A Downtown Sports Bar Goes Upscale

Getting the inside scoop at Hanley's Ale House & Cigar Bar


Julia Shackleton is working towards a degree in political science with a minor in environmental science at Gettysburg College in PA. Before she leaves for Shanghai for an internship at a law firm, she’ll be pouring at Hanley’s Ale House & Cigar Bar.

Do you have a signature drink?
I actually came up with the “Beach Pass” - Citron vodka, St. Germain liquor, topped off with ruby red grapefruit, garnished with lemon and a sugar rim.

What is Hanley’s Ale House?
Hanley’s is a traditional sports bar serving 74 bottled beers and 12 on tap. Over 30 televisions are on display featuring any game you’d want to watch. Guests can enjoy $0.25 wings and half priced appetizers during any game. You’ll find business professionals here on their lunch break, tourists and locals alike. There’s always entertainment from DJs to karaoke - Erica Van Pelt, American Idol finalist, hosts karaoke every Tuesday night at 9pm.

Who is Hanley?
This building was originally owned by James Hanley, one of the famous names in New England’s ale history, who operated the James Hanley Brewing Company within these four walls until it was bought out by Narragansett Brewing Company in 1957. Hanley’s Ale House is a tribute to the original brewery that was here.

What can you order besides wings during games?
Our menu is pub style with a twist. We make the best burgers and calzones, but we also offer healthier options so it really appeals to a wide demographic. Definitely try the Homemade Garlic Hummus with warm pita and assorted fresh veggies. Salad eaters will love our Grilled Romaine Salad - fresh romaine lightly brushed with EVOO, grilled to perfection and then topped with crumbled gorgonzola, fresh cherry tomatoes, garlic croutons and grilled chicken served with our homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

What’s one drink a guy should never be caught drinking at a sports bar?
Sour Apple Martini – definitely don’t order that.

Any special beers you recommend?
Order a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout with Wells Banana Bread Beer; it tastes just like chocolate banana bread. Try a Black & Blue - Wachusett Blueberry layered with Guinness. You can’t go wrong with an Old Speckled Hen, Orval or Smuttynose.

How about cocktails?
Order any drink that has lemon, lime or orange in it. Here, we use freshly squeezed juices. You can taste the difference in your cocktail. It’s fresher and rejuvenating. We serve some really cool martinis including a Rita Tini – margarita meets martini featuring freshly made in-house sour mix.

What’s happening in the Cigar Bar?
It’s a very cozy area featuring boutique cigars, higher-end scotches and a robust wine selection. There’s a walk-in humidor, high ceilings and plenty of smoke eaters and air fresheners. We don’t charge a cigar-cutting fee. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of golf.

What’s your advice to bartenders just staring out?
Try everything and don’t be afraid of learning new drinks. Don’t be nervous behind the bar. Be yourself. You’ll end up learning. I’ve learned so much in the past two months just by talking to people.

What about bartending really surprised you?
Pouring a Guinness is completely different from pouring other beers. With Guinness, you have to pour it in such a way that a cascading effect occurs. It must always be served in a specifically shaped pint glass; the glass helps guide the nitrogen bubbles back up to create that creamy flavor. It takes about two minutes to pour a Guinness while I can pour a Bud Light in at a 45-degree angle in 30 seconds.