Great beer selection. Good food. Great Ambiance. Service was good, But I was in there early on a Monday So I donít know how it is around any other time.
This place has the best beer selection for a pub around the CU area.
I had a great Reuben here, and everyone in our large group who ordered meals seemed satisfied. The beer menu was lengthy yet somewhat common to a Chicagoan like myself. Nice atmosphere on an uncrowded, post-graduation afternoon, but it would have been cool to see the place hoppiní as well. Crane Alley was a fine starting point for a pub crawl from Urbana to Champaign. (Plus it was a hoot to watch Carl order his baba of Roog Buubu Bibba.)
Nice place, a long bar, pool tables, plenty of room. The food that I had (a portobello sandwich with sweet potato fries) was pretty good and the others in the group seemed happy with their choices. Very nice beer selection, both on tap and in the bottle. If youíre going to be in the Champaign-Urbana area, you couldnít do much better for decent eats and some good beer.
As good a beer selection as youíll likely find in a town the size of Champaign-Urbana, Crane Alley has a nice selection of bottles, and a good rotation of drafts, including some that arenít widely available. The food is very good for bar food. Lots of sandwich choices (I recommend the chicken salad sandwich), some steak/seafood choices, etc. Most of the food is pretty good. I had some pumpkin tortellini there (seasonal offering) that was to die for! But beef sandwiches (italian beef, steak sandwich) always turn out a bit tough, for me. But, I avoid them, to my pleasure.
I, too, have had bad service here, on occasion. But I go often enough to know this isnít the norm. Maybe 10% of the time? Hell, bar service is usually inferior to restaurant service, so Iím not gonna complain too much. Thereís usually not much of a lunch crowd, so if you want a quiet pint or two, itís a good choice. At night and on the weekends, it gets pretty crowded.
Nice place, decent relaxing atmosphere, attractive but not trashy-looking waitstaff, mature grad student-type clientele rather than frat meatheads, not huge but good quality beer slection, blah blah blah. However:
RIPOFF ALERT!! Think that pint shaker glass of tap beer the bartender just handed you is actually a pint? Wrong. The sides are thicker, the taper is slightly narrower and the bottom is convex. Net result -- what looks like a pint glass barely holds 12 ounces -- maybe 13 if filled to the very brim. Try this experiment: Order a bottled beer and then ask for a pint glass to pour it in. Youíll find it fills right up to the top. I really canít stand this kind of deception and dishonesty just to save a few pennies on a pour. If youíre going to serve 12-ounce taps, just announce theyíre 12-ounce taps instead of making the patrons think theyíre getting pints. Goddamn cheapskates.
EDIT: I am informed by a Crane Alley regular that they are 14-ounce glasses to the brim rather than 13. Nonetheless, the same premise still holds. Feckiní stingy pricks.
UPDATE MAR 2006: Revisited against my better judgement. The server did not wait on us ONCE in 90 minutes. She passed by us several times, seemingly deliberately avoiding eye contact, to diligently serve others. What the FUCK is up with that? Screw this place. So much potential, all wasted.
Philip (64) Illinois | August 6, 2005| Updated February 10, 2006
Strictly in terms of beer, Crane Alley does a decent job bringing in some good mircrobrews to counter the Bass, Guiness, Harp junk. Yeti Imperial Stout, North Coastís Rasputin, and even Bells Batch 6000 have all made their way to the tap list within the past year, and thatís impressive. The service is highly dependent on who your particular server is the night you dine.
*************************** 2006 UPDATE: Food has declined quite a bit over the last few months after their original chef left. The specials arenít as good, and even some of the sandwiches seem to be more up and down than before. The tap selection is solid, but doesnít seem to be quite as good and innovative as before either due to the loss of their manager.
had lunch here a few months ago when in town to pick up my son. food was delicious and the beer selection was about as good as youíll find anywhere in central Illinois. staff was pleasant, friendly and even though our waiter had cute short bangs, nobody hit on him either. ;)
You know what? fuck this place. The hot blonde bitch bartender was a fucking bitch. Serious attitude problem. And she had short bangs. Who has bangs anymore? And i didnít make any passes on her or anything. She just was unhappy. They had like 15 beers on tap. The best was Gumballhead. They had a lot of bottles. but not more than 70. and a lot are busch/miller products. but other than some pool tables this place sucks. everyone that worked there was a fucking dickface.
CraneAlley (1) urbana, Illinois | November 9, 2004| Updated March 31, 2005