Artsy Designer Friend, Albany John, and I went to City Beer Hall (that’s the link to their facebook. Website)to kick off our 4th of July festivities. I was excited to try this new incarnation of the beautiful space formerly known as Ballinger’s (and Ogdens prior to that) after reading about it on Steve’s Table Hopping blog.
So Albany John knows one of the owners from around Albany. Once I read his name on TableHopping, I was so psyched to check this out, because he threw some great house parties and is just a perfect fit the the nightlife industry.
They’ve redone some things and taken out a lot of the furniture, but kept the interior the same. There are some beers on tap and a full bar. Albany John and I went on a scouting mission a few days before 4th of July and it was fun, so after chatting with the owner he knows (just a “hey, good luck, glad to see you’re doing this” kind of thing, not “omgdudez we are so besties kinda way), Albany John and I were sold on coming for 4th of July’s festivities.
I grabbed a Unibroue beer – $8 for a pint. Albany John told me he was surprised since it’s a pretty high alcohol beer. I was surprised it had some clove notes, but still remained refreshing. We walked there so I was incredibly disheveled (I am a blogger, not a professional exerciser!) and sweaty and in need of something cold and thirst-quenching.
Note the little ticket to your left. That’s your stub for FREE PIZZA! (Gluten-free people, you’re going to have a bit of a tough time finding food here to eat, at least for the time being. But you can drink up a storm) Don’t lose that stub.
I swear the writing popped more on camera than it did in real life. But still – nice way to put up some limited specials. There was food for sale. A plate of 4 options for $10, and oysters. Truffled mac & cheese!
But first, there was a pizza coupon to redeem. Meet the happiest guy ever. Seriously. Hand in your ticket for pizza, he will make you some. He is so upbeat. Actually, everyone there is really friendly and helpful. I was kind of surprised. Like, everyone here actually likes their jobs, takes their roles seriously, and wants to be here? In Albany, home of blah attitudes? A nice change of pace. Plus, the kitchen is as clean as a whistle.
When I was behind the counter the chef let me huff the truffle-y bread crumbs. Or maybe it was cheese. It’s been a couple days and all I remember is the heady aroma of truffles. He said they had real truffle bits in it, not fakey oil! Smelled good.
PIZZAH! It’s a crackery thin crust of pizza and good stuff. Personal-sized. Tostino’s can go suck it in comparison. It’s better than some of the pizzas I’ve had judging the Tournament of Pizza for All Over Albany. Actually, is that scary how a bar that gives pizzas away is better than some places that sell it?
After pizza was consumed, I had my eyes (and stomach) locked on the blue point oysters. $2 each. And plenty of accoutrements. Found out later that the chef made the cocktail sauce himself and was pretty proud of it. It would have been easy to pop open a jar, so kudos for an eye on the details there.
These were a special, and not normally on the menu.
CRAZY HOT NOSE CLEARING HORSERADISH! Tasty pain. Also, these might have been some of the freshest oysters I’ve ever had. So fresh, clean, briny, and… I wanna eat an bushel of them myself. Found out later they’d just come in the night before from Boston.
Also, they have free parking. And a mechanical bull. Also free.