The Chapter House
Taps: 49 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 27
4.66/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
They say you cant go home again; not so at the Chapter House. I havent been to Ithaca in 3 years, but I was instantly recognized by the bartender (which only goes to show how much time I used to spend here).
Not much has changed: still very rustic with carved up tables and benches displaying various fraternity insignia. Fraternity photographs adorn the walls with the occasional beer bottle label collage. The popcorn is still available, and all you can eat, but it has found a new location near the dart boards. Why? The Chapter House now features live music, and thus a stage has been erected where their food bar (really just a nacho bar) used to reside. Hank Roberts and Wiggy Dog Boy happened to be playing that night, and so I was treated to an interesting blend of classical cello with jazz and rock influences. Another thing of note: Chapter House serves liquor again.
Beer selection is excellent as always (I counted 51 beers on tap). If youre not sure what you want, the bartender will be more than happy to provide a small tasting. Many New York State selections are available including Ithaca, Middle Ages & Southern Tier. Stone is present here (Arrogant Bastard & IPA) as well as a few Victory selections. There were a few bottles now as well: McChouffe, LaChouffe, and one other that escapes my memory. Pricing is excellent, with beers ranging from $3 to $5.
This is one of my favorite bars of all time, and is not to be missed if you find yourself in Ithaca.
06-28-2004 02:36:41 | More by cbl2
4.22/5 rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4
The chapter house is the perfect college bar. They offer free popcorn, lots of dart boards, pool tables, and lots of space. There are 4 seperate areas which helps keep the place from getting too noisy. They offer long tables which allow you to meet new people or fit your entire group into a nice space. They have bands many weekends. It is a pretty rustic looking place and is not filled with lots of snooty rich college kids, it gets a good mix of people. They have at least 30 different beers on tap at any one time, usually more I believe. The selection is varied and there is a wide price range, along with nice happy hour deals on certain beers. They carry beers from all over the country with an exceptional amount of upstate ny beers. I have never gotten a skunky or stale beer here and highly recommend it.
03-05-2004 18:25:34 | More by etho1416
4.64/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
I've lived in Ithaca for almost 25 years now and this has always been by far the best beer in town, and my absolute favorite. In many ways I feel like I grew up here in terms of my beer life.
Atmosphere is a very subjective thing, but I love the ambiance of this place. The building is a re-built (after a devastating fire) barn-like carriage house with huge open spaces and quaint nooks and crannies, so you can situate yourself according to your mood. Very worn and utilitarian furniture. Graffiti (carved and scribbled) everywhere...some of the best in men's room reading to be found anywhere. Pool, foos, darts..all the fun pub stuff.
Quality: Okay, not not always the cleanest place in the world, but the handling, storage, and presentation of the beers is deadly serious and superbly done. They used to brew their own beers here some time ago, and the respect for the beer has no doubt carried through.
Service: The staff know their beers and how to properly serve them.
Samples are available as are growlers (although pricey) to take your favorites home with you. This place can get crazy busy, but the beertenders adapt well. I've seen many a bartender spend time with a customer to help him/her find something they'd like.
Selection: I have spent untold hours mapping out my strategy for sampling the huge array of brews on the chalkboard. And then re-strategizing the revised list posted during for my next visit. Seasonals, locals (MA & Ithaca), Imports of virtually all styles and origins (English, German, Belgian) always rotating. No macros. All this thinking sure makes a guy thirsty. Long bar with roughly 50 taps (including a beer engine) and all of the requisite glassware.
Food(?): Best popcorn in Ithaca. Nachos are great too. Beyond that, you're outta luck.
Phenomenal draught variety in comfortable/playful surroundings.
11-11-2003 00:39:24 | More by DagFishHead
4.64/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
I grew up in the Ithaca area, but relocated to Boston about 12 years ago. I have seen The Chaper House go through changes over the years (bar, club, brewpub, beer bar).
I get back to the area about twice a year, and I always make at least one stop here. The atmosphere is great for hanging out with good friends (in my case, old friends from my youth) and drinking some great beers from the numerous taps (its got to be like 50). Cornell nostalgia from years gone by hangs on the walls and from the ceiling, and the tables in the big rooms contain years of carvings left by many a beer drinker. Pretty cool stuff.
The service is great, and the bartenders are friendly. If its a slow night, they usually strike up a conversation.
Definitely recommened if you are in the area and are looking for a good place to go to have good beer. In fact, I can't think of another place in the area that has what the Chapter House offers.
10-23-2003 13:21:52 | More by BigMell
4.24/5 rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5
The Chapter House was indeed an unexpected find. They now have 50+ taps with as many as five or six beers from each of the following breweries: Middle Ages, Victory, Brooklyn, and Ithaca. As well as several each from Allagash, Lake Placid and Wagner Valley and of course old standards such as the Hoe, Boddingtons, Guiness etc.
All of the beers I had were fresh, properly served and poured. I admit to being concerned about the number of taps as I questioned their ability to move enough product to keep it all fresh. This, however did not seem to be a problem. Business was brisk (even in summer) and all of the beers I had tasted as they should.
There is tons of space in its cabin like interior containing several seperate rooms. Foosball, Pool, Pinball, Darts and Video Golf for entertainment. The crowd here was great when compared with 'collegetown'. I am told that it is primarily a graduate student bar these days. The staff was friendly and prompt. They answered questions and let me taste anything I asked about, which was good since they had beer from at least one smaller brewery I had not heard of. They will also sell growlers of anything they have on tap.
07-21-2003 17:41:27 | More by FeloniousPhil
4.58/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Atmosphere: Geographically and spiritually distinct from Collegetown and the “downtown” Ithaca College bars. The crowd is a combination of undergrads, grad students, and “townies” and spreads out between the bar area, the pool/foosball area, and the back room with long tables. The rooms are well-worn and covered with carved initials, etc. Free popcorn was strewn over the floor, but the place is well-maintained, so the floor, tables and benches are not sticky.
Quality: has soared in recent years. An obvious effort has been made to upgrade the service, quality and variety of beer. The beer is well-poured at appropriate temperatures.
Service: I'm usually here during busy weekends (Reunions, Homecomings, hockey or football games) when people pile up at the bar, but service was good. Bartenders are usually willing to answer questions, offer samples, and make suggestions.
Selection: There are now ~50 taps (35 behind the bar and 2 banks at either end of the bar) and one beer engine. Offerings were listed on a blackboard, and ranged in price from $3 to $6.50 for draughts such as Aventinus, $5; Dreadnaught, $4.50; HopDevil, $3.50; Ithaca Brewing, $3. 75¢ extra for Imperial pints. 48oz. pitchers were priced at 3X the pint price. Some barley wines etc. come in 12oz. servings. Bottles like Unibroue 11 range to $11.
The Chapter House has come through several owners and A LONG WAY from being a run-down “townie” bar and one incarnation as an alcohol-free club. Reopened as a brewpub offering decent beer. More recently, it has become a major outlet for Ithaca Brewing and other micros. Selections during my last visit included Ithaca’s Flower Power IPA (seasonal, but shouldn’t be), nut brown, pale, and Anniversary Stout. Also, Dreadnaught IPA, Middle Ages Old Marcus, Blackheart Stout, Druid Fluid, and Ye Olde Kilt Tilter and London Pride on the beer engine. They also offer a good variety of glassware for proper service: (Shaker, tulip, Imperial, and half pints, chalices, yards and half-yards). They also have a growler program.
Backwash: As far as I know, the best beer-bar in Ithaca and a MUST VISIT!
Revisited 10/23-25/03: This place gets better and better. I had a long talk with James, who gave me several samples and filled a growler with 2002 Dragonslayer. They also had MA Wailing Wench and 3 kegs of 2000 Bigfoot scored from a defunct upstate bar! I upgraded Service and Selection scores to 4.5 and 5.0 respectively.
06-19-2003 13:54:50 | More by Dantes
4/5 rDev -9.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Though the Chapter House no longer brews their own beer, it's definitely worth a stop while in Ithaca. This was a regular stop for us on our annual rugby road trip to Cornell. The staff always tolerated us so well, bless them. Quality micros and imports on tap.
07-30-2002 11:14:27 | More by John
The Chapter House in Ithaca, NY
96 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.