The City Beer Hall's mechanical bull

Mechanical Bull at City Tavern.jpg

It's a kinder, gentler bull.

Last night we were home writing, checking email, getting ready for all the things we had to do today -- when it suddenly occurred to us that there was a mechanical bull down the street. What were we doing at home?

So we put on our boots and headed over to opening night at City Beer Hall -- the new bar in the old Ogden's building at Howard and Lodge Streets in Albany -- to check the place out and see the bull in action.

City Beer Hall ext.jpgThe Ogden building is a great space. We'd been there a couple of times in previous incarnations but this time the feel is much more casual.

Silver Fox Salvage put together the industrial chic chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings (They also did lighting for Dinosaur BBQ). The airy space is filled with long communal tables.

City Beer Hall tables and chandalier.jpg

City Beer Hall 1st Floor.jpg

Beers run up to $10, but you get a free pizza with each pint. There's also pub-style food from $8 to $10.

City Beer Hall free pizza.jpg

With visions of Urban Cowboy dancing in our heads, we followed the signs upstairs to the mechanical bull.

Bull this way sign.jpg

There's an upstairs bar and lots more western-themed space. It's not overdone -- just a few ropes, horns and barrels.

Upstairs at City Beer Hall.jpg

Kaelin Ballinger, one of the owners, was operating the bull. He was busy copying drivers licenses and getting releases signed. Riding the bull is free, but you have to sign the release.

It's a much kinder, gentler bull than we'd anticipated based on old John Travolta movies. It didn't seem to go too fast or buck too hard and it's surrounded by what looks like the bottom half of a kids bounce house to ensure a soft landing. Still, this isn't one of those 25-cent kiddie rides -- staying on didn't look easy.

And in case this makes you want your very own mechanical bull, Kaelin tells us you can get one at the same place he did -- online at 'Cause, why not?

Find It

City Beer Hall
42 Howard Street
Albany, NY 12232


That looks awesome, haha. I can't wait to check it out.

how was the pizza?

I just remembered a problem I had with Ballinger's, even though the place was really, really cool. On a hot summer day, it got stifling in there. There was no air conditioning, probably because the historic building wouldn't allow for central air modification, and window units make noise and are an eye sore. All of that makes sense, but there were a few times that I was in there and it was pretty unpleasant.

Wow, a pizza that size with every pint? Given the cost, I doubt anyone is going to let those go to waste. I hope whoever has to clean up the vomit on the sidewalk out front is paid really well!

I had so much fun here on Friday night for my birthday! It was the first time I ever rode a mech bull and it really was not as easy as it looks. The free pizza was awesome, the beer was wonderful, and the bartenders are really nice. Everybody was very friendly and I made a lot of friends that night :)

I went for my dad's birthday last week, and it was really cool. Contrary to what everyone seems to be saying, not ALL the beer is crazy expensive. They have Genny on draft for $4, and a bunch of cheaper bottles and cans in a cooler to choose from. The little pizzas were delicious, and I also tried the truffled fried mac & cheese. YUM. Also, the staff was super friendly and awesome.

I was curious to see if they fixed the AC problem though, and it appears that they didn't. It was hot in there. I was okay, but I had to listen to the 'rents whine about it.

go to the Barrel Saloon, way more fun and drinks are much cheaper

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