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Bandwagon Brew Pub
Active Beers: 40
Beer Ratings: 102
Beer Avg: 3.36
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
114 North Cayuga Street
phone: (607) 319-0699
(Place added by: BeerTruth on 12-18-2009)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 16
Reviews by jameswaldo:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
A comfortable cellar space in a good old building downtown. Inviting BandWagon hop-blossom logo on awning over steps down to the pub. I've been there to eat seven or eight times, to drink more often. Their short copper bar has recently been expanded southwards. They've got many draft taps, five for house brew, some for beers made nearby. They stock good bottled beers, including many made in NY and PA. As I'm a locavore, this as well as the Bandwagon drinks-need-food ethic feels real welcoming.
Most of the tables have a SRM (Standard Reference Method) color patch decor. The newer part at south-east side has a fine spot for darts, drinks, chat. There's a long counter at east end under sidewalk gratings to drink standing or in cozy booths. Rock masonry foundation wall is hung with frequently changed new art. Skate boards lately (4/24/12)! West end has a lit display case showing off beers next to be served, with chalk signs listing SRM, ABV and IBU, brew names and recipes. BandWagon Brews (BWB) might be: Common Ale, Underdog Pale Ale, Pirate Eye PA, and more Peanutbutter Chocolate Stout. The restroom is still pretty funky, but not as decrepit as the Chapter House. Last time I was there with wife and kids we played a game of darts after supper. That was the second time I tasted a burger (rare) there, and think that and the duck are their best meals. It's hard to get rare hamburger served truly rare, but BW will do it, without making you sign a waiver about the dangers of raw meat. My son's pork was real good, too. Now that I know, I always ask for Extra CRISPY fries, and they arrive that way and are delicious.
On a busy Friday, years ago (1/29/10), there was confusion about bar tending vs food service, but since then they've been better organized. Talked with Nick Antczak, a brewer and part owner, about the range of BWB, which seemed to me on early visits too gimmicky. One day they had: Chocolate Cherry Porter, which was not bad; Raspberry Jalapeno Ale, which had gone flat; Peanut Butter Chocolate, a treat for Reeces Pieces lovers, but still a circus drink; Scotch Ale that had gone dead flat and stale; and Black Pepper Porter, which tasted good enough to have been my next pint but it ran out while I was sharing pints of the CCP and RJA with my wife. Brewer Nick was fun to talk with, a brewing enthusiast, eager for feedback and convivial sharing. This spirit has brought me back often. I admire their adventuresome experimentation, and expect BWBs will improve as brewers get more experience. On my 3rd visit, the fresh pint of CCP was pretty good, an excellent value at $4. Since my early visits, and especially with the expanded bar space, service is much better, especially if you're there to eat. All the servers who've brought my food have been quick and attentive. Lately they've been real busy, and noisy with big crowds, but still good fast service.
My favorite dish there so far is the duck--a delicious boneless filet; the worst I've had is the catfish--excellent fried batter but the fish is limp, squishy wet pulp inside the crisp exterior. The cook needs to learn how to get the filet much drier before it's fried! Since the french fries are not cooked enough, you must remember to ask for EXTRA CRISPY fries, and you'll be happy.
Even if the beer made there doesn't suit your taste, the other draft beers, bottles and cans are definitely most excellent brands, so if you can't decide on a BWB you like after the (free! friendly!) tasting for a local pint, you'll surely find a pretty well-known gourmet drink there more to your liking.
I noticed a real bad review here at BA regarding a draft beer that wasn't drinkable and have myself several times tasted some brews that just were not worth drinking. But personal tastes and preferences differ; ask for a taste before you commit to a pint of anything, and the Bandwagon will gladly let you try several till you find a fresh draft to your liking. Last time I was there, their own IPA was so good I didn't want to leave, and ended up playing a fun game of darts so I could have another pint for dessert.
The food menu is adventurous, reasonably priced, available on their website. Friends have enjoyed their meals there, and though it took me a while to get around to trying this food, what with all the beer to drink, I have by now enjoyed many good meals there. They opened Dec 15, 2009; they've shown steady improvement and are well worth a visit. I hope they thrive.
My favorite BWB is "Pirate Eye P A" that seems better every time I try it. Wish they'd have it every time I visit! Recently (4/27/12) I drank their Black IPA, which might become my new favorite: a super-delicious hoppy dark-malty local masterpiece of home brewing.
01-09-2011 16:36:34 |
More by jameswaldo
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
Cool atmosphere, bandwagon is located in the basement of an old building that has been fully restored top to bottom. The beers they brew in house are excellent, "high step weizenbock" recently took a gold medal at the TAP NY competition. The service is good the food is really good and their prices are very reasonable.
10-26-2013 02:58:47 |
More by jpowers315
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I went here to pass a friday afternoon and have a couple of flights. I wasn’t disappointed. The place is located down a flight of stone steps in the cellar but it’s a tasteful bistro atmosphere. There are stone walls and white tablecloths, two rooms and a bar in each. The medal they won at the NYS TAP festival 2012 is on the wall. They have their own brewery flight and a flight that includes ithaca beer and southern tier, then they have one that includes great lakes and uinta. They have a bistro style menu that has good choices but I found that I went away without a burger and fries because it’s 1/2 pound of beef. What am I gonna do with a half pound of beef on some bread? Thy have cocktails, and plenty of booze including bourbon, vodka, gin, rum and port. Nice place, nice time and I even met some nice people while I was there. It is not too expensive but the service is a little slow.
08-17-2013 10:53:53 |
More by utopiajane
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.75 | $$
Girlfriend and I went to Ithaca for our 4 year anniversary; stopped into the Bandwagon Brew Pub after hiking. It was our second choice, Ithaca Brewing Co. was closed that day. Unassuming, but seemingly purposely so, basement with an awning over the stairs, this small restaurant/bar is heavy on the hipster vibe. Divided room has a small bar and a small dining area; other side is the "lounge" which has a shorter bar and some odd seating. Tall sawhorse-like contraptions serve as seats while a half-size fold out ironing board serves as your drink/appetizer table; if that doesn't suit you there are also a few low stone couches and coffee tables, and a few "booths" which consist of stone wall benches in stalls along the outside wall with a small square of wood sticking out of the wall as a table.
Upon entering, we weren't sure whether to seat ourselves or not, but none of the staff seemed to notice our entrance so we sat down at a table in the dining area. A waitress approached and asked if we were dining, and then directed us to the lounge on the other side upon hearing our plans. The short bar on that side was full so we sat at one of the odd sawhorse + ironing board arrangements; after waiting for about 10 minutes we approached one of the waitresses behind the and ordered a flight of their own beer. The menu was full of very chic, hipstery food...words like "heirloom" and "aiole" were abound. Food also seemed a bit pricey, but we didn't try it. They offered several flights of beer; their own, NY craft, and one or two others. We had the flight of their own beer; all were very good.
Overall, the beer was good, but I could do without the hipster aspect of the place. But I guess craft beer and hipsters go hand in hand, and we were in a brewpub in a double-college town, so it comes with the territory.
06-26-2013 23:49:31 |
More by BurgeoningBrewhead
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $
Atmosphere: yes, it's a basement. Small-ish bar/restaurant, with about five stools at the bar, a few bar tables, and aout eight or so restaurant tales. Looked like an adjoining area next to the bar, but I didn't explore. Empty at opening, but table started to populate fast on a Sunday by 12:30.
Hours: I don't know what previous reviewers found, but it opened promptly at noon on a Sunday when the website said it would.
house beers: seven house beers on tap: six standards (look at the handles, don't just trust the printed menu) and one special: the 3rd Anniversary barleywine. I tasted, in nice water glass type tumblers, High Step Weizenbock, Pirate Eye PA (yes, an IPA), Honey Brunette (no bee poo here, the honey is as in honey malt, bartender assured me it was strictly vegan), the Lo-Cal Ale (made with almost entirely locally sourced ingredients, except for some outside sourced hops), the Ezra (red ale), a hoppy hefeweizen style I forget the name of, and the 3rd Anniversary ale, a delicious, thick, sweet, barrel aged English style barleywine.
The lighter styles (Honey Brunette, Ezra) were basic and un-inspiring, but passable. The hoppy hefe was surprisingly tasty: like you don't expect a black IPA to come out and present that way, the hopped hefeweizen was a fun departure from a standard style.
The Weizenock was at the lighter end of that style, but very well done, and very tasty. The Pirate Eye PA was a well done IPA for the east coast.
The 3rd Anniversary was a delicious English barleywine, though the barrel aging was terribly pronounced.
Selection: pthey had these seven house beers, in addition to about another eight or ten guest beers. All quality, with several upstate NY drafts, but I didn't note details. So on balance, a solid selection.
Food: didn't eat or look at, as I'd just eaten.
Value: solid. $8 for five of the house beers, with small samples freely available. Today was their third anniversary, so $3 for all house beer pints, which is hard to beat, especially in downtown Ithaca.
Service: FANTASTIC. A bartender that paid attention when I needed it, but left me alone when I was content. Friendly, competent, knowledgeable about the house beers.
I would absolutely go back.
12-09-2012 20:34:56 |
More by warmstorage
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I stopped by the Bandwagon after the LeBleu release at Ithaca. It is a fairly small joint located in what seems like the basement of the building above. During my visit, the place was empty aside from a few folks seared at the pressed copper top bar. There are 4-person square card tables situated all around where they can fit to host other searing. I forsee this place getting packed in the evenings. More than a dozen draft lines (to which about half are visible as they extend backwards into a wall that becomes their keg cooler.) 5 of the lines are dedicated to the house made brew. On my visit, 4 offerings were flowing; a scotch ale, pale, weizenbock and one I cant recall.
We were here for a couple of pints and some food around 1:30. Unfortunately the place is too small to accomodate lunch so they only serve food after 5. However, the barkeep did offer up some housemade chex mix of sorts to hold us over while finishing our drinks. Bar is also stocked with spirits some of which are local if that is your thing.
Service was excellent but how cant it be when there are 5 people tops sitting 5 feet from you. Our stay was cut short since they were not serving food but the beers we had were solid offerings. If I am in the area again, I will certainly visit to give their food a try as well as test out some more brews.
04-16-2012 18:29:51 |
More by stakem
S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Visiting on 7/30/11 while on pilgrimage to Ithaca Beer Co.
Atmosphere was laid back at 6 pm on a Saturday a few table occupied a few at the bar, the only bad part was the obnoxious table behind us. Yes I can see your dress is from 1950, as much as I enjoy some science fiction, I don't want to hear what awful shit movies you people obsess over and the utter and complete shock that no one else at the table thinks its the best thing ever made. It's a college town expect hipsters, and well hippies.
My beer was agreeable enough, oatmeal stout one of 5 house beers. Food was delicious and perfectly cooked. 5 house beers, all pretty safe styles. A bunch of craft (at least 10) taps. House samplers and samplers of all other craft available in flights which is a tickets paradise.
We each had a burger but were playing it safe with a 3 hour ride ahead, menu was very full with vegetarian and vegan options abound. $12.5 for the burger and fries which isn't really that bad but not cheap either.
Would I stop here again? Yea likely school wasn't in session as there's only so many 'cool' people I can tolerate at a time.
08-01-2011 16:41:52 |
More by sliverX
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$$
After dinner at the Ithaca Ale House, we headed through Ithaca's downtown to Bandwagon, just a few blocks away. Head downstairs...
Atmosphere: A well-apportioned restaurant, plenty of stone along the walls. Two bars, one immediately on entrance and the other through a brief walkway. Plenty of tables, more than I'd expect. The bar is nicely laid out, with local bourbons and ryes staring at me.
Quality: The beers surprised me and the interior lay-out is very nice. Bartenders were friendly but generally didn't pay much attention to us.
Service: Prompt in directing us to the back (empty bar) and fast to deliver our beers. After that, the attention dwindled off a bit but not terribly so.
Selection: Five house beers and close to 15 guests, including Finger Lakes and New York locals (Roosterfish, Kelso, and others). We went with the Bandwagon flight, Commons Ale, Strawberry, Honey, Pale, and oatmeal stout. I liked, surprisingly, the strawberry beer best, a shortcake-like brew that hit the spot. I wasn't keen on the pale ale, far too caramelly.
Food: We had already eaten and didn't even look at a menu.
08-01-2011 13:06:39 |
More by akorsak
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
We arrived at the Bandwagon on a hot summer afternoon. It was locked, the store sign reading: "open from 5pm-1am." These were strange hours and a let down for our afternoon plans of a pint and a snack.
So we returned at six for some samplings without the intention of ordering food, a snack if anything.
The bar offered several different "flights" or five beer samplings for $7-8 each. The sample sizes were approximately 5oz each and we were able to mix and match between the house and local flight selections ( we swapped the house pale ale for an Ithaca hop stash).
Halfway through the flight we decided to take a look at the menu, and I'm glad we did. Although I can't remember specific names of the dishes we ordered, we shared four small plates for a effectively filling dinner.
First we ordered the vegan thai coconut curry with assorted summer vegetables and a kale and chard phyllo tart which was quite similar to a spanakopita, but with stronger, bitter greens. The dishes were tremendous and well prepared. Our second order of small plates was a cold potato, leek, and beet bisque and local pork and smoked gouda egg rolls with a marmalade dip. Both of these dishes were in line with the first two and pleased both myself and my company.
As if the delicious cuisine wasn't a huge surprise enough for a "pub," I was blown away by the bartender's hands-on experience with the house beers. I asked a simple question of whether fresh strawberries were used in making their strawberry cream ale <"yes">, but followed up with a more challenging question of whether they were added during the primary or secondary. He replied the secondary and then went above and beyond to describe the challenges of using such a variable "berry."
This was an impressive establishment with a menu selection as varied and creative as their tap selection.
07-24-2011 17:19:29 |
More by ThePorterSorter
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$$
visited July 17, 2011. had read previous reviews and being in Ithaca to see the gorges and waterfalls and also to get some Ithaca Brewing Flower Power we wanted to try any brew pubs or craft beer bars. went to Bandwagon for dinner. they had about 6 of their own beers on draft but no IPAs my personal favorite. One of their taps was Southern Tier Double IPA. I had had ST IPA so thought the double sounded good and ordered it. the waitress brought a fizzy very pale beer to the table, I tasted it and called her back and said that I thought there had been a mistake as this couldn't be a double IPA. she went to the bar and returned to tell me it "came from the right tap" I said that I couldn't believe this was a double IPA or even any IPA to which she just shrugged. food was decent, lots of organic and local choices. I was so dissapointed with the beer that I didn't order another. (Hubby had a sample of the bandwagon brews and liked their brown) we would have stayed for another brown for him and another for me but since I was sure I paid $7 for a double IPA and got a Moosehead Ale instead we left. We would not return even though we were their another 3 days and it was just around the corner from our hotel. BTW went to Chapter House (awesome beer choices) they had Southern Tier IPA (not the double) I asked for a taste just to be sure I wasn't crazy which confirmed that what I got at Bandwagon wasn't a Southern Tier Beer nor an IPA.
07-24-2011 02:54:18 |
More by bird18
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Bandwagon Brew Pub in Ithaca, NY
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