Is It Any Good?

German Brew and Sausages, and a…Church-like…theme (no, seriously) in Pasadena.

Congregation Ale House on Urbanspoon
Congregation Ale House Pasadena on Foodio54

There are a lot of theme restaurants that pop up now and again. Once, a long time ago, a Vietnamese place called Halong Bay decided to model itself after an olde French Colonial Villa. Worked too. It was a lovely place. Too bad the food wasn’t better.

You can find all manner of theme restaurants here and there. A restaurant bar modeled after a Church, well…that’s a new one.

Let’s first, be fair to Congregation Ale House Chapters. It’s not really modeling itself after a Church. You aren’t drinking Beers from the Pews or having Whiskey Shooters form the Pulpit. No, there is a long history of some European Abbeys, where Monks used to hang out, and make their own beer. If you want to be full, historically accurate, that’s really what Congregation is doing here. It’s not sacrilegious in the least.

Still, it’s a strange vibe, but a popular if one’s eyes are to be believ–

Sorry, my arm just got jostled.  There are a mess of people in here, so…yeah, it’s kinda to be believed.

You walk in the front door, and hang a right and that’ll put you at the Cash Register. You order first, your beer, your sausages, everything. Then you sit down, if you can find a place to sit down (it will be crowded), and chaw away.

There’s a wee bit of Sports Bar in Congregation’s DNA, and…that’s mostly okay. Those looking for a quick hit of the Brew on a Saturday Afternoon with friends or alone will find plenty to like. Those looking to bring a date out on a Saturday Night should probably look elsewhere.

But you know what? [BLEEP] that. It’s comfortable. You’ll like it here. Granted, it’s not setting the gastronomic world on fire. It’s never even in it’s wildest dreams going to supplant a place like Wurstkuche or even the new Picnik in Pasadena, but it’s fun. It’s Beer and Sausages, so of course it’s going to be fun. Plus with as many Beers as they have on Tap, you can spend visit after visit just narrowing down what’s your favorite that way.

C’mon on in. Let the good times roll. It’s not a bad place, but…there are better.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I started off with the Duck & Bacon Sausage, which was pretty good. It didn’t leap out at me like Wurstkuche, but, still not bad. I’d have it again.

Alongside that, I went with the Belgian Style Fries. Again, lovely presentation. Perfect preparation. You got a nice amount, no complaints there. I just had better is all. It may not be fair to compare one restaurants fries to another restaurant’s fries, but…that’s what we all do. In the end, these fries aren’t bad, but…they only go so far.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just bear in mind that any given time, that it’s going to be crowded. Crowded and loud. They do take some manner of reservations (I saw reserved tables in the back). But yeah, the main safety tip is crowded and loud.

There are T.V.s so you can watch the game, if that’s you inclination.

Also, I think their Website is more than a bit clunky and…odd to use.  So no, you’re not alone.


PARKING: A little deceptive. Congregation has got it’s own lot (which is shares with the adjoined Office Complex next door). There should be plenty of spaces at any given time, but that’s usually not the way it works out. Basically, finding a space might be like hitting the right lotto number.

Failing that, try Raymond Avenue. You might be able to find some Street/Metered Parking along there. Be prepared to walk a bit. Like a half a block or so.

Also, be careful. It’s a high traffic area around there. If you have to cross the street, keep your head on a swivel.


Congregation Ale House Chapters (Pasadena)
300 S. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tel: (626) 403-2337

Monday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 2:00 am
Sunday: 11:00 am – 12:00 am