The Ruck


11 Reviews
The RuckThe Ruck

Type: Bar, Eatery

104 3rd St
Troy, New York, 12180-4037
United States

(518) 273-1872 | map

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Added by clapp1115 on 12-26-2009

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Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 32
Photo of slander
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

A cap region night stayover; the halfway point on the shortest distance to early morning points Warren, Vermont, and then well beyond. On the strip on 3rd, just around the corner from that place that makes beer Ben put me onto, The Ruck. Been some talk about this one. Made the whole ‘vote for the best beer bar in New York State’ list a little while ago, as I recall, which means absolutely nothing when you consider some of the other contenders on that list. I’ll visit and make the call. In Troy, oh boy...

Long ‘L’ shaped wood bar missing most of its surface lamination, with a wide lip that’s had its heart carved into, panel base & foot box; seating for about a dozen and a half on stools. Barback holds a length of tiered booze fronting mirrored panels, and glassware stem boxes on the ends. Shorty long horizontal blackboards above list specials & notables (beers of the day), and 3 flat atop, the outers showing sports and the center one for shwag and internal talk. Stand up bottle cooler at the front end of the bar, and kitchenings proper to the rear.

Rafter ceilings with industrial ductwork & piping. Drop lanterns along the bar tracing, spots and strung colored lighting. Hightop seating on the far wall. Flat screens, brewery banners & tins, and blackboards with beer talk. Big Buck Hunter and a looooooooong table shuffleboard to the rear, and a 5 piece band up front with a girl playing pretty good horn.

There are 19 handles on the row tower at the end of the bar, +2 on the whitey tower, 2 on the falkor tower, and 4 on the Goliath tower. Okay, I see, now. The alt towers are 5oz, 10z, pint, & pitcher priced, while the multi-handle row excludes the 5oz pour; method to the madness. So, 27 taps in all, roughly an even split between local/regional (Smuttynose Bouncy House IPA, Long Trail Limbo, Switchback Pale Ale, Jack’s Abby Leisure Time Lager, Sam Adams Hazel Brown, Evil Twin Femme Fatale Kabosu, Newburg Cream Ale, Brooklyn Lager & Sorachi Ace, Ommegang Rare Vos, Troegs Hopback Amber, DogFishHead Namaste), and craft mid country (Bells Oarsman, Hopsolution, Oberon, & Midwestern Pale Ale, Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter, Left hand Milk Stout), and other coast (Anderson Valley Holy Gose, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat, Knee Deep Hoptologist DIPA). The remainder is a mix of import (Reissdorf Kolsch, Piraat Triple Hop), and cider play local (Nine Pin Cider), near (Downeast Cider), and far (B. Nektar Slice of Life). And a beer engine pouring Southern Tier Harvest Ale. +20 something cans and bottles. I spy a $9 Orval (good to see you, darling), $5 cans of Westbrook Gose (for those in the knows), and others, including ciders and gluten frees.

Ordered an oarsman and was dealt an Oberon. Lucky ‘tender, getting me, someone who would know the difference, but he made good on it on the next round by buying, albeit unnecessary. And I wound down with the Anderson Valley Holy Gose ’cause I’ve been all about the Berliners and Gose today.

I’m peckish and it’s wing night, hooray! I ordered a dozen SOD (some sort of Carolina lime), by which I meant I ‘et 18 of ‘em. Theys was good. Some good beer here, but what the fuck am I doing at The Ruck? I am twice as old as everyone else. Kids, kids, kids. Kind of wish I’d gotten here much earlier (before the madness) or much later (when the place goes dead). Open ‘til way late, this divey college bar (meant in a good way).

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Photo of koopa
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Been to The Ruck a few times now and it's definitely my favorite bar in Troy, if the the Albany Metro Area (haven't been to Bier Abbey yet though and I here it's great). The atmosphere is enjoyable for sure. Spacious room, lots of bar seating and a good amount of table seating. Crowd can vary from a macro heavy mix on certain days/times to lots of semi-beer geeks with a healthy smattering of serious beer geeks at other times. Sometimes the place feels like a college hookup spot with a live dj, other times it's more on the solemn and contemplative tip. The vast majority of beers served are craft, there is a range of pour sizes available for each selection, the taps are clean / plentiful (36 I believe), and the prices are right. Service is friendly and somewhat knowledgeable. Food is a bit hit or miss, but they have a new chef as of recent and the entrees are definitely better than they were a year ago. Wings are really really good. The most recent owner knows his stuff and has been consistently making this place better and better. If you are passing through the area you should definitely give this place a go.

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Photo of SUjunkie
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Ruck is a dive and I love it. It has a great tap line at a cheap price and some of the best wings I've ever had. Also, the bartenders are friendly, knowledgeable and were quick to offer me a taste of anything on tap.
The beer list when I visited earlier this week consisted of Kalamazoo Stout and Two Hearted by Bells, Saison Rye and Hugh Malone by Allagash, Biscotti Break and Falco IPA by Evil Twin along with brews from Jack's Abbey, Ommegang, Firestone Walker, Westbrook, a couple of local breweries and a Cask. There are about 30+ taps. Their website is always up-to-date.
The wings are made to order from a separate food bar next to the beer towers. Awesome wings. I got mine extra crispy and they were perfect.
There are several games like darts and video games to keep you entertained. There are about 4 HDTVs as well. If you want a no-frills bar with good beer and wings, I recommend hitting up The Ruck.

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Photo of kevinmb25
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place was great. Came for Happy Hour at the recommendation of the owner of Hoosick Street Beverage and was not disappointed at all. Had a few Firestone Walkers on tap as well and Southern Tier which was expected for the region. Beers were very reasonably priced. $5 special on Firestone DBA which was great. Wings were top notch. Always have specials going on. Some people call it a Dive Bar but it was exactly what I was looking for. Had a great experience and will make a stop every time I am in the area.

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Photo of vonnegut21
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

The Ruck doesn't look like much from the street and once you go inside, that doesn't change much. It's half dive bar half beer bar. It may sound off putting, but it really works for The Ruck.

The tap list is generally around 30 deep, with plenty of offerings from Stone, Southern Tier, Ommegang, some local selections (love that they almost always have a Wandering Star brew on tap), and several belgians. There's always something for everyone.

While I can't speak for the other food, the wing are generally great. Depending on who's cooking and how busy it is, they range from pretty damn good to the best wings I've ever had. When they're on, they're better than Anchor Bar, Duff's or whatever other so called "best wings in the world" establishment that is overrated because it's in Buffalo. Add to that the homemade blue cheese which is so good that I would buy it by the jar if I could, and you've got a winner.

Service is great. Beer is very affordable for what you get. A great place to get a few beers and some good, cheap food.

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Photo of musicforairports
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

It doesn't look like much from Third Street, and isn't gorgeous inside, either. There's a long bar with almost 30 taps, a bunch of tables and seats and--best of all--a shuffleboard table in the back. Even if the place is very busy, if you've got the shuffleboard pucks it's like you have the whole back of the place to yourself. That shuffleboard table really gives this bar serious points.

The beer selection here ranges from above average to excellent. Coors Light and Yeungling are the only macros. The rest range from IPAs to a variety of wheat beers and brown ales and seasonals. There's a section of 8 taps devoted to higher ABV beers--Keegan Ales Joe Mama's Milk is a mainstay, a handful of Belgians and an occasional Southern Tier DIPA--that are more expensive than the rest, but still reasonably priced. Everything comes in a pint glass or a cheaper 12oz glass. There's also a cask pump that isn't often occupied.

The Ruck has event nights every so often, including a twice-annual Dogfish Head tap takeover. When they do have something on cask, it's great--recently I can recall Pumking, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and Sixpoint's rare Gemini DIPA. I've also had Nugget Nectar and Southern Tier 2IPA on cask here.

The good is generally above average. The homemade bleu cheese is great and compliments the wings and the Wingburger (beef patty with hot sauce) very well. Twice a week they have 40 cent wings. Fries are also good. People I know like the sandwiches and wraps, but I've never had them.

I guess I might be partial to this place because I live a block away and walk here for trivia every Monday, but it's absolutely a place to seek out if you like craft beer and are in the area. The later you arrive, the busier it is. The owner, Dave, is a nice guy who has learned to cater to both the young professional clientele who opt for craft beer and the college kids who come late and drink swill and get drunk. That's why this place is open until 4 a.m. every night.

It doesn't have the selection a handful of beer bars in Vermont or Massachusetts have, but that's due largely to the distribution picture around here. You won't find pretty glassware here either, but beer fans won't find better in the Capital District.

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Photo of greenmonstah
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Great beer selection. Much larger than I'd have expected in a small town like Troy. Reasonable prices, but you're here for the massive selection of draft beer, not the great prices. RPI students looking for a cheap pint should stick with the Clubhouse Pub in the union. The bartenders are quick and accommodating, with some decent beer knowledge. If you go to the Ruck you'll commonly run into the same people you see at the local bottle shop, including employees. I think this really speaks to the overall opinion of the bar held by craft beer fans in the area. The Wingburger, one of their local claims to fame, is a burger patty covered in hot wing sauce. IT's pretty good, but not amazing. The wings are very good. Overall fairly standard pub food, but I'd consider it THE place to get wings in Troy.

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Photo of
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

It's been a couple of years since I've been here. I used to go to The Ruck a lot when in Grad School, it has changed a lot over the years. They now have 30+ beer taps. It has a dark atmosphere (wooden paneling /beams). The crowd is generally mixed between craft beer drinkers and Bud/Coors folks. Most pints are $5.00 and the food is inexpensive.

The beer selection is probably the most diverse American craft tap beer selection in the Capital Region. I was here a couple of weeks ago for the cask of Troegs Nugget Nectar. Here is today's 3/6/11 selection: Breckenridge Avalanche Amber, Brooklyn Lager, Brown's Porter, Coors Light, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Erie Railbender, Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA, Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale, Guinness, Harpoon Cider, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, Julius Echter Hefe Weizen, Left Hand Warrior IPA, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Ommegang Rare Vos, Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale, Schmaltz Jewbelation 13, Smithwicks, Southern Tier Choklat, Southern Tier 2XIPA, Stone's Arrogant Bastard, Switchback, Unibroue Ephemere Apple, Unibroue Terrible, Victory Donnybrook Stout, Victory Golden Monkey, Victory Storm King, Yuenglig.

If you find yourself in the Capital District The Ruck is worth checking out

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Photo of nopucophop
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I had visited this place many years a go when it was just a college bar slinging cheap swill. BOY, have they come a long long way. This IS the place to drink in Troy and one of the premier places in the capital district. I can't say enough about this place. The atmosphere is very casual. There beer selection is awesome and constantly rotating and growing. They have events all the time. The bartender is friendly and makes a point to know your name. If the owner is around take the time to meet him. He is a true advocate of beer and a super nice guy. As far as food goes all I have had is the wings and they are great!! Can't really point out any flaws. I guess the only thing would be glassware. I am sure your just like me love the proper glassware. Stouts in a oversized snifter, Hefe's in there proper glass, and so on and so on. I assume though with all the changes this place is making it will have the proper glassware very shortly. I do imagine as the evening gets later that the crowd shifts to a college atmosphere. I also assume if your reading this you don't care who is there at 1 in the morning as I am out of there by 9.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

As an 2003 RPI grad, the Ruck was my favorite bar, hang out of the rugby team (hence the name), and most popular downtown spot for students. Every Friday and Saturday night it would be packed from midnight until closing at 4. So it does hold some nostalgia.

But I still frequent the Ruck every February during my annual trip back to Troy for my fraternity's alumni weekend.

It's still has the dark wood vibe and long narrow layout. They have long offered a good selection of craft beer, whether it be northeast US microbrews, or some of the better British imports. My most recent visit they were actually having a Stone event, with their Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, Smoked Porter, and Anniverary Ale all on tap, for reasonable prices.

Service is usually good, although it can get crowded late at night.

The food is limited but I still maintain that the Ruck has the best Wings anywhere.

**Edit 2/21/11:
I've bumped the quality and selection scores to 4.5 each, as I was there this past weekend for my annual visit, and they've added I think 8 or so taps at the other end of the bar. Of which this weekend were pouring some amazing high-end (and high ABV) beers. Which included a DFH Randall!

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Photo of brownj12
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The Ruck is a dive bar with the best beer selection in Troy. Being a college student that is exactly what I am looking for. If you are looking for a nice dinner and a decent beer then heading over to Brown's may be your better option. However if you want good beer, good bar food, and a friendly atmosphere then there isn't a better place than The Ruck.

The Ruck is constantly improving, beer selection has been consistently getting better since my first trip to the Ruck 4 years ago. They still have Bud, and the rest of your typical macro brews available to appease the college crowd on weekends, but the 20 beer tower leaves room for a constantly changing selection of good craft beers. There are also plans in the works to expand the tower so they can keep some of the favorites around all the time.

The Ruck was for a while a college bar with a good beer selection. However with the work the owner (Dave) has been putting into this place he is turning it into the best Beer Bar in the area, making it welcoming for Beer Geeks as well as the college kids. If you go in Sunday-Thursday you see more of an Adult, local crowd, and the Ruck is a great place to try out some great craft beers and enjoy a burger, or watch a game. Dave also has brewery events pretty much every week now, some times more frequently then that. Friday and Saturday nights the Ruck is packed with RPI and Sage students, many of whom go for the wings and cheap pitchers of Bud Light. While this may not be the best time to go and sample beers it is the life blood of any bar and it lets Dave keep the prices really cheap on the craft brews.

Most of the Staff is pretty knowledgeable, but there are a couple of guys who don't drink beer (and don't know much about it) however, if they can't answer your questions they will almost always let you sample a sip of the beer before you have to commit to a pint or pitcher. Dave, the owner knows as much about craft beer as any one you'll meet, and he is happy to talk beer whether you are an expert, or are in the bar having your first sip. Dave is more than willing to teach and is always open to suggestions about what to get and how to improve the bar.

Right now as a senior at RPI the ruck is the perfect place for me, I love the atmosphere and enjoying a pint on weeknights, and it is one of the most popular places in Troy on weekends. Going forward I may want to avoid the weekend crowd, but off peak hours the Ruck will always be a great place to try a beer you have never tried before, and grab a wing burger, and watch a game (especially a rugby game).

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The Ruck in Troy, NY
4.22 out of 5 based on 32 ratings.
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