The City Beer Hall
Taps: 16 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 6 | Reviews: 6
3.7/5 rDev -7.3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75 | $$
A: Located in a very nicely refurbished century old building in downtown Albany, the City Beer Hall is a unique place. Beer hall on the first floor, saloon on the second floor. The outdoor patio space is probably the best in Albany, right in the middle of downtown, you feel isolated and private. The only issue is the late night crowd kind of drags things down. I feel like this place could be the best beer bar and restaurant in town, but it won't give up the PBR cans and shots of Jack Daniels.
Q: An interesting place that isn't quite a beer bar, isn't quite a late night bar and isn't quite a fine dining restaurant. It accomplishes all of these tasks relatively well, but doesn't excel at any of them.
S: The service has generally been pretty poor in my experience. Granted, it's usually quite busy when I've gone. If you stay at a table and wait for a server, you could have an empty glass for easily 30 minutes. The bartenders are also relatively slow, don't seem very knowledgeable about beer and frequently get your order wrong. They were clearly hired for talents other than beer serving. They're always friendly and when they make a mistake (which is fairly often in my experience) they offer to fix it immediately and often make up for it with a free drink.
S: The beer selection is excellent for Albany, with lots of local draft options. The bottle list is also pretty deep although a bit expensive.
F: The food is really the star here. Yes, there's that free tortilla sized pizza you get with every beer. It's adequate drunk food. But the rest of the menu is excellent. The steak frites, the chicken and waffles and the burger were all excellent. Brunch is even better. Grilled cheese with jalapeno jam, fries and a beer for $11? Yes please. Some of the best food in town. Not to mention their monthly wild game and beer pairing dinners.
Overall, I really like the City Beer Hall. I want to love it, but the service and the vibe kills that. I feel like they really need to decide what they want to be. A beer hall? A gastropub? A late night hangout for hipsters, bros and rednecks to hang out together? Too many PBR swilling bros and overly drunk people. Even with the identity crisis, the place seems to be doing pretty well. As long as I can get great food and good beer when I pick my spots right, I guess I can't complain.
06-13-2013 17:58:56 | More by vonnegut21
4/5 rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25 | $$
visited on a Friday night with friends for dinner and beers. It was quite crowded, but since our group was large we had made reservations (they only take them for 8+).
the atmostphere was cool, as the name implies they have long wooden communal tables set up in the downstairs, along with the bar. Early in the evening they had a solid blues soundtrack going, then switched to modern rock. pizza line is in the entrance to the kitchen, and upstairs they have another bar, plus the mechanical bull! In a nice old building if you're into architecture.
good selection of quality beers on draft, available in half pint, pint, quart, and growler. Limited high abv beers were 8 oz only. bottle list featured some large bottles and other pricier beers.
Our waitress was average, but the food was very good. I had steak frites, which was excellcent, and everyone in the party was happy with their entrees. The beer prices were average, and for the quality of the food, it was pretty reasonable. The free personal "pizza" ticket for every beer is a great idea if you're only there for drinks, for soaking up the booze.
02-20-2013 19:34:36 | More by jmdrpi
4.38/5 rDev +9.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
City Beer Hall has a great selection, 20+ taps and 40+ bottles, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had quite a few beers that I never had the chance to try, Firestone's Union Jack IPA on tap was superb, plus they give you a free "personal pizza" with every beer purchased, though the pizza is less like a pizza and more like a tortilla with sauce and cheese its not bad and saves money on food even if the beer is a little on the pricier side, this is a great place and great addition to the Albany bar scene, I cant wait to go back
01-03-2012 18:17:29 | More by mctizzz
4/5 rDev +0.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Went there for the Hop Harvest Event;
Besides the bar and bar stools the rest of the seating is an benches and tables, however the throwback appeal is rather cool. The beer menu was written in chalk on a blackboard, there are a few big screen TVs on mute showing sports. There is a back deck to go out if the weather cooperates, a nice touch. Clientele is buisnessmen during the after work hours but turns into more of a guy hang out as the night progressed.
The selection was solid, even had WWS in bottles. The do list a general outline of what they have on their website along with prices and they offer different size pours.
When it starts to get crowded the service slows down, however if you get in early, get a table and have a server you are in good as they stop in every few minutes and will get you beers while you remain at your table.
Food I didn't try but you do get a "pizza" with every beer you buy at the bar.
Have gone again and I must say they do a great job a putting limited beer events. A Brooklyn night, a SN V SA night. I haven't gone to the wild game nights. This is one of the bars in Albany to visit.
10-08-2011 15:48:48 | More by rlee1390
3.45/5 rDev -13.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
One of a few new craft beer bars in the Alban-easy. This is a hit-and-miss sort of place, but worth a stop.
Vibe- Depends on the time you're there. Early in the evening, or during special events, the crowd is a bit more laid back. On the weekend evenings, it can become a bro-fest. Fortunatly there are 3 floors as well as an outside patio area, so there is room to move, I just would not have to evacuate the place in the event of an emergency.
Quality- every beer I've had here has been good. Lines are clean. Too much cannot be said about that.
service- Terrible. Honestly, they employ some of the worst bartenders I'be ever seen. Their schtick seems to be more about how cute the girl is in a low cut shirt than actual service. Very rarely do you get a server that knows what beers are on or manages to get it quickly. Went to an event with a cask- a simple gravity-turn-the-tap-90-degrees-to-dispense. Bartender was clueless about how to work it.
Selection- pretty good. The only place to get Captain Lawrence in the Capital Region. How they obtain some of their stuff makes me question the methods of distribution in the area, but that's neither here nor there. In any case, you can always find something good on at least one of their 16 taps.
Food- free personal pizza with every drink. Mind you, its a tortillas smartest with sauce & cheese, but they're still pretty tasty. The menue items are pretty good as well, and priced very affordably.
10-07-2011 15:32:28 | More by Avryle
4.38/5 rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Given a flyer for this place while at Pearlpalooza waiting for Mutemath. Was going to go the Pump Station after wards but it peeked our interest. This place is fucking hardcore.
16 amazing beers on tap: Green Flash IPA, 60 Minute, Laugunitas IPA, Ommegang Abbey, Southern Tier 2X, Stone and Unibrue Blanche de Chambly, just to name a few.
The Best Part: Free personal pizza with every pint. Turn in your tickets to the kitchen. Pizza is rather tasty too.
Atmosphere is totally beer hall with picnic tables to sit in either inside or out. Lots of room. Nice out door padio. Cheerful crowd. Alternative music is blasting on the sound system.... awesome.
Growlers to go available too. Its a shame I live so far away.... I could easliy become a regular here.
09-25-2011 02:17:39 | More by UDbeernut
The City Beer Hall in Albany, NY
- out of 100 based on 6 ratings.