Ale is one of several new beer bars that have opened in New Orleans in the last few years. Its thirty taps rotate regularly, with an array of local, regional, and national craft beers guaranteed to please everyone’s palate. Ale isn’t a sports bar, but it’s certainly sports-friendly. The owners have managed to shoehorn in six TVs, tonight tuned to anything from the NHL Finals to the Copa America tournament. Billed as “upscale dive,” it is neither. It’s too casual to be upscale and too clean and new to be a dive, though the worn wooden floors, salvaged from the now defunct Dixie Brewery, give it the kind of patina a beer bar needs. The paintings of monkeys drinking beer hanging in the bathroom hallway add a quirky touch and made me think of those paintings of dogs playing poker that neighborhood bars like to display.
ALE NEW ORLEANS Photo Gallery
While Ale may not have a large beer list, it is thoughtfully curated. The bartender told us that the owner is committed to serving “interesting beers,” and the bar has featured hard-to-get pours of local beers like Parish’s Ghost in the Machine and several sours from Great Raft. Each night features a special, with Monday Flight Nights a personal favorite. If you are in the mood for something with a higher proof, their American whiskey and Scotch whisky lists are remarkably strong, given the rather small size of the bar. The kitchen turns out solid gastropub fare and stays open late. Ale gets a lot of tourists who are waiting for a table at Jaques Imo’s (a popular restaurant down the street) or waiting for a show at the Maple Leaf club, but the majority of their patrons are locals who live nearby. If you get tired of beer or whiskey, step out onto their side patio and walk over to Oak, the wine bar next door, the sister bar of Ale. Beer, whiskey, wine. They’ve got all the bases covered.