Monday, August 4, 2008

Review: Clark's Ale House

Name: Clark's Ale House
Address: 122 W Jefferson St, Syracuse, NY
Neighborhood: Downtown (Armory Square)
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 AM to 2 AM
Kitchen: Monday-Wednesday 11 AM to 1 AM, Thursday-Saturday 11 AM-2 AM
Cuisine: Sliced-to-order roast beef & turkey sandwiches, cheese plates, coleslaw, & pickled eggs.
Alcohol: Beer and Wine
Parking: Street
Take-out: Yes
Accepts credit cards: No. ATM on-site. $1 charge, reimbursable at bar.
Trivia Night: Wednesdays at 8:15 PM

How fitting that one of my favorite places in in the city and one of the best places to grab a beer in Syracuse is my first review on this blog. That place: Clark's Ale House in Armory Square.

I came into Clark's on Monday evening around 4:30 PM after a walk south down Warren St and crossing Salina St. Very few patrons were inside, a couple at the bar, and a couple at a table by the window both eating roast beef sandwiches. I knew what I wanted to order before I had even walked in. The order...

Roast beef sandwich with cheese & onions: $5.50
Pickled Egg: $1
Brooklyn IPA: $4
Total money spent with tax and tip: $11.24

The decor of Clark's is great; almost like an English pub that's been transported to the edge of Armory Square. The interior is complete with posters of local happenings around town, English beer advertisements lining the walls and a well-crafted, red English phone booth facing the Jefferson Clinton Hotel across the street. Though Clark's can get busy on Wednesday nights at 8:30 PM for Trivia Night, there's normally enough seating here: tables with stools along the windows in the main room, a much larger side room with dart boards, an entire upper level with seats and tables, and outdoor seating (given the weather conditions, of course).

The main room is great for some socializing with barflies and the knowledgeable and friendly bartenders are always easy to talk to if you have questions about anything or want to try some samples of beers. And don't miss the great games that Clark's has to offer like REAL darts, Jenga, Trivial Pursuit (among others), and the unique ring/hook game.

The side room is great for people watching and currently even better if you want to track the development and construction of the Jefferson Clinton Commons being built right across the corner. And, for what it's worth, you can also spot the orange-painted trains of Syracuse's failed passenger system, Ontrack, from the windows of Clark's.

Any who, to the important stuff... The bartender was very friendly; slicing the roast beef (which was put onto an onion roll with cheese and thinly sliced red onions), pouring the beer, and then putting the meal on a try complete with self-serve jars of horseradish and spicy mustard. Now normally, Clark's roast beef sandwiches are usually pretty tasty, but this time the entire bottom bun of my sandwich was extremely soggy and would drip of some kind of liquid (water or beef-juice) as soon as I would pick it up. So at the risk of having a totally wet sandwich, I tried finishing as quickly as possible. There was more than enough roast beef there, I'd say about an inch thick, so despite having somewhat of a soggy sandwich, it was still very filling. The pickled egg was A-OK (you can't go wrong with food for $1) and the amber-colored Brooklyn IPA on tap was one of the better beers that I've had all summer.

Despite the dripping sandwich, the meal is good for a pretty solid course if you are by yourself, with a small group of people, or if you are looking for a late-night snack. Though I didn't splurge for it this time, the smoked Gouda cheese plate should definitely not go unnoticed.

My rating of Clark's Ale House:

Your rating of Clark's Ale House:

1 comment:

Bob and Tia said...

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the menu. This is certainly no fast food Roast Beef. I'm too much of a picky eater to enjoy the classic condiments though.

Really looking forward to your next review. Also looking forward to the review of the Blue Tusk. I lived in Cazenovia in the summer of 2001 when I was too young to enjoy these places, but I vividly remember the Blue Tusk mentioned a lot at the SkyChief games.

Thanks for the kind words on the house. Everything is going great so far (I actually rode my bike to see Snider and the Chiefs the other night). The move was largely fine except for smashing our kitchen table all over 490. Good thing we didn't kill anybody...