ITHACA, N.Y.—The Ithaca Ale House celebrated its official reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 16, 2021. Members of downtown Ithaca were in attendance, including Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA), on behalf of Mayor Svante Myrick who could not attend.

The move from the Ale House’s prior location on Restaurant Row was announced in July 2018 and intended to happen when construction on the City Centre building on the corner of East State Street and Aurora Street was completed in early summer 2019. The move did not happen upon City Centre completion and was further delayed due to COVID-19, finally opening its doors to the public at the beginning of Dec. 2021.

“This is a great opportunity to celebrate this business that has made quite an impression on this community over the years,” Ferguson said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This has been a work in progress […] yet you persevered, you’re here and it’s a gorgeous place. Not only do you have indoor but you’ve got outdoor, and what you have put together here is a great testament to your persistence and hard work and the efforts of all your people.”

The Ale House has been serving the Ithaca area since it first opened its doors in May 2006 and celebrated its 15th birthday this past May.

“We’re definitely glad to be in this new location, excited for the future […] It’s a long time coming, but this group of people I have right here have been with me for a long, long time,” owner John O’Leary said. “We’ve felt the stress and urgency and without them I wouldn’t be here. But we’re open now, so get in here.”

Others noted that having another business open in the downtown corridor would be a welcome addition, especially since the Ale House had been closed for several weeks as the move to the new location was prepped.

“I can’t emphasize enough what a cornerstone, especially of the night economy, the Ale House has been over the years,” said Ashley Cake, DIA president and the co-owner of The Watershed. “It is such an important restaurant and bar that makes our nightlife so much more vibrant and we are so happy to have it back and better than ever.”

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at