First Street Ale House

  • Alehouse featuring craft beers
  • Livermore, CA
  • indoor/outdoor seating
  • food available
  • busy, popular
  • dogs allowed on the patios.
  • www.firststreetalehouse.com

I haven’t been here often, but for the last 10 years I’ve been stopping by once in a while.  The Alehouse, as its name suggests, is on First St, and is actually in the heart of downtown.

Livermore is a nice little town, not as popular as Pleasanton for an escape to antique shops and Bistros, but it has grown over the years, to be three blocks full of restaurants, wine bars/tasting rooms, and there is even an olive oil tasting room too.  There is a theater, hosting plays and music concerts, and two cinemas.  There are a couple of hold-outs, a donut shop and a western apparel and riding tack shop, from the time before Silicon Valley and the East Bay burst at the seams and its conurbations sprawled over the Dublin Grade and over the tri valley.

The Alehouse moved locations about 10 years ago from a little wooden building to the adjacent brick building.  Losing an airy front patio, the new alehouse has a partially enclosed front dining area, a huge general bar and restaurant area, and a rear patio that is only seems to open at weekends through the summer.

The two important things really are food and drinks.  The drinks include a solid permanent menu of craft ales and traditional big brewery labels, including the usual Guinness and Newcastle from Ireland and Britain, and a couple of popular Mexican beers.  There is also a rotating menu of local beers, by local I mean from a close as Livermore itself (though I didn’t see 8 bridges, I did see Altamont), Tri Valley and Bay Area.  The brown ale I had was served as frosty as a larger, so it too some time before I could taste it properly.

The food was impressive, but I think 1/2 lb burgers are a bit excessive.  A fair price was charged for such portions, but garlic and sweet potato fries were at a hefty premium.  Consensus amongst our group is that the cilantro/jalapeno burger is the best.  I opted for the California, which was pretty good, but heavy on the guacamole.

We scored a patio table for 8 by getting there at 11:30, that place fills up over weekend lunch time.  By noon there was a line waiting for tables.

I would definitely go there again, but Livermore is far enough out there that I’d want to be coupling the bar visit with another event or two; the last visit was paired with a hike in Sycamore Grove.