Albany's World of Beer in Crossgates Mall
World of Beer, located across from the Regal Cinema 18, is a craft beer/spirits bar, a sports bar, a restaurant, a lounge, and a live entertainment venue -- all in one. It's definitely a unique fusion to say the least and I found out at a soft opening celebration.
Let's start with talking about the main focus of the franchise establishment: the beer. It's in the name of the business, it makes up more than half of the menu, and beer itself even is in a lot of the décor, with lit coolers and walls of beer behind the wooden bar.
In total, there are 54 rotating taps and 500 varieties of bottled/canned beers available at a given time. The beers are from the U.S. and more than 20 other counties. The available beverages range from Bud Light and PBR to locally-made Brown's and Nine Pin cider. There's Chimay, Sam Adams, Shipyard, Allagash, and a private label only available at World of Beer sites called C'est la Vie! brewed in Belgium.
There are also "mixed draughts" which combine beers to concoct new flavors including Brown's Black Cherry ($6.50) which is the Troy-based brewery's Oatmeal Stout mixed with their Cherry Raspberry. Others are the Chocolate Blueberry ($7) - Young's Double Chocolate Stout with Sea Dog Blue Paw, and Red Monk ($8) - a Belgian Quad with raspberry favored Lambic.
There are also multiple spirits to choose from.
Food-wise, the menu has a selection of tavern fare and main entrée dishes. Tavern-style choices include an artisan sausage board ($15), a seasonal cheese plate ($17), pickle chips ($7), mac and cheese ($6), tavern taters ($8) and a large German pretzel with a dipping sauce ($9). If you're up for more of a meal, there are larger offerings like crab cakes and steak fries (both of which are below $20).
There are various seating options at the bar near the multitude of flat screen TVs, in leather couches/chairs, in a corner booth, and in high top and low top tables near the stage which will feature musical artists Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
If you could see yourself in such an establishment often, you may be interested in their Loyalty Card that includes a points system and free shirt. Plus, the wait staff rings a bell at the bar in your honor when you join (though, it seemed to ring a lot when the U.S.A. and Portugal were playing in the World Cup so I think the staff will use any excuse to ring it).
There's a lot going on in this space (the former Houlihan's) but, once you've had a few beers off the wall, you warm up to the concept and it just makes sense.
If you go...
Location: Crossgates Mall, 1 Crossgates Road in Albany (at movie theater entrance)
Hours: Sun. - Wed. 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m./Thurs. - Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Price range: $5 to $17
Must be over 21 to consume/purchase alcohol
Cards accepted, Wifi available
And, if you found this blog interesting, you may also like these:
The Malt Room in Troy
The Speakeasy in Albany
Rare Form Brewery Opens in Troy (and Trampoline Park in Albany)