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Lionheart Pub

Not Rated.
Lionheart PubLionheart Pub
BA SCORE
88
very good

28 Ratings
Ratings: 28
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 16.15%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar ]

448 Madison Ave
Albany, New York, 12208-3601
United States
phone: (518) 436-9530

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Notes:
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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 28 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PaleAleWalt
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%

PaleAleWalt, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of Niedzws
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Niedzws, Aug 12, 2014
Photo of Troy518
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Troy518, Jun 18, 2014
Photo of wisegreensoul
4/5  rDev +2.6%

wisegreensoul, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of NJBeer265
4/5  rDev +2.6%

NJBeer265, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

A place of extremes. Great draft selection but a dirty crowded atmosphere that is severely lacking. Good prices on the large tap selection- about 30-40 taps. Tried a Brandy Barrel-Aged Lagunitas Imperial Stout, a real B-side of a selection there.

Unfortunately, the bar is a college bro hangout. The place is dirty, small, and crowded, and infested with popped collar douchebag types. Absolutely not recommended past 8 or 9pm for this reason.

GreesyFizeek, Jan 27, 2014
Photo of jmdrpi
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

jmdrpi, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of MikePags
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

MikePags, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of mctizzz
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

mctizzz, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of vonnegut21
2.88/5  rDev -26.2%

The Lionheart is an interesting bar. They have a great tap list, put on great events and are in a good area of town. The bartenders are timely, even when the place is packed. The problem is, the place is always packed. It's entirely too narrow for the amount of people that are there. The crowd also skews a little too bro for my tastes. You'll often see a "bro-down" outside and there are plenty of club tees to be found. I want to like it more than I do. If you go at happy hour, on an off night or during the summer when the bros have gone home on break, it's a pretty decent place. Otherwise, it's really not worth the hassle.

vonnegut21, Jun 13, 2013
Photo of HarryTBaggins
1.88/5  rDev -51.8%

This place has turned into a real dump in spite of what the management-writen review below says. College kids are crammed in to power drink, so people are spilling on you and the bathrooms are vomit soaked. Both patrons and staff are often hostile, but apparently as long as you have two dozen taps, you run a trendy bar these days.
But any number of taps is meaningless since they don't clean the lines. My first Optimator would always taste nasty. Many times I'd order an Optimator and be served a Rogue Dead Guy, a decent beer, but an insult to me and an admission of problems with their lines. And while this forum concentrates on beer, I've noticed bartenders mixing drinks without liquor, only to drizzle some booze on the straw only.
And like another reviewer, I've had my debit card charged twice for the same tab and been present when patrons come in to challenge their double billing. Seems like both the IRS and NY Liquor Authority should take a closer look.
If you must go, try to avoid the bartenders Mike and Josh. Mike's the one I've seen swap beers and charge for liquor not served. Josh just doesn't move and is obnoxious. If John's working, pay in cash; he's always working whenever a second charge is added to a card after the patron left.

HarryTBaggins, May 14, 2011
Photo of melitameister
4.78/5  rDev +22.6%

This is one of the top few beer bars in the Albany area. We have the world class Mahar's at the other end of Madison Ave, and still visit Lionheart regularly because of the excellent beer selection and livlier atmosphere. This place usually has an eclectic crowd, yound and old with decent people watching.

At quiet times, this is also one of the few places around here with an informed and interesting bar tender from whom you can learn.

We are spoiled beer drinkers with decades of tasting behind us. Still we find choices from the large draft menu at Lionheart that are uncommon and excellent.

melitameister, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of Augustiner719
3.39/5  rDev -13.1%

Stopped in on Saturday Night after Christmas for a couple of pints. They have a great draft list that included some nice rare beers i havent stumbled upon on draft. For starters, they had one of the coresendonks, mad elf, a variety of Southern Tier, Sierra nevada, dogfish head 60min and Raison D'Etre, Rogue ales, and maybe a few stone beers. The service blew beyond belief and prices for the same pint varied throughout the night. I wouldnt come here during the party nights, but during the day when its less crowded it might be a nice place to have a couple pints. Reasonable prices, but then again everything in albany is reasonable compared to NJ. $6 pints of mad elf, $4 pints of the dogfish, SN and ST beers, but they varied between 4 and 5 something throught the night. Its worth a stop in if you are in the area but not worth traveling very far for.

Augustiner719, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of Kerning1
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%

***Thought I'd update my 2009 review since this place has only gone downhill. In the last two years this place has actually become a bit dangerous due to allowing overcapacity crowds in on a regular basis (guess double billing cards doesn't bring in enough money). The final straw for me personally came on a Monday night towards the end of winter. I spent a good part of the night being ignored by a bartender who'd spend the night smoking outside or giving people insulting nicknames. But then three guys began shoving around a disabled guy who was there by himself, and the two guys behind the bar did nothing to stop it (just stood behind the bar yelling like bunch of wussies). If you must go, bring something to protect yourself and pay attention to your statement if you pay with a card.***

This place still has 30+ taps and a good overall look to it, and it still has that puke-on-your-shoes Thurs - Sat crowd (with the staff puking there on Sunday), but the weekday scene has become more of a sports bar. It's still a good all around place for beer selection.

I've been going there for years and have always had two consistent problems. One is a nasty taste with some beers that must be from their lines (how does the same beer always taste skunked?). Another problem is that my debit card was charged twice for the same tab many nights over the years.

They do have a new problem with "regulars" now being replaced by fall-on-the-face drunks. Just tonight (11-07-09) I watched a 250+ pound bouncer throw around a 90 pound woman while drunks were fighting 10 feet away. You really need to pick the right time to go to this place.

That said, it's a good place in Albany when the weather's nice. The sidewalk seating and beer selection, plus it's off the park location (NEAR Lark and Madison), make for great people watching. Pick the right time and don't charge a tab and it's worth it.

The really sad thing is that this isn't just passable for Albany, it's actually considered quality.

Kerning1, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of togasports
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%

Great place for beer, definitely the best on Lark Street. All the staff, especially the Manager Mike are great, and know their stuff. A lot of quality rare beers that are on, and always rotate. The dart room in the back is great, with real cork boards, and pool tables.

Word of the wise...If you would like to casually sit back and enjoy a couple, avoid anytime after 7 on Fridays and Saturdays, as this is when it becomes a big hang out for the local grad schools.

Overall, a great place in downtown, and a nice place to hangout, put some tunes on the jukebox, and relax with some friends.

togasports, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of drseamus
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%

The tap list has gotten a lot better there since the good old days over the top of Bombers on Lark St. Unfortunately, they don't have the same live music they used to. A trade off that I can easily live with. The bartenders and especially Mike the manager are both extremely friendly. The bar is divided into two sections with pool tables and darts in the back along with a large TV and the bar and some bar tables in the front. Happy hour is the time to go with 3 and 4 buck drafts. Parking is the only downside although there is a lot across the street.

drseamus, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of Avryle
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%

With 30+ taps, this would be the #1 beer spot in Albany if it weren't for Mahars up the road. Though, it should be noted that there are two different Lionhearts- Day Lionheart & Night Lionheart. Somebody else made this point in their review and its true. The grown-ups tend to swing by for a pint at happy hour. The day folk know how to have a beer or two or three without making an ass out of themselves or puking on their own shoes. I find that the night crowd is comprised largely of Albany law & pharmy students guzzling steel bottles of goat urine or a Heineken if they're drinking "good beer" that night.

HAPPY HOUR 4-7pm, now its $3 for most stuff and $4 for big brews like Southern Tier Choklat.
And with 30+ taps, they have a pretty darn good selection many micros, locals & imports: Southern Tier, Captain Lawrence, Saranac, Brooklyn, Allagash, Harpoon, Magic Hat, Boulder, Lagunitas, Rogue, Corsendonk, Youngs, Spaten, etc. Of course there is also the macro-swill.

For your significant other, friends, etc. that aren't into beer, they also have a full bar mixing pineapple boom-booms and things that end in -tini.

Avryle, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of shuriyukum
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%

I like Lionheart as they offer a great selection of draft beer regularly at great prices. Since they are open till 4 am, I usually hit this place up after Mahar's. But there is a big difference between Lionheart during the day and Lionheart at night.

The place is decorated with beer mirrors of the English and Belgian variety. They are placed strategically so as to accentuate the interior. The walls and lighting create a nice pub atmosphere that is enjoyable. During the day, you will find many 'adults', that is, responsible beer drinkers. At night, the place turns into a college bar where it can create a negative atmosphere (e.g.- loud music from the jukebox, crowded, puke in the bathroom). So be sure to try this place in the daytime! The happy hour special can't be beat since it's daily till 7 pm and effectively cuts the price in half ($3 per pint). At night, inflation jumps them to $5-$6. Heavier, more expensive beers are served in 12 oz instead of 16 oz at the same price point.

Service is usually pretty good. The bartenders are friendly enough and are pretty good about servicing people when they come up to the bar. They are pretty friendly until the busy crowd comes in and takes over.

Compared to places with a higher beer culture, this will probably seem like a 'run of the mill' pub. But in Albany, it is pretty decent considering their selection in a town that's slowly awakening to better beer.

shuriyukum, Feb 20, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
4.58/5  rDev +17.4%

When I was in college and grad school I used to go to the Lionheart quite a bit. The bar is big and it usually doesn't get too busy to the point where you cannot move. They have a ton of beers on tap and everything is cheap relatively. They charge the same for swill as they do a good craft beer. The bartenders are very attentive and will let you have a sample of a beer if you ask.It can get really loud at night. I find now that I am a little older I don't like it as much. I really need to go here during happy hour to see what the deal really is. If you want a party bar with great beer then this is the place for you. I remember being there on a Sat night/Sunday morning till almost 7am. Nothing worse then leaving a bar with the rising sun behind you.
UPDATE: Much better right when the bar opens. Perhaps on a Sunday afternoon a few BAs might be there throwing back pints.

aerozeppl, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of slander
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%

Okay, there were exactly zero mounted lion hearts there (I know, 'cause I counted) so I don't know what that's all about, and I've got to tell you, there weren't any Blues here either. I was expecting old weathered bluesmen with names like Guitar Phil and Blind Randy Lightning or something, yeah, none of that. I think the only Blues here were mine. Not 'cause my baby gone left me or anything like that; no, it was just because none of the local BA's could come out and play tonight...

Located up the hill on the corner of one of those major roads that runs across town, not surprisingly, out to Mahar's (because all roads lead there), Lionheart has some pleasant pubbiness about it. A straight, thick, beaten & gouged bar seating a dozen or so lay to the right with a corner service area to the rear. 2 separated ceramic towers of 4 beers each on the bar and a pair of straight towers holding a dozen taps each on the bar back, between tiered booze and small shelves of specialty booze & glassware and 3 X 4 stained glass panels to each side of a large mirror there. A bar counter runs adjacent to the bar from the front of the room and ends to allow for the 4 raised bar tables as the room widens further back. A pressed tin ceiling piece but only directly above the bar, the rest of the ceiling is done in the same yellow/orange sponge painting as the walls above the stained wood lowers. Glass front room looking out over Madison. Ceiling fans with colored glass lamps, colored glass lanterns over the bar and recessed spots above the bar back. Dart supplies in a mounted case and shirts for sale on the wall at the end of the bar, with tap and bottle boards to both sides. Local art for sale, a single TV, jukebox in the corner, and a popcorn machine that would hold dinner for this evening. Also a rear room, smallish and tight. A pair of pool tables and 10 dart boards for league use (only 2 of them open to the general public). TV's in the corners, framed coaster displays, and brewery signage and mirrors.

32 taps, half of them micros local & regional (Southern Tier IPA, Saranac Imperial IPA, Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter & Liquid Gold, Brooklyn Brown Ale & Winter, Allagash Double, Harpoon IPA, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat & Lager, Magic Hat #9) and beyond (Boulder Mojo Hazed & Infused, Lagunitas Capaccino Stout, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Celebration, Blue Moon), and the other half a mix of imports (Corsendonk Winter, Youngs Winter Warmer, Spaten Optimator & Lager, Franziskaner, Belhaven, Old Speckled Hen, Stella, Bass, Guinness, Smithwicks). Had the Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter and a Brooklyn Brown, and Mike insisted that I drink half a Youngs Winter Warmer. Beers were fresh and clean, all good.

Also, nearly a dozen bottles, a few imports (Chimay Blue, La Fin Du Monde & Lindemans Framboise), but otherwise the cooler below the bar has a blinding face of shimmery green (Henieken), red (Budweiser), and blue (Bud Light) aluminum bottles (just don't look down there, you'll be fine). Taps, focus.

Um, good joint, I'm not sure if they actually do live music here, I came for the beer.

slander, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of dlee
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%

I'm not sure why it is called the Lionheart "Blues Cafe"...The outside of the building just says Lionheart Pub, and locals looked at me funny when I referred to it as the "Blues Cafe"....plus they don't serve food, so why the "cafe" part?....

I had read that they have a 100 foot tv in the back, so I went right when they opened at 4:00 to watch the Ohio St Michigan game. The 100 foot tv in the back turned out to be a projector on the ceiling and screen that was rolled up. When I asked the bartender if the game was going to be put on the big screen in the back, he said "I don't know how to work that thing", and instead just put the game on the little TV above the bar area. Oh well. He was nice enough to turn down the horrible pop music playing on the jukebox and turn up the sound on the game "until more people come in".

It was happy hour (every day until 7:00 I believe), and all pints were $3. Good selection of taps, about 20 or so. I had a Souther Tier IPA and a Celebration and my buddy had a Boulder Hazed & Infused. All beers tasted fresh. The taps were all pretty standard fare, though it was refreshing that none were wasted on B/M/C. In addition to the beers above, they had the standard offerings from Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, Guinness, Magic Hat, Bass, Harpoon....nothing exotic or that was not expected.

If you want a "party" bar with decent beer, this is the place for you.

dlee, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of Stimack
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%

Not sure why I have not reviewed this place but ...? It is one of my favorite places to go and have a few beers and have the opportunity to play darts. Have been going to the Lionheart for over 10 years I guess, has it been that long? Anyway I can remember when it was actually on Lark Street where Bombers now is. I do feel that the place has improved since the move but the cliental have changed a bit. The bar has a dark but warm look and feel with a very long bar that has about 30 different taps that house a very nice selection of beer. The time to go is for happy hour, which goes from 4 to 7. At this time they have $3 pints for just about anything, had been $2 this past summer but still a great deal. Usually during the 5:30 to 6:00 PM time frame the happy hour crowd seems to dwindle a little and will stay that way till about 9:00 PM when it will get very crowded again with more of a party scene. For me the best time is from 5:30 to 8:00 as it is pretty easy to get a board and we have 90 minutes of happy hour yet. I would say that this is a must visit when in Albany, just have to time it right for what you want. The bartenders there are very good, offer good opinions as well as are very attentive.

Stimack, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%

I stopped here while in Albany in mid-August. It has a decent layout, with the front wall opened up to some nice cafe-type seating on the sidewalk. Very comfortable place.

There were about 30 beers on tap, most of them good. Even so, I was shocked that most of the people there ordered Bud in bottles, I just don't get it...

The beers included Corsendonk Christmas Ale, Ithaca Double IPA, Allagash White, Blanche de Brooklyn, Pranqster, Hoegaarden, Old Speckled Hen, 2 from Rogue, Magic Hat #9, and more along the same lines. All the taps (except Corsendonk) were $2 a pint when I visited, an incredible deal.

If I had 1 night in Albany, I'd choose this place over Mahar's.

TurdFurgison, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of bwyker
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%

Favorite watering hole. The new location has a great feel to it, much more open and comfortable than the Lark St. location. 30 something taps pouring mostly top-notch stuff. The regulars tend to be, in no particular order or categorization: Speckled Hen, Youngs, John Courage, New Castle, Franzikaner, Southern Tier IPA, Harpoon IPA, Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Blue Moon (sadly), a Spaten or two, a few Brooklyn seasonals (and year-rounds), Magic Hats, a good Rouge selection…Two beers that stood out when I was there yesterday were Boulder Hazed and Infuzed and Coresendonk Xmas. Happy hour is now up to $3 a pint and more “high end” beers (e.g. Corsendonk Xmas) are a little more. The lines seem clean and the beer tastes fresh. Knowledgeable, very very fast service. Even free popcorn! Great place.

bwyker, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of sponberg
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%

FINALLY darkened their doorstep this past Friday. Located on the southwest corner of Lark and Madison. Parking is onstreet and can be hard to come by - if nothing is available in front of the pub or across the street, try heading into Washington Park where there's usually a spot or two to be had. Opens at 4 PM most days, 3 PM on Fridays and (maybe) Saturdays & Sundays.

Tables outside under an awning in good weather, inside is a big comfy space (at least at happy hour). Bar on the right side, stools and tables on the left, game room to the rear with 2 pool tables and six darboards, three of which are blocked by a pool table. Go figure. Darts may be rented for a $5 deposit, or bring your own. But I'm not there for the darts or billiards, I'm there for the beer - 30+ taps, with spotless pint glasses and fresh micros from all over the place - lots of NY State offerings, along with Magic Hat, Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Heavyweight... nice selection. Nothing huge in alcohol, but with $2 pints at happy hour this is a good thing. Hard to beat sitting there on a wet afternoon quaffing $2 Lunacys and Southern Tier IPA. the bartenders are beer knowlegeable and will suggest brews for the uninitiated. The bottles are far less adventurous - if you want bottles of oddball brews, Mahar's is a mile or two up the street. No food, but free popcorn if you can't wait to venture across the street to El Loco Mexican or down Lark to Bombers (the upstairs at Bombers is the original Lionheart location, and they also have a decent draft selection with $2 happy hour from noon until 7).

I need to check this place out again, and soon.

sponberg, Oct 17, 2004
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Lionheart Pub in Albany, NY
88 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.