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“Ok food, ok service, good beer!”
Review of The City Beer Hall

The City Beer Hall
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Ranked #20 of 686 Restaurants in Albany
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $25
Cuisines: Gastropub, American, Bar, Pub
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Bar scene
Dining options: Lunch, Drinks, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Street Parking, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff
Albany, New York
Level Contributor
137 reviews
95 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Ok food, ok service, good beer!”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

If I could have given them 3.5 stars I would have. I just couldn't go with 4 for a couple reasons. This review is based on a brunch only. I have gone for a beer before but I am not going to write a review based on that. I will say that the free pizza was more like an english muffin with ketchup and american cheese however but I don't go there for pizza so who cares. I recently went with a group of 8 or so for brunch. As far as the overall atmosphere of the place it was fun for sure. The waitress was very nice and the crowd was there for a good time. They have done a great job reviving the old Ogdens and creating a new place to go for beers. The food was ok to good. I ordered the steak and egg breakfast. I don't know why they asked how I wanted my eggs. They came out in a uniform patty well done (asked for ever medium) all the yolks had been broken and cooked thru leaving no runny yolk. This may sound like I am being a jerk but hey, they asked me. If they said fried or scrambled then I would have nothing to say. The hanger steak was great, cooked to perfection. I got some really obviously cheap Sysco brand frozen homefries. If you are going to charge $15.99 for this meal take the time to make your own homefries, they aren't expensive to make and taste so much better. The toast was great for what it is worth! My wife got the gourmet grilled cheese. The sandwich looked good but they put so few fries on her plate I was actually surprised it made it to the table. We ended up ordering a separate side. I think there were literally about 8 skinny fries on the plate. At $10.99 we expected more. It even looked weird so they lost points there. It was clear to me that the owner or at least the chef is trying to skimp wherever they can to achieve a high profitability percentage on the meals. There are some improvements that need to be made but please believe me when I say the food did taste good and if someone invited me back I would go. I am not however in a rush to get back soon on my own. As far as service it took really long to get drink refills. They were very busy however the bar had two bartenders and not many patrons. This had me thinking that they had inexperienced staff or a slow bartender. Nothing rings up a bill faster and makes the place more money than alcohol! If someone wants another beer or drink get it to them! I probably would have had one more drink if I didn't spend so much time waiting for them. If everyone at the table felt that way it would have added 6-8 drinks to the bill. The girls at the table were complaining that the bathroom grossed them out because all the toilets were black and the bathroom was dark. The mens room was really dark too but being that we were in what is primarily a bar complete with a mechanical bull I wasn't expecting a fancy powder room! I'd say for a bar trying a brunch they are doing a good job but could stand to offer a little more with their aggressive pricing. If I paid less I'd be back. Knowing what I get and what I pay for it I don't see myself here again very soon. Albany actually has a competitive brunch/breakfast circuit, they priced themselves among the top contenders but the food didn't match up.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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168 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    71
    67
    19
    6
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Albany, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Tasty brunch, great beer selection”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

City Beer Hall is a great place to go if you're looking for a great beer selection on any given night. (We are especially fond of Bingo on Wednesdays!) We had heard that brunch is great, so we decided to check it out yesterday. I called ahead to see if I could make reservations for a party of 4, but was told that they only reserve tables for parties of 8 or larger. We arrived around 12:30 and there was a 30 minute wait... no big deal. We decided to order drinks at the bar to kill time. The bar area was busy, but certainly not packed, so it was slightly annoying that the bartender took a good 10+ minutes to notice I was standing there with my credit car in hand looking to order drinks. When we were seated, they ended up placing us at a table that had been free the entire 30 minutes we were waiting. We each ordered something different. I had the BBQ Pulled Pork, which I thought was delicious; solid portion size, plus fries on the side. The chicken and waffles and the steak sandwich also got rave reviews at my table. The Spit in the Eye, though delicious, was a noticeably smaller portion than the other three plates... while being one of the more expensive menu items. It was by no means bad, we had just expected the sour dough toast to be larger/thicker. All-in-all, we had a great time and thought the food was quite good. We will definitely be back with hopes that next time around they have worked through the small service kinks and have made sure that the menu items are equitable both in terms of pricing and portion size.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank AlbanyLaura518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saratoga Springs, Ny
Level Contributor
103 reviews
77 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Best Brunch in Albany”
Reviewed April 7, 2013

This is a great place for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. They have a nice variety of breakfast and lunch items and all include coffee and either a beer, mimosa or bloody mary. The food is made with quality fresh products and the small menu lends itself to well thought out menu items that are made well and delicious!

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Widgeon14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany,NY
Level Contributor
38 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Good beer, Bad service”
Reviewed March 28, 2013

The first time I went I had the pulled pork sandwich. It was good, not great and over priced. The second time I went I ordered the steak sandwich. The waiter told me they only cook it medium rare. I told him I wanted it medium well. He told me they only cook it medium rare. I told him I'm paying for it and that it should be cooked the way I want it. He just kind of looked at me and made no effort to see if my order could be accommodated. I told him to cancel the order and I left. before I left I spoke to the manager about this. He told me the cook likes to serve it medium rare. I told the manager I respect the cooks opinion, but I was the one that was going to eat the sandwich not him. The manager said he would talk to the cook, I told him thank you but I had already made up my mind not to spend any more money there other than on the beer I had ordered. I also suggested they should put on their menu that the steak sandwich will only be served medium rare.

I give credit to the manager for trying to make things right, but the waiter either didn't care or was too afraid to make the same effort. Needless to say I'll be taking my business else wherem which is too bad because I do like their beer selection.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JCFris1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Plains, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Hipster, But Worth It”
Reviewed March 25, 2013

City Beer Hall is in an awesome building, right down the street from Hotel Albany and Times Union Center. For every beer you buy, you get a free thin-crust personal pizza. There's dozens of local beers on tap and in different sizes.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Section1Guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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