The Chapter House
Taps: 49 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 27
4.58/5 rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Atmosphere: Geographically and spiritually distinct from Collegetown and the “downtown” Ithaca College bars. The crowd is a combination of undergrads, grad students, and “townies” and spreads out between the bar area, the pool/foosball area, and the back room with long tables. The rooms are well-worn and covered with carved initials, etc. Free popcorn was strewn over the floor, but the place is well-maintained, so the floor, tables and benches are not sticky.
Quality: has soared in recent years. An obvious effort has been made to upgrade the service, quality and variety of beer. The beer is well-poured at appropriate temperatures.
Service: I'm usually here during busy weekends (Reunions, Homecomings, hockey or football games) when people pile up at the bar, but service was good. Bartenders are usually willing to answer questions, offer samples, and make suggestions.
Selection: There are now ~50 taps (35 behind the bar and 2 banks at either end of the bar) and one beer engine. Offerings were listed on a blackboard, and ranged in price from $3 to $6.50 for draughts such as Aventinus, $5; Dreadnaught, $4.50; HopDevil, $3.50; Ithaca Brewing, $3. 75¢ extra for Imperial pints. 48oz. pitchers were priced at 3X the pint price. Some barley wines etc. come in 12oz. servings. Bottles like Unibroue 11 range to $11.
The Chapter House has come through several owners and A LONG WAY from being a run-down “townie” bar and one incarnation as an alcohol-free club. Reopened as a brewpub offering decent beer. More recently, it has become a major outlet for Ithaca Brewing and other micros. Selections during my last visit included Ithaca’s Flower Power IPA (seasonal, but shouldn’t be), nut brown, pale, and Anniversary Stout. Also, Dreadnaught IPA, Middle Ages Old Marcus, Blackheart Stout, Druid Fluid, and Ye Olde Kilt Tilter and London Pride on the beer engine. They also offer a good variety of glassware for proper service: (Shaker, tulip, Imperial, and half pints, chalices, yards and half-yards). They also have a growler program.
Backwash: As far as I know, the best beer-bar in Ithaca and a MUST VISIT!
Revisited 10/23-25/03: This place gets better and better. I had a long talk with James, who gave me several samples and filled a growler with 2002 Dragonslayer. They also had MA Wailing Wench and 3 kegs of 2000 Bigfoot scored from a defunct upstate bar! I upgraded Service and Selection scores to 4.5 and 5.0 respectively.
06-19-2003 13:54:50 | More by Dantes
4.66/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
They say you cant go home again; not so at the Chapter House. I havent been to Ithaca in 3 years, but I was instantly recognized by the bartender (which only goes to show how much time I used to spend here).
Not much has changed: still very rustic with carved up tables and benches displaying various fraternity insignia. Fraternity photographs adorn the walls with the occasional beer bottle label collage. The popcorn is still available, and all you can eat, but it has found a new location near the dart boards. Why? The Chapter House now features live music, and thus a stage has been erected where their food bar (really just a nacho bar) used to reside. Hank Roberts and Wiggy Dog Boy happened to be playing that night, and so I was treated to an interesting blend of classical cello with jazz and rock influences. Another thing of note: Chapter House serves liquor again.
Beer selection is excellent as always (I counted 51 beers on tap). If youre not sure what you want, the bartender will be more than happy to provide a small tasting. Many New York State selections are available including Ithaca, Middle Ages & Southern Tier. Stone is present here (Arrogant Bastard & IPA) as well as a few Victory selections. There were a few bottles now as well: McChouffe, LaChouffe, and one other that escapes my memory. Pricing is excellent, with beers ranging from $3 to $5.
This is one of my favorite bars of all time, and is not to be missed if you find yourself in Ithaca.
06-28-2004 02:36:41 | More by cbl2
4.64/5 rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
This place has already been thoroughly reviewed by others, but I'll point out a few things.
The selection kicks ass. And what's better? The bartenders typically know what they are talking about. If you walk in and say, I want something crisp and refreshing - they'll point you to a pint of locally brewed Ithaca Flower Power IPA. If you say that you like Guinnes but you're looking for something a bit sweeter, they'll point you to a Murphy's or Fullers.
The location is in the heart of "college town" this is the affectionate label of the part of town near Cornell University but close to Ithaca College. On a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night - this place can quickly become Animal House (in a good way). But unlike other college bars that serve swill and wine coolers, the Chapter House emphasizes beer and would laugh at you if you ordered a bud light.
The bands that play here are 90% awesome. Some of the local talent is unlike anything you will here in the world. Johnny Dowd, Plastic Nebraska, Sim Redmond, etc
If you come during the day, I highly recommend that you walk down one of the gorges in Ithaca. In fact, there is one about 2 blocks from this bar that is simply spectacular. We used to walk up this trail and reward ourselves with pints after the long (1.2 mile) hike. It earned the name "The Mush & Rick Fitness Trail" in honor of two friends who regularly made the trip.
12-27-2006 20:49:29 | More by JimFalzone
4.26/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Went here with some regulars while visiting Cornell for an open house. The atmosphere was stellar. This, my friends, was a bar for savoring beer with friends. Plus, you can't beat free popcorn. The first thing I noticed was a plethora of taps filled with tasty selections at good prices. Hoegaarden line was a bit dirty not a big deal. Service was friendly and good, if I end up in Ithaca I will definitely be a regular here.
Bottom line, if you're in Ithaca and enjoy beer, why the hell aren't you here?
12-29-2008 23:43:43 | More by HeyItsChili
4.66/5 rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
One of my favorite places to just chill out and have a beer. The interior is filled with lots of character in the wooden tables and benches. There are pool tables in one room and a stage that usually has music (for a cover) on the weekends. It can get pretty crowded with college students at select times so if you're simply looking to enjoy a quiet brew be careful with that. As for selection they about 30ish taps of ranging styles and regions. I'm not sure if they are as equiped with bottles and very few Europeans so that's not the best, but it shouldn't be hard for anyone to find multiple beers they will like there.
As a side note they have had copies of BA mag for your reading pleasure in the past couple months.
05-12-2007 21:48:09 | More by zdk9
4.5/5 rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5
The Chapter House is at its best on a cold snowy winter night. There's nothing better than warming up inside with a quality brew. The beer selection is great, the best in Ithaca for anything on tap. The people who work there are always helpful and they know what they're doing. The inside is all wood with years of carvings on both the walls and tables. There is a good mix of patrons, mostly older college aged/grad students plus some residents. There are a couple pool tables some darts, and of course free popcorn.
12-11-2004 20:45:39 | More by JackStraw22
4.41/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
In my four years of living in Ithaca I never visited this place. I always meant to, but just never got around to it. I finally made my way over there while visiting a friend and man do I wish I had gone more often while living there. On a Thursday night at around ten, it was not very crowded or loud at all. There is a choice in three main rooms, with one of them being a place for a group of friends to share a few pints, and another having pool tables if that be what you're looking for.
The list of brews on tap there is quite impressive. About 50 or so taps with mostly US micro brews. Nice selection from Stone and others out in California to Ithaca beers brewed right down the road. The only complaint was that one of the Stone IPAs I had there was a bit off. It could have been the batch, but it also could have been sitting in the keg too long, not too sure.
Overall a great place to go for some good beer and never have to have the same brew twice in a night.
Oh yeah and free popcorn.
02-26-2008 20:51:40 | More by penguinjive7
4.61/5 rDev +4.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Visited twice during a 4 day visit to the Ithaca area in mid July 2011. Awesome beer selection about 30 taps. Lots of NY and PA brews as well as other great ones. Had Ithaca Flower Power, Southern Tier IPA, Middle Ages IPA and tried tastes of a Victory Brewing choice and English Porter. they had a good selection of stouts, porters and wheats, mostly East Coast but a few West Coast as well. Something for everyone even PBR. No food which is a shame as we would have eaten here every meal because of the great beer selection. Sat at bar both times we were there, great service and good conversations with what appeared to be regulars. Highly recommend if in Ithaca.
07-24-2011 03:08:22 | More by bird18
4.36/5 rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
This place has an authentic pub feel. There is a decent amount of college memorabilia hanging around that gives the place a heady ivy league feel, yet the place is dingy enough to have the feel of a working man's pub. It is inviting. There are 49 beers on tap, a very decent selection of craft beer - local NY & PA dominate.The bartender was informative and helpful. He pointed out that the Rogue Dead Guy I wanted was a mislabeled keg - very helpful without being pretentious. This place is classic and a must try.
03-03-2012 02:50:18 | More by Chickenhawk9932
4.28/5 rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5
The chappy, ithaca's best and the only bar in town for the beer advocate. cool looking bar that waas an old frat house long ago with carved up tables and walls, just about everyting wood in the place has a message or name carved into it. excellent selection of micros imports and a great selection of regional NY specialties. 50+ selections that rotate fairly regularly. they have a hand pump but has fallen into disrepair but they used to have cask ale on it. They are also into cellaring kegs and occasionally release storm king or bigfoot that has been aged a year or two. They also have yards, half and full as well as growler's to go.
Any homebrewers out there, we have our monthly homebrew meetings at the chapter house first tuesday of the month at 7:30.
check out our website: http://home.twcny.rr.com/jtonole/ipa/
08-27-2004 13:25:29 | More by shippos
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The Chapter House in Ithaca, NY
96 out of 100 based on 27 user ratings.