1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Chapter House

Not Rated.
The Chapter HouseThe Chapter House
BA SCORE
95
world-class

32 Ratings
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 8.78%
Taps: 49
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar ]

400 Stewart Ave
Ithaca, New York, 14850-4559
United States
phone: (607) 277-9782

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by madmanjf:
Photo of madmanjf
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Stopped here AFTER the 2008 Ithaca Brewfest.

Needless to say, it wasn't very busy yet, but I'm sure that's not the norm.

40 lines ... impressive selection.

A rather dark and spent atmoshphere ... this is by no means bad. Clearly a place that gets crowds and enjoyed by all.

I certainly wasn't able to enjoy this place as much as I would've liked. Clearly, I need to go back when I have more time and can get the feel for the place better.

I really can't say anything bad. It obviously has the best selection in the area. It certainly rivals the better beer bars I've been to within NYC :)

There isn't any food available at this establishment.

More User Reviews:
Photo of logicalparadox
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Nearly 20 craft options on tap at any time. Awesome. Great selection.

Atmosphere, is very low key. Like a dive. But it's also very loud and lots of pandemonium on busy nights.

Free popcorn is a plus, if you're into that.

No frills, no fuss, just good beer.

Photo of YalovaIA
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Laid back place, feels like a neighborhood bar. Friendly service. Free popcorn. Very nice selection of tap beers, good representation of the local brews.

Photo of sleepysheep
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of boszormeny
3/5  rDev -30.7%

Photo of sam-d66
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of Mumbly
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Bar has 49 taps (no BMC). New lines are going in! One branch is already done.
Nice neighborhood bar feel.
When they first open their doors in the afternoon the clientele is older (that is not college students). Between 8 and 9 is when the clientele starts to change to more students. So pick which time works best for you.
The staff is friendly and helpful and of course will give you samples. Most of the beer selection is regional.

My only complaints are:
I wish they had more beers from outside the NY/PA region.
I wish they mixed up their beer selection a little more (you pretty much know what's going to be on tap--even with so many to choose from).

The "Chappy" is my home away from home. Check it out if you like a big selection.

Photo of ChrisKayler
3.94/5  rDev -9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 5

Great selection, cool college pub feel, FREE POPCORN!

Seemed a little cliquey during happy hour ... there were regulars and they got a bit better service, but we were always asked if we wanted another beer when we were empty.

Would definitely visit again.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This place has an authentic pub feel. There is a decent amount of college memorabilia hanging around that gives the place a heady ivy league feel, yet the place is dingy enough to have the feel of a working man's pub. It is inviting. There are 49 beers on tap, a very decent selection of craft beer - local NY & PA dominate.The bartender was informative and helpful. He pointed out that the Rogue Dead Guy I wanted was a mislabeled keg - very helpful without being pretentious. This place is classic and a must try.

Photo of bird18
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Visited twice during a 4 day visit to the Ithaca area in mid July 2011. Awesome beer selection about 30 taps. Lots of NY and PA brews as well as other great ones. Had Ithaca Flower Power, Southern Tier IPA, Middle Ages IPA and tried tastes of a Victory Brewing choice and English Porter. they had a good selection of stouts, porters and wheats, mostly East Coast but a few West Coast as well. Something for everyone even PBR. No food which is a shame as we would have eaten here every meal because of the great beer selection. Sat at bar both times we were there, great service and good conversations with what appeared to be regulars. Highly recommend if in Ithaca.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Amyliz4 and I visited this place Memorial Day 2011 after a visit to Ithaca. Some helpful BAs from the Mid-Atlantic group suggested that I go here to be able to try Middle Ages Blackheart Stout. The Chapter House had that beer as well as a few other things from Middle Ages, plus quite a few other offerings.

The atmosphere was really nice and laid back. The room was fairly dark and there were quite a few regulars sitting at the bar. Dark wood all around. It definitely had a bit of a pub vibe. The bartender was extremely friendly and helpful, chatting with us and telling stories about the bar. It was nice that he went out of his way to be friendly with people who were clearly from out of town. (If it wasn't apparent already, the Virginia IDs surely gave it away.)

I think there were about 40 taps with a really nice selection of pub standards (which only took up a few of the taps) along with tons of regional beer. Loads of things from Ithaca and quite a few beers from Middle Ages. Glassware was appropriate. Prices were definitely in check. Overall, it was a great experience and I will happily return if and when I get back to Ithaca.

Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Had a chance to stop in here for a quick pint of Cascazilla and I am happy to report that it met the expectations painted by all the previous reviewers. It's got the old neighborhood charm and college ambiance as advertized with the wonderful big wooden bar and essentially an entire bar of dark wooden warmth. I counted 30 taps and the range was very broad, including plenty of local, regional and international beauties. I didn't see a lot of really wild stuff, but it was plenty impressive and i was sorry I couldn't stay for more. It was a nice crowd combining students and some older folks. The bartender was quick and pleasant although I didn't stay long enough to fully experience things like I would have liked to. Good music, a larger room attached to the barroom looks like a comfortable place to sit with friends or do some homework with a beer. Decorations include various breweriana knick-knacks. I look forward to going back and can only say it would be tough to stay out of this place if i was a student at Cornell!

Photo of drummstikk
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Chappy served me my first legal beer. It got me through papers and introduced me to many of the beers I love today. I love the Chapter House!

Now that my bias is duly noted: Chappy has a huge selection in a dank wooden atmosphere. You'll feel like you're drinking in the 19th century in the middle of the Northeast's golden years of beer. What more could you want? Deeply etched picnic-style tables and benches are thrown together in a room inexplicably separated from the tiny room that houses the bar. Greasy and small window panes are housed in steel grids, all in swinging wooden frames that never quite shut in the winter. Free popcorn and foosball reside in the third room. Bathrooms are down a narrow and steep staircase. Aside the obligatory English football scarves, there are old photos of Cornell students, some actually from the 19th century, as well as, if I'm remembering correctly, a rowing shell.

If you're staying in Collegetown or on campus, be forewarned: the Chapter House is at the bottom of precipitous Williams Street. Be prepared for a sober skip down and a drunken slog back up!

If you're a Cornell student, don't go to Dunbar's or Johnny O's. You'll be able to find bars like these wherever life takes you. Go to the Chapter House, because you'll never visit anywhere else quite like it.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.91/5  rDev -9.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

The Chapter house is on the hill just off the Cornell campus. It's kind of isolated, there isn't really anything around except apartments until you head up the hill to the other side of Collegetown. It is usually packed with students, especially on weekends when it gets crowded and pretty damn loud. During the week it's pretty empty, with normal people and graduate students. The Chapter House is kind of known as a grad student hang-out actually.

When you walk in there is a bar on your left. If you walk toward the back of the bar you can make a left and head into the other room, which is full of tables, a pool table and a couple of dartboards.
The whole bar is kind of sticky, dirty and divey. Let's just say that you wouldn't want to eat anything that fell on the floor. I think they are deliberately going for the dive bar look and feel though, so it's possible that everything just LOOKS dirty and is actually really clean (they probably came by their grime honestly though). The bathroom is small, seldom very clean, and down a set of stairs.

On to the beer. That's one thing the chapter house has going for it. Around forty beers on tap, and they rotate regularly. Troegs, Sierra Nevada, Victory, Saranac, Ithaca, Southern Tier, Brooklyn and many other American craft breweries are included. There are always a few beers on special also. Last time I went 12oz Sierra Nevada Bigfoots were 3 bucks a piece.

Quality takes a hit from me because the first time I was here I ordered a Troegs Hopback and got a beer that came out of what was obviously a really dirty tap line. The place was slammed so I didn't bother to complain, but I should have. Every time that I have been back since, I have had no problems.

Service has always been fine for me, pretty quick when crowded actually. I've never really had any conversations or talked beer with any of the servers.

I'm not sure that I love the vibe of the chapter house, but it has a good beer selection, fair prices and is worth a stop every once in a while, especially on a week day.

Photo of jameswaldo
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been a Chapter House fan since I first came to Ithaca 40 years ago. For a little while they had their own brewing setup, but it took valuable floor space and rarely produced a beer as good as most of the 50 they keep on tap. They had a mediocre pubfood minikitchen in south room for a while, too, that I don't miss at all. Now they do what they're best at: draft beer you will like. (I've read some reviewers wonder about dirty lines, but know bartenders will pour you something else satisfaction guaranteed if you complain!) The ambiance here is so down-home funky, you need to know Japanese aesthetics to realize that the wabi sabi here is on purpose. When crowded, this place is extremely hopping. It's not set up for the best musical experience when excellent bands play here, but I'll forever remember the best shows of Mectapus, Horse Flies, Boy With a Fish that I much enjoyed here despite the awkwardness of stage and loudspeaker placement. I lived up the street on Stewart Ave for 3 years in seventies, then after Peace Corps higher uphill on College Ave in Collegetown from 77-80 and would have hung out at CH more but it was too smoky then; now that smokers have to do it on the sidewalk outdoors, CH is an even more beautiful old space. I like to bicycle around Cayuga Lake once or twice a year and always stop by CH on the way home. Bartender will let you try tastes before you commit, so take advantage of this to find a flavor you love. For sure try to get here when it's not too crowded. Happy hours sell you beer at especially good pint prices; there for sure will be something on tap to suit you. The free popcorn will help beer from sloshing too much in a hungry tummy, but no food served here these days. Ride your bicycle here if you can, or hike around Cascadilla Gorge just a block to north. Their website is really well-designed, too.

Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in here for a couple of pints as we were passing through Ithaca. Cool vibe inside with a long bar inside the door, a room off to the side with tables and some pool tables in the back. This place must be jumping when school is in session; not sorry I missed that.

The tap list is massive, with about 40 taps. Most taps were American crafts, with a good selection of NY beers. A few Ithaca taps (Flower Power, yummy!) were the highlight. Also a few Saranac and Middle Ages along with a Roosterfish hefeweizen that was just awful. Some pretty run of the mill selections from Victory, Stone and Rogue round out the American end of the craft list. Import taps are of the Guinness/Newcastle/Boddingtons/Hoegaarden "so what" variety.

Our bartender was a pleasant, outgoing guy. No food, but great free popcorn.

Worth a stop if you are in the area.

HV

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went here with some regulars while visiting Cornell for an open house. The atmosphere was stellar. This, my friends, was a bar for savoring beer with friends. Plus, you can't beat free popcorn. The first thing I noticed was a plethora of taps filled with tasty selections at good prices. Hoegaarden line was a bit dirty not a big deal. Service was friendly and good, if I end up in Ithaca I will definitely be a regular here.

Bottom line, if you're in Ithaca and enjoy beer, why the hell aren't you here?

Photo of penguinjive7
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

In my four years of living in Ithaca I never visited this place. I always meant to, but just never got around to it. I finally made my way over there while visiting a friend and man do I wish I had gone more often while living there. On a Thursday night at around ten, it was not very crowded or loud at all. There is a choice in three main rooms, with one of them being a place for a group of friends to share a few pints, and another having pool tables if that be what you're looking for.

The list of brews on tap there is quite impressive. About 50 or so taps with mostly US micro brews. Nice selection from Stone and others out in California to Ithaca beers brewed right down the road. The only complaint was that one of the Stone IPAs I had there was a bit off. It could have been the batch, but it also could have been sitting in the keg too long, not too sure.

Overall a great place to go for some good beer and never have to have the same brew twice in a night.

Oh yeah and free popcorn.

Photo of zdk9
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

One of my favorite places to just chill out and have a beer. The interior is filled with lots of character in the wooden tables and benches. There are pool tables in one room and a stage that usually has music (for a cover) on the weekends. It can get pretty crowded with college students at select times so if you're simply looking to enjoy a quiet brew be careful with that. As for selection they about 30ish taps of ranging styles and regions. I'm not sure if they are as equiped with bottles and very few Europeans so that's not the best, but it shouldn't be hard for anyone to find multiple beers they will like there.

As a side note they have had copies of BA mag for your reading pleasure in the past couple months.

Photo of JimFalzone
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

This place has already been thoroughly reviewed by others, but I'll point out a few things.

The selection kicks ass. And what's better? The bartenders typically know what they are talking about. If you walk in and say, I want something crisp and refreshing - they'll point you to a pint of locally brewed Ithaca Flower Power IPA. If you say that you like Guinnes but you're looking for something a bit sweeter, they'll point you to a Murphy's or Fullers.

The location is in the heart of "college town" this is the affectionate label of the part of town near Cornell University but close to Ithaca College. On a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night - this place can quickly become Animal House (in a good way). But unlike other college bars that serve swill and wine coolers, the Chapter House emphasizes beer and would laugh at you if you ordered a bud light.

The bands that play here are 90% awesome. Some of the local talent is unlike anything you will here in the world. Johnny Dowd, Plastic Nebraska, Sim Redmond, etc

If you come during the day, I highly recommend that you walk down one of the gorges in Ithaca. In fact, there is one about 2 blocks from this bar that is simply spectacular. We used to walk up this trail and reward ourselves with pints after the long (1.2 mile) hike. It earned the name "The Mush & Rick Fitness Trail" in honor of two friends who regularly made the trip.

Photo of slander
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

At the time, the hour round trip off the highway to and from Ithaca seemed like a good idea, but now I'm looking down the barrel of a 4 and change hour drive home. I'd say that it's just now that I'm thinking that a beer or two may take the edge off some, though really it was by design from the get go, I knew what I was in for...
Lots of old well worn wood here, the bar "C" shaped running the length to the rear, seating about a dozen. The mirrored barback has a beer can display running above it, just below the mounted set of rowing oars that probably belong to the boat that hangs from the ceiling. Glass lamp lighting above and wall mounted lamps behind the bar. The walls are covered with old Cornell fraternity and sorority composite photos, athlete and club pictures. 4 blackboards hanging to the rear list the tap and bottle selections and a collection of old beer coasters line the area above these boards and on the trim of the panelled glass front windows.
Dozens of ancient ceramic mugs and glasses from a past mug club of yore hang alternating from the ceiling, twisty metal lock games dangling on hooks from the bar back, and a single TV to the rear near the blackboards. The front area below the windows has a small sign reading "Wise guy's corner". I sat there because... well, yeah.
A row of taps 30 long sits on the bar, with a pair more holding 10 each below both ends of the bar. 50 taps in all, nothing on the hand pump (sooo sad), and oddly enough, a single bottle being Delirium Tremons. Good taps, locals & regionals (Ithaca, Middle Ages, Southern Tier, Wagner Valley, Brooklyn, Victory, Magic Hat) and not (Lost Coast, Bear Republic, Great Divide, Anderson Valley, Rogue, Anchor, North Coast), and so so imports (Youngs Double Chocolate Stout, Fullers ESB, Guinness, Harp, Bass, Paulaner Hefe, Stella, Hoegaarden, Jever, Boddingtons, Pilsner Urquell). Beers were fresh, no problems there, and the bartender let me try one of these and one of those, too, thank you.
Beyond the bar lies a room holding a pair of pool tables, electronic darts, a pinball machine, a foosball table, and a popcorn machine. There's a side room with some big tables, more Cornell pics and Phil's golf game, and a far room with an area for bands to set up, a giant arial Ithaca photo, some beer label displays, and about 8 tables, scratched, carved, and beaten to all comfortable hell.
I pledged my fraternity in the 80's, during the "hazing is amazing" years. My chapter house was never this good.

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Visited on a wintery February night the Chapter House was a welcome comfort from the blustery dark. Plenty of wood paneling and old pictures from Cornell's days of yore adorning the walls gave off quite a lived in feel. Everything was just a little worn and faded. There were not too many people when we got there and it stayed that way. The bartender was quick with the pints and there was some great beer to be had. Heavily influenced by the immediate areas Southern Tier, Ithaca, Middle Ages and Wagner Valley were all well represented. The rest of the taps were taken up with the likes of Victory, Rogue, North Coast, Stone etc. All the beers were fresh and not too cold. All in all this is a must visit if you are in the Ithaca area.

Photo of ithacabaron
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Where I cut my teeth as a burgeoning beer geek in college. It should be noted, although listed here as the Chapter House Brewpub, they no longer brew their own beer.

Don't worry, they've made up for it.

Almost perfect atmosphere here -- dark walnut walls, long tables, every inch of everything with something carved into it (and a few of them mine!). It's the kind of carefully worn-in place that's just about perfect when there's two-feet of snow outside, and you don't want to go face the 30 mile-an-hour winds outside just yet. I personally like to sit inside the cut-in windowsills and watch the snow fall. The only reason I can't give this place a 5 is because there are nights where a band is booked to play, resulting in two things:

1.) A cover charge
2.) It gets pretty loud inside, making conversation difficult.

On non-band nights, though, the room keeps at a decent volume, and you don't have to waste valuable pint money getting into the door. That being said, some of the bands are pretty good, so I can't complain too much.

Quality is very good, with beer served at the correct temperature, and with fair and generous pours. Service is good too, although sometimes it's hard to get the attention of a bartender.

The selection is fantastic, almost entirely on tap (a few bottles, and then, they're not everyday ones, like Unibroue 11 or St. Bernardus, etc.) 50 or so taps in all, all listed on a giant chalkboard, and grouped by price. This is very handy, because lord knows I've wandered in here a few times with just enough for a pint and a one dollar tip. Being able to see everything that is a certain price helps decision making easy. Prices range from 3 dollars (Ithaca, Boddingtons, etc.) to about 5 dollars or so (one-offs from local breweries, lambics, certain belgians, etc.). You'll pay a little more for vintage kegs, which they'll break out every once in a while, but it's worth it.

All in all, prices are very fair, and a friend once visiting from Boston was quite shocked to see them, stating "They're practically giving this beer away!" So put it this way: Decent prices for Ithaca, NY...great prices if you're from a more metropolitan area.

Food is not really a consideration, although endless baskets of fresh (and free!) popcorn is always fun.

Go here if you're anywhere within an hour or two of Ithaca.

Photo of JackStraw22
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

The Chapter House is at its best on a cold snowy winter night. There's nothing better than warming up inside with a quality brew. The beer selection is great, the best in Ithaca for anything on tap. The people who work there are always helpful and they know what they're doing. The inside is all wood with years of carvings on both the walls and tables. There is a good mix of patrons, mostly older college aged/grad students plus some residents. There are a couple pool tables some darts, and of course free popcorn.

Photo of shippos
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

The chappy, ithaca's best and the only bar in town for the beer advocate. cool looking bar that waas an old frat house long ago with carved up tables and walls, just about everyting wood in the place has a message or name carved into it. excellent selection of micros imports and a great selection of regional NY specialties. 50+ selections that rotate fairly regularly. they have a hand pump but has fallen into disrepair but they used to have cask ale on it. They are also into cellaring kegs and occasionally release storm king or bigfoot that has been aged a year or two. They also have yards, half and full as well as growler's to go.

Any homebrewers out there, we have our monthly homebrew meetings at the chapter house first tuesday of the month at 7:30.
check out our website: http://home.twcny.rr.com/jtonole/ipa/

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
The Chapter House in Ithaca, NY
95 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.