Troy is a typical American city that has been left behind by the golden ages of steel and coal. Evidences of a once prosperous city from the turn of the 20th century is now left to decay. Only the old city and RPI, an expensive private college, still have signs of life. Everything else, including a beautiful stretch along the river, looks like the aftermath of zombie apocalypses seen in many video games. Lifeless and rusting, ironic with the steel industry that made it all possible. Wealth from RPI and lack of people prevents this from becoming another slum; case in point, no litter was seen along the deserted streets. Here, lies The Ale House, residing in what looks like an abandon 3 story shop house. Without prior knowledge, I would have thought the table outside was up to no good, planning on the next heist.
Saturday dinner times are usually the busiest hours, but here at the Ale house, it feels like a tavern in a cowboy town. There is only one server working on a few tables. We seat ourselves while she brings us the menus and drinks. The floor is sticky and the kitchen looks sketchy. Even though the bathroom has been cleaned, it felt dirty. With that said, the wooden walls and atmosphere separates Ale House from just another bar. People are here to chill, not to dance.
We order 3 different kinds of wings, mild, medium and hot, sweet potato fries and clam chowder soup (even though this is not Friday). The wings are the reason why we are here; supposedly, this is the best around the capital region. Despite having a single person on the floor, the service is better than a lot of restaurants. That can’t be said about the iced tea – it is disgusting with a strong odor. Did they made it with river water scoop from the front porch?
Soon, the Buffalo wings are served with bowls over them. For a second, I thought those were burger buns. Wings are freshly deep fried and slathered with hot sauces. All of them are very sour, and the medium wings are much spicier than the mild. Nobody is a coward eating just the mild. I sweated like a pig without ever touching the hot stuff. The wings are a bit small and were fried a bit too long, making them drier than it should be, but that does give them a crispy outside. Clam chowder soup comes out creamy and delightful, a huge contrast to the wings and I welcome it whole heartedly. I would also recommend ordering some sides, like the sweet potato fries, as they help cool down my burning tongue.
I enjoyed this dive bar. This is truly an authentic ale house. Rusting is a more befitting word than rustic. I enjoy the atmosphere, especially during sunset when the light rays shine lazily into a dying town. That feeling of the end of a good era, kind of like cowboys looking into the horizon at the end of a movie. The prices here are very cheap, and the usual pub fare will go well with large selection of beer. The wings are satisfying, but don’t skip the real deal in Buffalo. You are almost there.
Visited: July 7th, 2018 for dinner at 6pm.
Address: 680 River Street, Troy.