Olney Ale House

Your Rating: None
11 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

2000 Olney Sandy Spring Rd
Olney, Maryland, 20832-1602
United States

(301) 774-6709 | map

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Added by akorsak on 11-22-2005

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Ratings: 11 |  Reviews: 8
Photo of Rammed96
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

This is an old house turned into a bar / restaurant. Pretty unique palce.
Decent beer selection with great daily food specials.
It is small so it get packed real quick!

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Photo of Capsfan90
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of wrightst
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of bigred89
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of imbibehour
2.95/5  rDev -20.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2

This place has gone downhill since I last visited occasionally many years ago. Ownership has turned over often.

The place still has a good pub atmosphere, with wooden warm walls, an occasional empty bottle and cans decorate the wall, with a few hanging growlers giving you the impression this place has some history to it. And in all fairness it does.

The quality and selection though has since passed it by for beer selection. There are about 12 taps for beer, and there is a long beer list for bottles, perhaps about 50, but nothing crazily obscure or mind blowing. You will find Heavy Seas and Flying Dog and the usual bar beers (ie. Guinness, Bud etc..) but this is not a place for beer connoisseurs or geeks to seek out. There is nothing here you can't get elsewhere. I even noticed the bottle list was a laminated menu, which tells me this never changes much. I asked for a bottle of Dead Guy Rogue and they didn't even have it. Obscure taps, or event lists are not going to happen here.

The food here is incredibly disappointing. While the service is apologetic and congenial the kitchen is not getting it done right. I got my ribs comped after we made a note about it to the server. They literally came out like a blackened burnt husk and never should have left the kitchen.

The place is also expensive, it is Olney after all, but still even the food items are expensive, never mind the poor quality. And as for beer, there is nothing on tap here or bottle you couldn't get elsewhere, it's not like Heavy Seas and Flying Dog are rare.

If you want a drink then come, but don't eat here, and don't come here looking for something obscure drink wise either. This place needs a makeover.

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Photo of tworollsbeatone
4.53/5  rDev +22.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

This place has been serving food in some form for over 80 years. The building still reflects that and has a lodge type feel. The customers are mainly regulars from the immediate area of Olney & Silver Spring and they are very welcoming. It's the kind of place people go not just to eat & drink but to catch up with their neighbors.

My only complaints with this place are that the bar area is too small and they close too early (10pm weekdays). But if you can score a seat by the fireplace in the winter, it really is cozy. In the summer they open the patio for additional seating.

The food is bar food, but its done very well and with some extras like homemade molasses bread. For healtier fair than burgers and fries, their Govinda salad with lemon-tahini dressing is both unusual and delicious.

Now to the beer...

They have what used to be a very impressive list of beers. 19 taps, seasonal rotation of 10 of them, and about 70 bottles to choose from. But these days you can throw a rock and hit a bar in the greater DC area with 50 taps and exhaustive bottle list. So this place has dropped on the beer geek's to do list.

Still, if you're in the area and don't feel like making the trek into the city to one of the destination bars, you will not be disappointed with a visit to the Ale House.

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Photo of MaltistLupulist
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I want to like this place more than I actually do.

It's in an early twentieth-century building that could easily be mistaken for a bed-and-breakfast, and has been some form of inn/tavern/restaurant since the 1920s. It has a sort of hunting lodge/village tavern feel to it that one encounters increasingly seldom as suburban sprawl relentlessly and ravenously encroaches on the countryside. Furthermore, it's located in a transitional area between strip malls and heavy congestion on one side and enchanted forests and bucolic horse farms on the other, making appreciation of its continued survival all the more acute.

It self-identifies as an "ale house", and, at a cursory glance, certainly qualifies: some 17-odd taps and scores of bottles are available; plenty of Maryland's Own Clipper City/Heavy Seas offerings, including the controversial Big DIPA (served in an imperial pint glass, oh my...); some canine-themed stuff from up the road in Frederick (although no Brewer's Alley or Brewer's Art beers, at least on tap--I don't think these are available in MontCo); and a decent array of Belgian (Chimay on tap) and wider regional (bottles of Victory, Troegs, &c.) options. But...

There's also a lot of garbage thrown into the mix. The crowd here on an average night, whether it trends young, old, or middle-aged, is in search of macros, and is well-accommodated. Beer geeks seem to be few and far between, and are literally outflanked by BMC-wielding patrons, often of the aging fraternity brother persuasion. I suppose those in charge, even if comprised of craft beer enthusiasts, are only acquiescing to the demands of their clientele, but in my view this illustrates that any claim this establishment has to beer bar-hood is increasingly tenuous.

No complaints about the service; bartenders were friendly and expeditious on each occasion I visited. I never quizzed anyone, but the staff seemed to have a reasonable enough knowledge of the tavern's better offerings.

If you like pub grub and standard American fare they'll take good care of you here. I'd sooner head over to Roots Market and pick up something healthy, but I know everyone isn't likewise inclined.

In summary, I suppose I'm glad this place isn't too far from my home when I don't feel like taking a train into DC just for a pint. It'll do as a quaint neighborhood option but falls far short of destination status. If you're unfamiliar with the area and find yourself on Route 108 between Olney and Columbia, do yourself a favor and keep driving until you hit Frisco Grille in Columbia or Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, or head west to Dogfish. If you're a local, you can be excused for stopping here from time to time.

To borrow a line from another reviewer regarding a Hyattsville establishment: Sorry Olney, you still need an ale house.

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Photo of 86sportster883
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3

The Olney Ale House is a little bit out of the way, but a decent place to stop for a good beer and some pub food. There was about 18 beers on tap, consisting mostly of commonly found beers and a few not so common. The not so common included Heavy Seas' Holy Sheet and Baltomarzhon, Hook & Ladder's Backdraft Brown and Chimay's Red. The common drafts included Guinness, Smithwick's, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, Harp, Yuengling, Killian's, etc. The bottled beer list was much more impressive with offerings from Allagash, Mendocino, Anchor, Ommegang, Brooklyn, Paulaner, Corsendonk, Rougue, Delirium, Sam Smith, Flying Dog, Stone, Lancaster, Troegs, Victory and others.

The food is mostly pub fare and they offer a daily special. I went for the Tuesday night 1/2 price burger special. The burger was huge, a little overcooked, and served with a massive pile of fries. Service was friendly as was the atmosphere. Overall, a nice piece of Maryland Americana with decent food and a good selection of beers.

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Photo of Rootdog316
3.91/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Went to this place last night. I must say, the beer selection was phenomenal. It was the first night I've ever had Chimay. Also had the Young's Double Chocolate Stout here. A vast selection of Troegs, Flying Dog, Allagash, and they had a few Rogues to choose from as well. I sat on the outside patio, which is pretty nice considered it was slightly cold outside, but they had these huge heater lamps to keep the patio warm. The service was pretty decent, although at one point I ordered a Rodenbach Redbach and a Lancaster Milk Stout and they were out of both. I wonder how many on the list they actually keep in stock. All in all, a good place...I would definitely go back.

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Photo of joeysmokedporter
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Nice restaurant in a quaint setting, convenient to Olney and Silver Spring. The best thing about the Ale House is its beer selection. Always a good draft selection with at least 15 brews on tap at any time, and more in bottles. Chimay is on draft from time to time, depending on when you stop in. This is a great happy hour location if you are in the area, and busy at dinner. Suggest you wait at the bar and sample the beer list while you wait.

The clientele is a mix of old and young, and is similar to other establishments in Olney.

Service has always been good, with the bartender and waitresses/waiters showing good command of the beer menu, and promptness has never been an issue.

The Ale House food menu is typical of a bar or pub, with the standard fare of sandwiches, burgers, and entrees. Nothing really special to speak of and the preparation is average.

The real charm of this destination is in enjoying its diverse beer list. Most of the styles are represented and chances are no matter what your mood you'll be able to find something. If you are more interested in the food, other destinations are probably better and more preferable.

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Photo of akorsak
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The Olney Ale House is a small, quaint looking restaurant on MD 108 just outside of Olney, MD. It looks like an old home converted to a restaurant with outdoor seating.

Quality: The quality of the beer list was impressive. From Chimay Cinq Cents on tap to Lindeman's Cuvee Rene bottled, the restaurant exceeded my expectations.

Service: When asked what color of Chimay do you have on tap, the waitress dutifully went to the bar, returned with the answer (white) and an informative pamphlet on Chimay's ales.

Selection: Approximately 10-15 beers on tap, including Belgians (the aforementioned Chimay), hoppy ales (Victory Hop Devil) and contract-brewed House ales. The bottled varieties included American, English and Belgian selections (first time I have seen Cuvee Rene at a restaurant in Maryland).

Food: Pretty darned good pub grub. I had the hickory burger with ham, cheddar and BBQ sauce; my colleague the fish and chips. The food is affordable and very good.

Summary: If you find yourself on Rt. 108 between Olney and Columbia, MD, stop by the Olney Ale House, you won't be disappointed.

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Olney Ale House in Olney, MD
Place rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 11 ratings