Ithaca Ale House upgrades to new location

Ask local Ithaca residents and students where their favorite spot for a burger and sports is, and the Ale House is bound to come up in conversation. Previously located on downtown's 'Restaurant Row,' the Ithaca Ale House is moving onto bigger and better spaces.

The Ithaca Ale House has recently relocated from its traditional space on Aurora street—between Luna's and Red's, to a significantly larger space in the new City Centre building on the corner of Aurora St. and E. State St.

“We are extremely eager and excited to make this move” says Ithaca Ale House owner John O’Leary, “more space for customers, staff and storage has been needed for years."

The new space has been designed with comfort in mind for guests. Seating will indeed increase, but not at the expense of enjoyment. In working with local firm HOLT Architects, a lot of thought has been put into the seating layout and overall design of the restaurant. Another great feature to look forward to is the spacious outdoor patio that will be exclusively for the Ithaca Ale House patrons. The new spot even has an area that will convert to a stage for live music.

"This opportunity lets us remedy all of those things and also allows us to correct some design flaws from our current location,” says O’Leary.

The newly relocated restaurant has been hiring significantly more staff for the increased space of the restaurant. Recently hired and trained employee Gillian Hanson says she is extremely excited to begin working in the new space.

"The restaurant is so much bigger and nicer than the last spot, it was obviously great then but it's even better now," says Hanson. She said there have been a few changes to the Ale House's menu, but only ones that upgrade the food even more.

The Ithaca Ale House is a popular spot for beer, burgers, watching sports and hanging with friends. All of this and more will thrive in the new spot.

The Ithaca Ale House opened its doors on May 7th, 2006. O’Leary originally planned to open the Ithaca Ale House’s new location in 2019, but “we experienced setbacks including some redesign and budget issues” as the building itself was completed on schedule, and then “as we worked to rectify all the issues, COVID-19 came upon the world and everything stopped.”

This past year, after a period of only takeout and delivery, the Ale House reopened with reduced dine-in capacity, used built-in dividers, removed tables by the front windows, reduced the number of bar stools, and thinned out the tables in back, to keep up with distancing requirements.

In the new location, the owner and construction developers have added some temporary shifts for COVID-safety and protocol that may or may not stick around in the next year. The most important factor is the great company.

The Ithaca Ale House is having a soft opening on Tuesday, Nov 9, and will be open regularly for all customers on Thursday, Nov 11. Happy burger-eating!