The Chapter House
Taps: 49 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 27
4.36/5 rDev -1.1%
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.
02-27-2006 00:12:10 | More by slander
4/5 rDev -9.3%
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.
06-15-2009 12:44:32 | More by sholland119
4.5/5 rDev +2%
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!
02-19-2011 06:17:25 | More by Durge
4.36/5 rDev -1.1%
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.
02-13-2005 02:07:33 | More by GreatPondBrewer
3.91/5 rDev -11.3%
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.
03-06-2010 04:15:11 | More by Hojaminbag
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
4.19/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped here AFTER the 2008 Ithaca Brewfest.
Needless to say, it wasn't very busy yet, but I'm sure that's not the norm.
40 lines ... impressive selection.
A rather dark and spent atmoshphere ... this is by no means bad. Clearly a place that gets crowds and enjoyed by all.
I certainly wasn't able to enjoy this place as much as I would've liked. Clearly, I need to go back when I have more time and can get the feel for the place better.
I really can't say anything bad. It obviously has the best selection in the area. It certainly rivals the better beer bars I've been to within NYC :)
There isn't any food available at this establishment.
09-07-2008 22:35:45 | More by madmanjf
4.5/5 rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
06-11-2011 11:21:06 | More by Thorpe429
4.7/5 rDev +6.6%
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.
01-13-2005 15:58:25 | More by ithacabaron
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
The Chapter House in Ithaca, NY
96 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.