or 6 small tables against the opposite wall. There are a few TVs which mainly show sporting events. The music at the Ale House was always good when I was there; mostly classic rock.

The selection is fairly good with about 20 taps. Most of the taps are dedicated to micros (victory, Abita, red seal...) There are also some standard macros mixed in. The Beer Wheel is good if you can't decide. The beers of the world tour is a good way to spend $300 on a sweatshirt. Over all, a good place to come with friends if you don't want to listen to 50cent and drink bud all night.

Photo of sponberg
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Located on the south side of Vestal Parkway (Rte 434) about a mile west of Binghamton University across from Olum's Furniture. Big green & yellow sign, but don't blink or you'll miss it. Divided highway, so you have to go past it and turn around if you take Exit 70 off of Rt 17/I-86. Park in front or at the lot past it at the side of the building.

A small, small beer bar (thirty people feels crowded) with the feel of someone's basement bar - dark and cozy. A good selection of micros and imports on its 36 taps. Usually a few Victory, Weyerbacher, and Ithaca brews, as well as Ellicottville and other regionals, served very well. Never had a pint that was not in prime condition. A few macros for your swill-loving friends. In the good beer wasteland that is Binghamton, this is as good as it gets for 40 miles in any direction, and it's a fine little oasis regardless of location. The owner is friendly in a gruff way and has his opinions, which is cool. The barmaid... Very nice. Real darts with a good board, and the regulars make you feel at home.

Food is limited to typical bar food, sandwiches and pizza, and is very good. Have a spiedie if you can't decide - they're a local specialty, marinated grilled meat on a sub roll, and the ones here are outstanding (and I know from spiedies - I grew up 15 miles down the road). More of an adult bar than a "bring the whole family" pub as far as kids are concerned. Note: The website is in the process of being updated.

The Ale House in Vestal, NY
86 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.