Quaint atmosphere, especially with the stand up bar area. Numerous tap handles and other beer decorations create the right mood.
Selection is top quality local craft, east coast craft, and a good range of imports. I was able to savor an imperial pint of Coninston Bluebird Bitter here, well before it made its way into beer retail merchant stores.
On my weeknight visit I found the service to be good and the bar uncrowded, but I can imagine it is rowdy on Friday or Saturday night. There has to be a reason why they resort to standing at the bar in that narrow corridor, and I’d bet it’s not good.
Overheard on last visit: (customer) "I’ll have a Guinness", (bartender) "Not today". <awkward silence> (customer) "Oh?" (bartender) "No delivery".
I think this place relies on the idea that people who come in there know what kind of beer they want, and can choose them by name only, as they do not offer descriptions (or even a note on the "styles") in their printout. And they DON’T seem approachable for question asking. I don’t know that they would answer it if you got up the gall to ask!
That said, their beer selection is the best for a bar in Albany and the perfect place to go for a single pint (justifies the prices). I regularly go, but I go prepared... check their website before you stop for what’s on tap!
Albany’s only true beer bar - unless you count the new biergarten downtown. The other ratings are right - this place has a certain atmosphere and protocol - comply or die. I can easily see how it could rub people the wrong way. Personally, as a beer lover in this small city, it does the job for me nicely.
My old stomping ground. Drop by on a monday when the crowd is a bit more sparse. Don’t make your first visit there on a thursday night when it’s really busy. To appreciate this gem, you have to be there when there are not a lot of patrons present. The owner/bartender Bill will point you in the right direction if you just tell him what style of beer you’d like to drink. And if you’re looking for fizzy yellow beer, this isn’t the place. Bill usually keeps a decent selection of Middle Ages beers on tap and in cask. My favorite, the Wailing Wench is served there from time to time along with other solid ales like Middle Ages Ten and Druid Fluid. This place will surely hold the interest of any serious beer lover as there are rotating beers from far and wide along with a very good bottle selection. The folks at Mahar’s recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and I’m glad to say that I was there to help celebrate. May they enjoy many more years of success! And they keep their taps clean too which is important
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day - the rooooools will be in effect. Anyone coming in wearing green will need 137 forms of ID before they are served. And you will be asked for it every time you order a beer.
There will be a sign on the door that says, “Private Party.” If you’re a regular, don’t pay any attention to it. If you start to have a good time with your friends, you will be asked to leave. This is not a place for fun. This is not a place for you. Just check our web site – we’re looking to get rid of customers.
Cross your legs while sitting at a table – you’re out. Push your horn-rimmed glasses back up your nose with your middle finger – you’re out. Scratch yourself in some unmentionable place – you’re out.
Like the Seinfeld episode (the Beer Nazi) - come in, stand in line, order a $23.95 beer, drink it without saying a word, then get the f%$#@! out. And don’t come back. We have enough dopes to take your place at the bar.
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This is one of my favorite places. I was there a lot when I lived in Albany, and this is where I really grew my appreciation for beer. Best selection I have seen and a pleasant pub atmosphere makes this a must visit!
I have been to Mahars when visiting Albany. The place alwyas has a good selection usually with a few oddballs and things you don’t see often. The bartender is not the nicest guy and seems to have a bit of an attitude and is kind of scary but if you get your order in fast and get the beer and go drink at a table you should be fine. I like that you are able to print out the list of the beers they currently have so you can attempt to try them all. Worth a stop if you are in the area.
The place is cramped, limited seating. Probably not a bad idea to count on standing unless you get there early. When you get there, the guy’s ask you if youwant to take the tour. They aren’t talking about a tour of the bar. They have beers from all over the world. You get a sheet of paper with all the beers on it. As you order a beer, they highlight it. Only four per night count towards your list. At the end of the night, you give them your list. They put what you drank in a computer and those come off your list. Next time you go in, inthe back of the bar is a computer and a folder. In that folder is your name and member number. You put your member number inthe computer and it prints out a list of beers there currently have, but not the ones you had already. As you reach milestones, you get tee shirts, personalized mugs, plaques etc. Great idea! Beers were a little pricey, I could find many here for a few bucks cheaper, but if you remember your getting a shirt, plaque etc somewhere dow the line, it’s not so bad. Also some beers are hard to find. Apparently they import 75% of the cask beers in the US. Anyway, it looks like a hole in the wall, but check itout, it’s worth going in.
Dusty venue...bartender ruined it for me. Lots of beers, not many IPAs, so go get your hops else where. The computer system is a cool touch, although some beers are mislabeled. Pretty hard to have a good time here if your not in the club. I’d rather go buy from Oliver’s Beverage and drink at home or hotel room.
Mahar’s is kind of like that bar in the Sam Adams commercial where the bartender says they have hundred-fifty kinds of beer except they have more beers than that and if you order Sam Adams you will get a weird look. When you enter the bar, you go directly to the back and print out your tour list. This keeps track of every beer you have had at Mahar’s. The list is generally separated by draft or bottle, and then by country although you can have the list separated by style as well. The selection is amazing they generally have 20ish rotating beers on draft and another 200 in the bottle.
The prices initially seem expensive, but when you consider what beers you are getting, they are reasonable. They usually have some vintage english beers, belgians, and a bunch of beers from countries that you didn’t expect to make beer. The part owner and main bartender Bill is usually very helpful in helping you choose a beer and the other bartenders are as well.
Although this is primarily a beer bar, they do offer some food as well. They offer homemade meat pies, sandwiches that they will grill for you, some pasta dishes, and cheeses and crackers. All things considered, this is my favorite bar in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area.