Sunday, August 19, 2007

The 2 Minute Guide To The Midtown Tap And Tea Room

The Midtown Tap and Tea Room
289 New Scotland Avenue, Albany NY
(518) 435-0202
[Closed on Sunday]

Tap Selection: The tap selection, while not particularly outstanding, offers a variety of interesting beers. The weakest pint on the list is Coors Light; others offered include Tetley's, Blue Moon, Pironi, Sierra Nevada, Pilsener Urquell and Hoegaarden. There's nothing on tap that we can't get elsewhere in Albany; however, the selection generally avoids macro-brewed lagers in favor of more upper-crust brews. They offer no microbrews and, since their opening just over two and a half months ago, have not rotated their taps.

Food: This restaurant, as it is somewhat new, will probably become better-known for its food than its beer selection. The offerings range from gourmet sandwiches and salads to an evening tapas menu. We genuinely enjoyed their warm goat-cheese salad, which was served with a rich raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The chorizo platter was also really, really good. We've heard good things about the pan-seared sea bass, too. (We're not kidding. That sounds delicious.)

Ambience: Classy. This bar caters to an adult clientele, and it shows - it is impeccably decorated, with well-buffed hardwood floors, Persian-style rugs, and a grand piano in the center of the floor. A small balcony with limited seating overlooks Ontario Avenue. There are two bars; in all of the times that we've been, we've only seen the back bar truly busy. The front bar looks really nice, and is remiscent of a finer hotel bar.

Vicinity: While we don't know what this "Midtown" neighborhood is, the Tap and Tea Room is located on New Scotland Avenue, just to the south of the major student neighborhood, and is comfortably situated between the two major Albany hospitals (Albany Med and St. Peter's) and a brief walk from the Albany campus of Russell Sage College and Union University's Albany Law School; the neighborhood is a nice mix of graduate students and young professionals. The Tap and Tea Room shares a block with the more-popular sports bar Graney's and the Fountain Restaurant. It's a low-key but happening neighborhood.

Specials: There are no real specials here, per se. All draft beers are available in 12 oz, 16 oz, and 20 oz sizes. For a 20 oz, you'll pay between $3.75 (Coors Light) and $4.50 (Hoegaarden).

Extras: The tapas menu is really what stands out here, more than anything else.

Verdict: Nice for a date, and a good change-of-pace from your normal beer selection. That said, you can do better in terms of getting a better selection of beers in this town.

1 comment:

Fe said...

FYI: This section of Albany is called Midtown.