The City Beer Hall

The City Beer HallThe City Beer Hall
The City Beer HallThe City Beer Hall
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

42 Howard St
Albany, New York, 12207-1608
United States

(518) 449-2337 | map

View: Place Reviews
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Ratings by rorjets:
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Reviewed by rorjets from Connecticut

4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Stopped in prior to attending the NCAA Woman's Basketball Tournament at the Times Union Center, just a block away. Despite the fact it was 11:45 on a Saturday the place was packed, with many basketball fans having a drink and perhaps a bite to eat before the game. The bartenders were attentive even though the bar was full. The printed out beer list at the bar made it easy to order, although with all the excellent choices it was a tough decision. Good selection of local brews; I went with a pint of Syracuse's Empire Brewing Co Particle City DIPA ($8). They do have a beer sampler for beers on tap; four 5 ounce drafts for $12. We wanted a snack but for some reason the 'bar bites' were limited when brunch is served. So I can't judge the food. Only stayed for one beer, but I would definitely return here if I visit Albany again.
Mar 25, 2018
More User Ratings:
Rated: 3.83 by zotzot from Vermont

Aug 10, 2019
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Reviewed by PeteEndoscopy from New York

1.69/5  rDev -57.4%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 3.5
Really bad experience here with a bartender that was extremely rude
Not one to normally complain but this was crazy!!
She wouldn’t even give our party her name as she said she had issues in the past??!
We walked out!
Tried calling manager to alert him or her about psycho bartender but can’t seem to reach him or her
Feb 12, 2019
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Reviewed by Jlabs from New York

4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4
Located right in downtown albany near the state buildings
CBH is a nice spot to grab a brew..selection is usually solid with a nice mix of styles on tap
Service at the bar was good, but even better when we sat down as the place was absolutely mobbed, yet our waitress/server was on top of things all night long!!(she got a great tip!)..crowd was a mixed bag to start, but as the evening wore on, it became more of a college bar and i felt like an old man there(im 43)
Apr 15, 2018
Rated: 5 by JustinPStewart from Texas

Oct 16, 2016
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Reviewed by Emjay911 from New York

1/5  rDev -74.8%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1 | food: 1
My wife went there the other night with a friend of hers. They went in for some drinks and app's and found the kitchen was closed. Bartender said it was OK for her to leave her car in the lot across the street where their was also a sign for "free parking" Came back to the lot and the car was towed and the establishment closed early (10:30). Stranded in the bowels of hell and had to walk to Osborn's Garage and pay $135.00. Not even a Police Department tow. Release form said the caller was the City Beer Hall. Hoping the establishment will do the right thing and reimburse her. Her safety was put at risk by what this establishment did and I intend to seek restitution for the charge. They are so lucky that nothing happened to them..Update; refused to answer my FB or regular emails.
Sep 21, 2016
Rated: 3.84 by GeoffreyM from Pennsylvania

Feb 22, 2016
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Rated by Kloud84

5/5  rDev +25.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
Staff is approachable and great!
Oct 13, 2015
Rated: 3.89 by OnryAndMean from New York

Sep 22, 2015
Rated: 4.79 by BvilleBrewGuy from New York

Jun 01, 2015
Rated: 4.29 by TBonez477 from Vermont

Apr 20, 2015
Rated: 4.07 by American_Hawk from Massachusetts

Mar 20, 2015
Rated: 3.75 by JackNip from Delaware

Nov 30, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by brentblack1 from New York

Nov 24, 2014
Rated: 4 by Wortman1998 from New York

Nov 05, 2014
Rated: 3.88 by Speedbump

Sep 25, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by smurphy493 from New York

Sep 23, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by PaleAleWalt from New York

Sep 04, 2014
Rated: 4.32 by Niedzws from New York

Aug 12, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by steddyteddy from Georgia

Aug 06, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by wisegreensoul from Idaho

Jul 05, 2014
Rated: 5 by dustinjkline from Massachusetts

Jun 26, 2014
Rated: 4 by Troy518 from New York

Jun 18, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by JulieB from New York

Jun 09, 2014
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Reviewed by vonnegut21 from New York

3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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.
Jun 13, 2013
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Reviewed by jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.
Feb 20, 2013
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Reviewed by mctizzz from California

4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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
Jan 03, 2012
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Reviewed by rlee1390 from Indiana

4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.
Oct 08, 2011
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Reviewed by Avryle from Vermont

3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
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.
Oct 07, 2011
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Reviewed by UDbeernut from Florida

4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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.
Sep 25, 2011
The City Beer Hall in Albany, NY
Place rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 31 ratings