Saturday, November 05, 2005

Albany's Best Hidden Place to Grab a Pint

Well, tonight I'm off to a benefit at the Lodge in East Greenbush instead of hitting up downtown Albany, but one of these Saturdays I need to hit up the Fuse Box; a good friend tells me it's a great club to go to on Saturdays.

Since the benefit I'm attending this evening is very loosely connected to one of the members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in Albany, I thought I'd take a minute to write about the AOH, seeing as how it's one of my favorite places in Albany. It's normally a members-only club, although they definitely have never checked my credentials, and is one of the hangouts for the Irish-Americans in Albany. The AOH (Ontario Street) is a pretty drab building other than the bar, but boasting bingo, cheap beer, and and a very low-key and friendly atmosphere, it's a great place to hang out after a long day of stress at work. The first time I went into the AOH bar, I met half the regulars, and I kept going back. It eventually culminated in my trip to Ireland, as I think I learned more about Irish history in a half hour from the people down here than I would have by reading 3 books on the topic. Although it is an Irish American club, I can say that pretty much anyone would be welcome here. I've brought several friends in the past, and the regulars are only to happy to have new people to talk to. The new hardwood bar has space for about a dozen people to sit, and there are tables directly in front of it for any groups to gather at. When these get crowded, there is also another room that can be opened up to provide more space for customers. I think a Guinness here is around $3, and if you keep your eye out, there are some pretty good bands every few weekends. If you're looking for a more intelligent and talkative crowd than the average Pearl Street bar would boast, AOH is probably the place to check out.

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