Aces & Ales – Tenaya
Pretzels – Bavarian style, beer cheese, queso, spicy grain mustard
Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds – White Cheddar, Beer Batter, Hot Sauce, Bleu Cheese, Ranch
Margherita Pizza – Homemade sauce, olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, roma tomatoes, parmesan, fresh basil, half pepperoni
House Mac n’ Cheese – Sweet Cream, Blend of Cheeses, Topped with Parmesan and Breadcrumb Crust
Green Apple, Bacon, Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Arrogant Bastard Onion Rings
The Cookie Thing – Chocolate Chip stout cookie, chunks of chocolate, stout reduction, vanilla ice cream
Having found myself quite impressed by Born And Raised with a subsequent visit to Naked City Pizza Shop showing nearly as well it was with only modest ‘bar food’ skepticism that I agreed to a friend’s suggestion to visit Aces & Ales on North Tenaya for some Saturday Night playoff action – a game-tying goal with 7-seconds on the clock and an OT-Win for the Kings pairing with surprisingly good food and a relaxed atmosphere for a nice change of pace. Large in size and seemingly crafted from an old barn with comfortable communal seating amidst the glow of two-dozen televisions and gentle fluorescent lights it was mere moments after entrance that we were greeted by our young waitress and although not much help on the enormous beer list her service proved competent, each of six plates and six beers brought with good pacing and wide-smiles as water glasses continually brimmed full. Unable to speak to the beer flight but impressed by the $12 tab it was with bar-food-staple soft pretzels alongside squeaky curds that we began and with both golden bites proving plenty salty it was the sauces that served as game-changers – the funky bleu, beer cheese, and queso all remarkable. Moving next to things more substantial it was to a truly cheesy trio that we were next treated and although the pizza could have tolerated a few more minutes in the oven to firm up the crust I was more than impressed by the ingredient quality across the board – bright Romas and fresh basil on the pie while crisp bacon and snappy apples graced the toasty sandwich, a skillet of tender macaroni under a blend of cream, cheese, and breadcrumbs rounding out the troika. Never one to end a good meal without something sweet it was last but not least that we rounded out the evening with a steamy skillet cookie riddled with chocolate chips and eating more as a pudding than a cookie beneath Blue Bell Vanilla as Gaborik ended the game I couldn’t help but smile…they just don’t do sports bars like this back in Ohio.
THREE STARS: Featuring a more than competent kitchen, tremendous beer list, and more TVs than one could possibly need in a cleanly environment I rather wish Aces & Ales would nix the Jukebox and offer the play-by-play but with that small quibble and the server’s lack of encyclopedic beer knowledge aside it would be hard to argue against Aces & Ales as a great place to catch the game, though for those living south or central I’d still lean towards Born and Raised.
RECOMMENDED: Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Cheese, Cheese Curds.
AVOID: Onion rings were oily and Pizza could have used a few more degrees or a few more minutes in the oven.
TIP: Featuring communal seating, bar-side gambling, and touch tunes there is more than just sports and beer on tap at Aces & Ales but like most venues in the Valley this place is 21+ only.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor