The Ithaca Ale House Grill & Taproom

Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

111 N Aurora St
Ithaca, New York, 14850-4301
United States

(607) 256-7977 | map

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Ratings by jjayjaye:
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Reviewed by jjayjaye from New York

3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
I'd definitely recommend the Ithaca Ale House if you're in town. You can use the parking garage and walk to the commons. The bar is in front of the place as you walk in and it runs about half the length of the place. Couple of dozen seats at the bar (maybe). The left hand side are booths that go all the way back, i'd say eight or so tables past the bar. It has a nice new look with a stone motif and a classic open corrugated metal ceiling. I'm ranking the service 3.5 because i was 'barked at' as i stood at the bar reading the tap handles "there's a draft menu at the tables!"...excuse me. It wasn't very crowded. The wait staff was otherwise very attentive. 20 taps, about half InBev, but a good amount of locals including Ithaca Flower Power and Excelsior TEN!! My son was happy to hear that they offered veggie burger versions of everything on the menu. I had the Blackened Haddock Po Boy. It isn't a 'fast food' experience by any sense of the term. My plate was excellent. I plan on making it back every time i head back to Ithaca to fill up at Finger Lake Beverage Company.
Jun 29, 2008
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3.98 by zotzot from Vermont

Jun 06, 2022
Rated: 4.06 by neliam24 from New York

Dec 02, 2019
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Rated by redgorillabreath from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25
Stopped in for an early Sunday lunch. Good range of good beers on tap, tasty food, a pleasant place to be. Will go back.
Oct 18, 2016
Rated: 4.43 by Thunderchief from New York

Jul 15, 2016
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Reviewed by PhilsPils from Texas

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
After a few trips here I feel qualified to judge the food as uniformly good. Decent selection of beer and not at all their fault that I picked a couple of clinkers (from Ithaca Brewing and Harpoon, both new to me) on my first two visits. Last time I played it safe with a Stone selection. Music is bearable, if not great. Apparently they don't check ID's...otherwise I would surely have been deemed too old by 40 years or so!
May 16, 2016
Rated: 4.48 by mfowler314 from New York

May 08, 2016
Rated: 4.08 by SonictheBeerhog from New York

Feb 27, 2016
Rated: 4.08 by seanchai from Virginia

Jun 24, 2015
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Reviewed by BranfordBound from Connecticut

3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75
Went here to visit a friend who was attending Cornell Law. Was thirsty after making the trip, this place was the logical choice. Nice college town, big beer drinkers here. Service was intermittent, but the tap choices weren't too bad. Walked away with two beers and a burger in my belly. Would go again.
Jun 17, 2015
Rated: 3.9 by dandp88 from New York

Mar 24, 2015
Rated: 3.76 by SABERG from Massachusetts

Feb 28, 2015
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Reviewed by logicalparadox from New York

3.83/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
Decent selection, they do flights, and they have some pretty good food. Best place in town to go for burgers (thought not quite the best burger in town, that title goes to Fine Line Bistro, but that's another story). Good soups and daily specials. Always a good effort at local food festivals.

Outdoor seating is nice in summer, especially since the Ale House is almost always packed and very loud. Not a place to go if you want to have easy conversation or a quick meal. Service can be very slow and is often subject to high turn around.

I want to give them a 3.75, for good food and a decent beer list. But... unless you tell them not to, your wheat beer may well come with a citrus slice on the glass and that earns a big ol' demerit from me, since I love wheat beers and loath the idea that they benefit (or worse, "need") lemon or orange segments. If you ordered a glass of fine burgundy and it came with a cherry, how would you feel? I feel almost offended. But, OK, end of rant... you can't give them BAD marks, but you can't give them great marks, either.

A nice place to go for dinner or lunch, especially if they look a little less busy, They also do offer flights.
Nov 20, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by Jaybirdbrew from New York

Aug 10, 2014
Rated: 3.25 by irishpride from New York

Aug 01, 2014
Rated: 3 by boszormeny from Canada (ON)

Jul 22, 2014
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Reviewed by TheBeerdedCharmer from Pennsylvania

3.36/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4
The food was very good. Server was able to suggest decent beers. Each table was also allowed three free samples which was nice. The flights were a little overpriced and you could not substitute beers in the flights which is a little ridiculous. Overall they had a good selection of beer but the prices were high and it was a little ridiculous that they didn't allow substituting beers in the flights.
Apr 17, 2014
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Reviewed by rymurphy617 from New York

4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5
Anytime I have to make a dreadful trip to freezing cold Ithaca I make sure to pop in this joint. Beer selection is nice, they always have the latested and greatest from Ithaca Brewing Company and Southern Tier. Atmosphere is your typical sports bar with wooden booths and nice flat screens to watch the games. But I'm not blowing smoke when I say they make a top 10 in the country burger. I'm seriosus, these guys make amazing burgers! It's absoulty worth a stop in just for the burgers alone. I'f your not a bar-burger guy/gal try the flatbreads! Great selection of flat bread pizza. In a town/area where pizza is awful the Ale House shines with tasty flatbreads
Dec 19, 2012
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Reviewed by stakem from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4
I swung by the Alehouse after the Ithaca LeBleu release looking for a couple pints and some food. There was seating outside and an "L-shaped" bar to which I sat. Extra seating was all around and into the back.

The good: The tap layout contained 20 or so offerings that was concentrated towards NY offerings. I opt'd for a Roosterfish brew and a Southern Tier brew which I never heard of before. (Bonus points for that.) The food offerings seemed focused on burgers and pizza. While everything sounded tasty, I opted for a burger which was cooked properly and was over-sized. Very nice looking portion for the $12-15 price point. Also had the buffalo chicken spring rolls which were the real star of the show.

The bad: The beer was served in a frosted pint glass and the service was fair at best. Unless you went out of your way to get their attention, you were pretty much left alone with no inquiry to how you were doing, the food, etc. I didnt argue the fact but im pretty sure I was served the wrong brew when I placed my first order. There were some loud customers sitting fairly close to the bar that obviously had too much to drink. I dont think its necessary to scream at people sitting at your table making everyone else in the place look at you. Obviously not the establishments fault but well they didnt do anything about it either.

I would certainly return here again to check out the draft list, have more of those spring rolls and maybe try a pizza. If the service came up a notch or two this would be an establishment to go out of your way for.
Apr 16, 2012
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Reviewed by runsfast87 from New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Sat at the bar and ordered first the Racer Mach 10 and then the Ithaca Excelsior 13. Both had an excellent nose. Beer list was decent and full of hoppy beer, so a big plus for me. Also made it appropriate for the season.
Other winners:
Racer 5
Big Moose Ale
Sierra Nevada Organic Harvest Ale
Old School Barleywine
Arrogant Bastard
Northern Hemisphere Harvest
My Antonia (DFH)

Bottle list was decent as well but i didn't take a pic =/

Menu list paired beers to food, though I'm not sure what alchemy is used to do that. (stout burger paired with IPA?)

Food was highly recommended especially the burgers and the chicken dip. I went veggie for some reason and had an appetizer of Italian bread Bread topped with Homemade guacamole, Bree and sun-dried tomatoes with a dipping sauce. delicious. also had the onion soup - it was OK; I've had better

Bartender was very attentive. He gladly offered samples of beers and refilled my water right after i finished. Also waitresses were hot - not the whole good looking hostess and ugly waitress deal like most places.

definitely recommend if you're in the area - only downside was that it was a bit pricey, but certainly not outrageous for good food & drink
Nov 17, 2011
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Reviewed by akorsak from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Early dinner with ksak.

Atmosphere: The Ale House is on one of the main drags in Ithaca, a town with more contradictions than I care to ponder on. A few seats outside. Too hot (and breezy) though, so we head inside. Seated past the bar near the kitchen. Hell, it's as hot in here as it is outside. A long bar, fully-stocked, with tables before, alongside, and past.

Quality: Service wasn't the fastest but the menu was full, as were the beer lists.

Service: We sat around a little longer than I'd like before we were served. After that, though, everything was better.

Selection: A decent draught list, over 20 beers by my uneducated count. A strong bottle list accompanied the tap offerings. I keyed in on the Ithaca Hop Stash - a little long in the tooth I suspect, and Roosterfish Hefeweizen. Both were good but I wasn't that floored by the offerings beyond those two (there were some good ones but few jaw-droppers).

Food: Burgers are the name of the game. I had the surf n' turf, a burger topped with a crabcake. There were several other big burgers, including one that came with grilled cheese sandwiches in the place of a bun. Salads and other sandwiches were also available. The burgers are definitely worth it.
Aug 01, 2011
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Reviewed by mobud from Delaware

4/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Stopped in while visiting in the area. Nice beer bar/resturant that is not huge but there was a good crowd for lunch. Beer neons and signs of featured beers adorn the walls. Had about 20 taps with a mix of local and national crafts. I went with Ithaca Hop Stach and loved it with my "Bastard Burger" that had a large onion ring on it and Arrogant Bastard based house mustard. Our server Heather, was great; there but not bugging or pushy. Food was timely and fair for the price (ground zero of a popular college). Really enjoyed my visit and will definately be back for another burger.
Jul 23, 2011
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Reviewed by atr2605 from New York

4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
One of my favorite places to eat on the commons. This place has great food and a pretty decent selection of beers on tap. They also have a full bar so if you're not a beer drinking, there is still plenty of wine and spirits for you to choose from. They specialize in massive burgers, but also have salads, sandwiches, and other specialties to choose from. They also have a great dessert menu which includes a deep fried sundae or deep fried oreos served with cocoa to dip them in. The only complaint that I have, is that it's a little expensive. Not unreasonably, and the food is worth it, but meals are around 13-15 bucks, and beers are about 5 bucks a piece.
Jun 09, 2011
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Reviewed by suspect from New York

3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4
The Ithaca Ale House is right on the edge of the commons which makes it's location pretty cool. Also - they're open for lunch. If Bandwagon were open for lunch I'd much rather go there, but all in all, I enjoy a trip to the Ithaca Ale House probably once a year. It's pretty pricey when a couple of beers and a burger add up to $38 including tip.

Regardless, the food is good and the selection is pretty good as well. Not sure how fresh their bottles are, I ordered Thirteen on draft which was $8 for 10oz...pricey.

The bartender had the biggest bottle of Double Bastard I've ever seen stashed behind the bar. Seriously, it was about 3 feet tall and he said it was about 3-4 years old. I would *love* to be around when he cracked that open!
Apr 02, 2011
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Reviewed by Hojaminbag from Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
The Ithaca Ale House is a restaurant and bar that is located among many other bars and restaurants on Aurora, right on the downtown/commons area.

The bar is in the front of the place on the right, with a few flat screens above it, as well as a few coolers stocked with 25ish bottles with various offerings from DogFish Head, Bear Republic, Ithaca and others. The taps are also located behind the bar, attached to kegs that were cut in half and attached to the wall. Beyond the bar there are more tall tables, along with some low tables; you can see into the kitchen from this area.

This place is crowded basically every night, but not with just students. Some grad students, young professionals and others of various ages tend to hang out here. Like most of Ithaca, the vibe is casual and pretty friendly, although sometimes the crowd is a little much for me.

The servers know about the beers and are helpful. Service at the bar is especially friendly and good, with a couple of the usual bartenders being great. I haven't encountered anyone who is a huge beer nut here, although that isn't really required for good, knowledgeable service.

Of the 20 taps, probably 10 stay the same all the time, and they include beers such as Racer 5, Arrogant Bastard, Harpoon White and a smattering of regional favorites from breweries such as Troegs, Brooklyn, Ithaca, Watkins Glen and others. The rotating taps usually have at least one or two harder to find beers such as Ithaca special releases and a selection of seasonals. I most recently saw Sierra Nevada Hoptimum there.

The food is above average bar food. The sandwiches are quite good, and most are made with sauces/breading/marinades that are beer based. You can choose a side including salad or soup for no extra cost. There are usually a few specials that have been rather good when I have tried them.

Overall, the Ale House is a good place to check out, especially because all of the other good beer places (Bandwagon, Silky Jones, The Westy, Pixel, Chapter House) do not open until 4-5, while the Ale House opens for lunch.
Feb 20, 2011
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Reviewed by nh2032 from New York

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
The Ithaca Ale House is right on "restaurant row" at the north end of the Commons. They offer 20 taps with a very nice variety. Their "standard" offerings seem to be Racer 5, Arrogant Bastard, Stone Pale Ale, Harpoon UFO, Lindeman's Framboise, and the usual Guiness/Stella. There is almost always something from Ithaca Beer Co. and an offering from Roosterfish in Watkins Glen too.

The rest of the selection rotates quite frequently, but focuses on NY and PA with Brooklyn, Saranac, Southern Tier, Troegs, Victory, and Sly Fox showing up often. Additionally some really nice draft-only beers show up once in a while including Ithaca Super Friends, Barrel Aged Super Friends, Brooklyn Blast, Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter, etc... These typically go quick, but it's nice that the tap updates are posted on their webpage a couple times a week.

They do offer two flights: a "beginner's" flight which doesn't have anything special and a "what's new" flight. Both of these include five 4 oz pours and usually run about $10.

The atmosphere is pretty good although it can get quite loud and crowded if there's an event going on at either of the schools. Service is typically pretty good, again depending on how busy things are.

The food is good with a nice selection. I've had 4 or 5 of the different burgers and they are always excellent. My wife enjoys the flatbread pizza as well. The Ale House Nachos are great and are easily big enough to feed a group of 4 or 5.

Overall, a great place to stop, just wish it was a little closer to home and we'd be there multiple times a month.
Feb 13, 2011
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Reviewed by indiapaleale from Maine

4/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Pulled up a seat at the bar and was immediately waited on by someone who knew beer and asked what I might be looking for. Solid.

Plenty of great local offerings and lots of tap rotation and nice clean pours. They don't have 100 beers on tap but what they do have is all on the better end of the spectrum.

Food is better than normal pub faire. Definitely a great place for lunch or dinner if you are looking for a place to check out and have food with a few nice pints.

Great prices on everything and well worth your time when in Ithaca.
Jan 28, 2011
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Reviewed by asabreed from New York

4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4
My wife and I stopped here for a beer a couple days ago.

There's a long bar starting at the corner when you first walk in, wooden booths along the other wall across from the ball, each with a Great Lakes possibly-aluminum sign (is that the word?) hanging above each bar. Decent decor overall, very friendly atmosphere.

The bartender was straight-faced but efficient, always checking everyone's drinks, knowing how to pour beer, answering questions, etc. He knew his stuff. And the service was great.

We didn't try the food, though we were thinking of going there later and we didn't, but it seems like it's nice pub grub. I saw a few burgers being delivered to the booths, along with some appetizers.

Oh, and I suppose I forgot to mention that they have about 15 taps, which is a good number, though a lot were bordering on your normal domestic brews you can get. But they did have a few good ones like Ithaca Ground Break and Troegs Nugget Nectar, and there were more that I was choosing from that I can't remember currently.

Overall, a nice place, relaxed atmosphere, good bartender, and we'll be returning for a brew next time we go. Check it out if you're in the area.
Mar 22, 2010
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Reviewed by sholland119 from Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
A nice place to stop for a decent meal and good craft beer.

Cool, modern atmosphere with a C-shaped bar inside the door with some high top tables behind and in front.

About 20 taps of mostly craft beer, centered on local (Ithaca), New England (Wachusett) and CA (Stone, Lost Coast, North Coast) beers. A nice beer list as well. Nothing mind blowing but plenty of decent beer to choose from.

The menu has a wide variety of burgers, flatbreads, salads and sandwiches. Our sandwiches were tasty.

Service was not unpleasant but not particularly attentive.

Jun 09, 2009
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Reviewed by slander from New York

3.83/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4
Some good hours spent first at the Ithaca Brewfest and now post Pixel, we've come off the hill to find the Ithaca Ale House kind of jamming, as is everywhere tonight. And it was about this time that those aforementioned good hours spent caught up to me some, these notes the next morning found "scrinted" (meaning written in print without lifting the pen between letters like script), on the backs of 2 small "Ithaca Brew Fest" drink cards in very poor penmanship and with some questionable "what's that fricken word?" action. Filled in the blanks some on a revisit en route to Rochester a few weeks later...

Crazy "C" shaped bowling lane slat wood under plexi bar off to the right seats a dozen and a half, with a wrap around pipe foot rail. A center space on the stone block bar back wall holds 4 "mounted keg" towers, with 5 handles on each, over a stainless steel drain panel & counter area. Tiered booze to both sides and shelved below, and hanging glassware above from the underside of shelving units with sunken spots, displaying vodkas, wines, Ithaca Ale House growlers, an Arrogant Bastard magnum & Harpoon mug, and other bits of this and that.

A pair of raised bar tables off to the right tight in that little area between the bar and the paneled doors & front windows, and 5 booths running the far wall adjacent to the bar. To the rear, peeks through to the kitchen off to one side, and a ½ dozen raised bar tables before a slight step up stage area, with a stone backed wall. There are usually 10 small tables there, but someone's setting up for stage play just now, and they were good enough to set up a very large speaker right next to me. I'm hoping to get the hell out of here before loudness happens from it. White walls with mounted mini bell spots, Guinness prints and brewery neons & signage. Foldy corrugated metal ceiling with exposed rafters belly & duct work throughout, drop mini bell spots over bar, and ceiling fans a-spinnin'. Flatscreens above the taps and in the front corner, and another sunken TV to the rear over the kitchen. And a small pen out front with 7 tables for curbside seating.

20 taps, nearly 1/3 of them NY state micros (Ithaca Cascazilla & 10, Roosterfish Summer Sky Hefeweizen, Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Amber, Saranac Pomegranate Wheat, Blue Point Toasted Lager), and then some regional (Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, Sly Fox Pils, Wachusett Blueberry), other regions' regionals (Stone Arrogant Bastard, Rogue Double Dead Guy Ale, Mojo Hazed & Infused, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Green Flash Hop Head Red, Abita Purple Haze, Blue Moon), and blah blah imports (Guinness, Pilsner Urquell, Stella, Lindemans Framboise). Oh, they have bottles, too, housed in a glass front cooler below the bar. Hadn't remembered them 'til now 'cause they really are forgettable. 2 dozen +, with Yuengling Porter being the star amongst the macros, maltos, ciders and blah imports. Good taps overall but a beat bottle scene.

"Phil, did we eat last night?" Apparently, I had a chicken fiesta fajita wrap; dealt roasted peppers, grilled onions, lettuce, and shredded cheese, the standard fajita finxins, duh. Can't say for sure but I think I enjoyed it, I am sure that I didn't not enjoy it, said sustenance (I do remember the onion rings though).

My revisit a few weeks later was for one beer and out (Ithaca 10, served in a snifter and tasty as all hell). Turns out, my notes from that night were pretty "on". Music sucked (of the bad 80's variety), beer good (the taps anyway), food yes (really, I could have done better than a chicken fiesta fajita wrap), and the crowd mostly kids (I was never this young). Still, a good option off the hill.
Oct 03, 2008
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Reviewed by madmanjf from New York

4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Stopped off here just prior to hitting the Ithaca Brewfest 2008.

Awesome selection ... can't remember exactly, but I think it was around 24 lines or so.

All micros ... nice variet and selection.

The atmosphere at the bar and around the restaurant was sleek and modern ... unsual for most beer bars so it was a welcomed change.

The food menu looked great ... I had the Stout Burger which was Excellent.

For beers I had the Hop Rod Red and Racer 5.

The bartender was a beer enthusiest. I say this because so many times in beer bars, the person pouring is clueless about beer. Kudos to the management and ownership for putting someone behind the bar that knows their stuff.

When in town, I'd def go back.
Sep 07, 2008
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Reviewed by Tbn2 from New York

3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4
I was visiting Ithaca for some grad classes and a few of the local students took everyone here for the Monday night twenty-five cent wing special. The draft beers were also two dollars all night long.

The beer selection was pretty good. They offered about ten or so local and regional brews on-tap and had about twenty or so in the bottle as well. The wings weren't bad and everyone seemed happy with their food.

The only problems we had were: 1.)The waitress refused to serve on of my friends because he had an out of state license. It didn't make any sense to me because I don't have a NY driver license, but they served me without question. 2.)They didn't completely split the bill up for us. There were 14 of us in our party and the only thing they did was split it halfway so it was seven and seven. We asked if it was because of the size and the response was "No, we just won't split bills." We thought this was kinda foolish because they already split the bill once, so why couldn't they do it again.

Having said all that, I would still go to this place again. The beer and food were good and the prices weren't outrageous.

Jul 04, 2008
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Reviewed by zdk9 from Ohio

3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3
Went and had a couple beers with my drinking buddy. Bartender was friendly and seemed to know quite a few people, but the clientele seemed mostly to be Cornell students. There were about 12 taps including Arrogant Bastard, Hoegardden, another Belgium lambic, a Saranac, and a Sam Adams. There was also bottled macros. On a Wednesday night there were a fair number of people there until 12 when everyone promptly left (even though it was open another hour...weird). We enjoyed the beer and watching the barside glass rinser (can you get that for a home bar?) and there was a good balance of atmosphere and beer but better places to go for both.
May 10, 2007
The Ithaca Ale House Grill & Taproom in Ithaca, NY
Place rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 33 ratings