Last Update
Dec 30th, 2019

Fort Lauderdale Ale House

2861 N Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33306
(954) 565-5747
Overall Rating
2.2
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
03/16/2018

Details

Hours: 7 days Lunch and Dinner
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Outdoor: No
Reservations: No
Delivery: No

Pros

Decent Food Prices and Specials
New Big TVs

Cons

Slow, Incompetent Service
Bad, Chain Restaurant Food
Lousy Wings

Critic's Review

Corned beef is a one week of the year thing for me; next week all of the stores will have corned beef on sale trying to unload their St Patrick's day inventory that nobody bought. Ale house had corned beef special this week; and they had some pictures of block cut corned beef so I thought maybe I'd get real corned beef. I was wrong.

When I arrived apparently the server in the dining room was off, so only the area around the bar was available. I didn't want to set at the bar in this place. This was as var as I could get.

Menus are on the table, so the hostess doesn't have to do much. They do the hard sell on the alcohol here; all sorts of promotions cluttered the table.

Their St Pat's promo only mentioned the corned beef dinner for $11.99, which isn't the price i'd expect to pay at lunch in a place like this. They've been advertising a reuben sandwich but it wasn't on the flyer. I asked about the reuben, but he didn't know how much is was. If it was the same as the dinner I'd get that; so he had to go check.

$8.95. I ordered the reuben with cole slaw.

Music here is decent, although an obnoxious bartender trying to be funny filled the air with her quips. It's why I hate sitting near the bar.

It came out almost instantaneously, which is always a bad thing.

I was amused by the lettuce underneath the cole slaw. The cole slaw wasn't terrible. My server kept asking how everything was, so I asked for mustard. Deli mustard. but they don't have deli mustard in a 250 seat restaurant.

The sandwich had deli corned beef, which doesn't taste like corned beef. They were also very cheap with the sauerkraut, which was not actually sauerkraut. The also didn't seem to have Russian dressing. The bread was toasted but the cheese wasn't melted. A very bad fake reuben sandwich.

I ate enough food to satisfy my caloric requirement, and then pushed the plate away, hoping to get my check. But a table of 4 came in; you know, the kind of people who eat dinner at the Ale House at 3pm, which totally consumed my server. Even though the table was within eyesight, he failed to look over in 3 visits to the other table. The 3rd time I was ready to just put an estimate in cash on the table and leave, when a manager strolled by. I told him I'd been trying to cash out; sitting there with an empty glass and my plate with used napkins on the other side of the table, and moments later my server came by. I only gave him a tip because he had a Yankees cap on.

Conclusion

I hate the Ale House, and I hate it even more now. Don't come for the Reuben.

Review 10/30/16

The dreaded Bye Week. With the NY Giants off this weekend, I was suffering through a weekend with no game to watch. I had some errands to run, and had absolutely zero interest in going to Bokampers. While I'd eaten at the Ale House, I hadn't been there for Sunday Football.

One thing about this place is that it really could use a rear door. The entrance is in the front, but there's no parking at all in front or on either side of the building. So you park in the back and have to walk around front.

The have a sandwich board on the front porch, which inexplicably listed the soup of the day as "Chef's Choice". It's a chalk board, they couldn't tell us what his choice was today? No picture, because the porch was packed with smokers.

I was wondering what I was going to do if there were no seats in the bar; I couldn't see standing around watching a bunch of games I didn't care about without eating something. But there were some seats,

They've gotten bigger TVs since I was in here last; I asked the bartender when they upgraded them, and she couldn't pin it down. "Long Time Ago. Maybe 6 months?". 6 Months isn't a long time to me. Anyway, they have nice big sets.

The place was maybe half full. No Dolphins game this week either (I hate the bye week). They also don't have a good plan here. While I could see 5 or 6 TVs from my seat, many were on the same games. They had a big group watching the Patriots game in the corner. I think the TVs are on demand.

$2.95 "select" pints. I got a Miller Lite. I'm not sure if Miller still owns these Ale Houses, but Miller Beer specials prevail. I ordered some wings, medium with blue cheese. They don't grill them here; because charging 50 cents to throw them on the grill is too messy to want to accommodate your guests.

The wings came out INSTANTANEOUS. I jest not. Literally within 1 minute of ordering they came out. Obviously they have big tubs of them pre-made and they just drop them into oil for a few seconds.

And these wings were just plain wings dropped into a basket and fried. No marinating detected. No cooking skills are needed to work at the Ale House.

Everything was fine until I was done. I got a bartender's attention and asked for my tab; she pointed to the rail in front of me where there was a slip of paper that I hadn't noticed. I immediate put out my card.

So normally when you ask for your tab and you have empty plates and bones in front of you, they take take the places, right? Restauranting 101. None of that here. So another bartender walks by, seems to notice my card and tab, but doesn't take it. Maybe I have a dedicated bartender? So now my bartender is chatting on one side of the bar, and then she walks buy and goes to the other side of the bar. She's not serving anyone; I asked for my tab minutes ago from her, so she knows I want to go. Another run and then she takes the tab, runs the card and drops off the receipt.

The dishes remain.

She never took the plates. More fantastic service in Fort Lauderdale.

Conclusion

The Ale Houses go by a variety of names but they're all part of the same chain in the mold of Flannigan's and Quarterdeck that were popular int the area 25 years ago. Unfortunately, their recipes or business model haven't evolved much; bad service from a tattooed chick with a tongue ring. Classy Classy.

Better to get a salad or something that doesn't require culinary skills; the updated TVs and availability of seats at 2pm are a reason to consider watching the games here. It's a pretty low key, older crowd.

Review 1/20/14

There are few places in this tourist town where you can go out for a big lunch and not leave feeling like you've been robbed, and the Ale House is one of them. A member of the nationwide "Miller Ale House" chain; The was one of the placed you'd go back in the days before the big fancy ripoff restaurants took over the scene.

On my current diet, I find myself seeking out salads and grilled meats; I knew I'd be able to find something here. The have specials every day; on Mondays they have a full rack of ribs for $9.99, which is 1/3 of what you'll pay on Las Olas.

They've devolved into using Male "hosts" to seat customers, which is unfortunate. Seemed like a decent dude. One good thing about the place is that they have lots of big booths, so unless you go at peak hour you're going to have one to yourself.

One thing that I always forget is that the menus are with the salt and pepper; they have specials and a drink book on the table; and I always at first think that they forgot to give me a menu. I almost bit on the ribs; they serve the salads I was interested in over "mixed greens", which is code for random weeds. I asked if they'd make me a cobb with just romaine, and they said they would. So I ordered a Cobb with Blue Cheese Dressing.

The music here is top notch; Jimi Hendrix, Spoon, Van Morrison, Kelly Clarkston, Chicago, Sheryl Crow. I got to listen to a lot of music, because it took forever for them to make this salad. A good 20 minutes; my server twice gave me the "It's coming right out". Finally it arrived.

Now this isn't really a cobb salad; Cobb's are a lot more organized than this. The greens should be chopped; there's no avocado. But it's a salad with a lot of stuff. He brought the salad out with a 1/2 tub of blue cheese and 1/2 tub of ranch; I'd asked for blue cheese on the side; I sent him back with the ranch to get me more blue cheese. This salad was a lot of food.

$9.45 for this; maybe it was worth the wait. Not great, but a big lunch for under $10.

It took way too long to get my check; I was in the restaurant for 1 hour and 10 minutes, which is way too long for a single course lunch.

Review 2/28/13

The Fort Lauderdale Ale House is part of the national Miller Ale House chain; they've undergone a facelift since my last visit and everything is in pretty good condition. This place is the opposite of Las Olas; free parking, big portions, good specials and it's about 1/2 the price. The menu is extremely hit or miss; I had some really bad fish and chips here once, but you can find things that are at least half way decent. Remember that Bobby Flay isn't in the kitchen, and order accordingly.

I hate this place when there are a lot of people; it's a low brow crowd and the bar is loud and annoying at happy hour. Usually I ask to be seated away from the bar, but at 3:15 it was dead empty so I didn't say anything when I was seated in the game area near the bar.

On one side they have 4 rows of booths, and the other side is the bar and a big open room with lots of TVs. This is where you want to sit to watch football.

The have specials every day; on Thursday they have meatloaf and chef's salad for lunch for $5.99 and Prime Rib and a 1 1/4lb lobster for $12.95. I thought about the lobster, but 1 1/4 lbs is a small lobster and I was hungrier than that. The soup of the day is conch chowder, so I decided to break my boycott and order that with a blackened chicken caesar salad. And they had Splenda for the iced tea.

Music here is superb; U2, Adam Ant and Joan Jett, intermittently ruined by the BeeGees. The soup came out right away.

From the smell I could tell that this wasn't the usual musty stuff you get at the old time seafood houses; in fact, this was very good. Not Tony Sindaco good, but better than just about any other one I could remember. It tasted a lot like manhattan clam chowder, with tough conch instead of tender clams. They ought to give up on the conch already and just make clam chowder. It was a good portion and a good deal for $3.99.

I wasn't done for long when the salad came out.

$8.99 for this baby; it reminded me of the chicken caesars I used to get at TGI Friday's back in the day. Caesar Salad is all about the dressing, since I don't eat the croutons and romaine lettuce is, well, romaine lettuce. The dressing here is the good, creamy kind, not quite as good as the crazy garlicky stuff they have at the Boulder Creek on Long Island, but better than some of the stuff you get from the faux chefs on Las Olas. It was a big salad and I had to ask for extra dressing. I asked for "a little extra" and she brought me out enough for another salad.

Everything is bigger at the ale house.

My server was very good until the end, when I wanted my check and she was no-where to be found. It was after 4 by then, and the place was filling up with the kind of people who come to happy hour at 4pm. So I needed to get out of the place.

Under $16 for soup, salad and an Ice Tea; I'd pay that much just for a chicken caesar on Las Olas and it wouldn't be as big or as good.

When I got home I checked the nutritional chart for the restaurant and I think it's out of whack. They certainly don't try to cheat; 2000 calories for Fish and Chips? The chart said that the salad was 1030 calories, but it didn't add up. A plain caesar was 430 calories with 19 carbs. The only thing with carbs is the croutons, which I didn't eat. Let's assume that's correct. They have the chicken caesar listed at 1030 with 35g of carbs. How can that be? Chicken has no carbs, and the chicken can't be 700 calories. They didn't give me a whole chicken. Somebody didn't check their work. Ok, so we can't rely on nutritional info at restaurants. We already knew that.

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yeah, this place has been up for sale/rent for a while.

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