Rose Alley Ale House

by Noah Griffith

Hear me RAAH!!!! Yes, it’s been known to happen, especially when its beer time, and especially when I’m at Rose Alley Ale House.  Home to over 70 delicious brews, a variety of different spirits, and a tiny kitchen that pumps out some serious pub grub, this great little establishment is making a BIG impact on New Bedford. I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Jay Lanagan, one of the owners of Rose Alley Ale House (RAAH), to find out the things you and I don’t know about RAAH.

So Jay, how long has RAAH been open for?
A few years now.  

How many owners does Rose Alley have?  How did you all meet?
There are five owners total, and some of us have known each other since kindergarten and others since high school.

rose alley ale house new bedford guideThat’s longer than I imagined.  You guys must have lots of fun working together. What was the idea behind opening up RAAH?
The basic idea was to get in on what we thought was the ground floor by opening a business in downtown New Bedford that complimented the other businesses around it.  The main goal is always to do the best job we can.

Well it seems like you are doing that so far.  What did you hope to bring to downtown New Bedford when you started putting RAAH into motion?
We wanted to have another venue for residents and tourist alike to enjoy when they spend their time in New Bedford.  

rose alley renovations new bedford guide
Rose Alley Ale House during renovations.

The building in which RAAH is located was previously called the Cultivator Club, and looked much different than it does now.  What was the process like for transforming the building into what we see today?
We did a lot of work.  Looking back, we were probably in over our heads, but we stayed committed and focused and fought to get the doors open.

Back to the kitchen.  What kind of food does RAAH have?
We have wings, burgers, salads, wraps, fries, entrees, and every so often we have a GOURMET BEER DINNER. 

Yes, that’s right.  You just had a Mayflower Beer Pairing Dinner. What’s your best selling food item?
Buffalo wings, and our burgers.  You have GOT to try one of our burgers.

What kind of regular specials does RAAH have?
We have a great chicken wing specials during football season.  We also have all-you-can-eat boneless chicken for $5.99.  

Has the change in the economy had any effect in RAAH’s business?
Of course we all share the discouragement of the recession, but we have learned from it and we are all having fun working through it.

beers rose alley new bedford guide
Some of the beers on tap at Rose Alley Ale House.

How many Beers does RAAH offer on draft and bottle?
All-in-all we have 38 beers on tap and I don’t even think I can start to count the number of beers we have in bottles: I think there’s usually between 36-40, but we are always changing it up and adding new beers to the list.

What is the Mug Club?
The Mug Club only happens once a year during the month of February.  An individual has to drink 28 beers a specific list (made by Rose Alley) in the 28 days that make up February.   So one beer a day and you’re good.                

What is the fastest time that someone has finished the list in?
That would have been this year and it was too fast: We are getting ready for next year to make a institute a, ‘maximum beers allowed in one day’ rule.  It’s really for the safety of the individual.  The beers that we carry here classified as micro brews (smaller breweries) and have more alcohol than your average Bud or Miller Lite, sometimes even double the percentage, so we don’t want anyone overdoing it.

What are the benefits of being part of the Mug Club?
Personalized RAAH gear, a hand-blown 25 ounce glass mug, made by local artisans at the New Bedford Antique Glass Museum near the Wamsutta Mills.  Everyone who finishes all 28 beers gets their own glass.  The glass stays at Rose Alley and they can use when they come in for a drink.  This lasts for the entire year until the next Beer Summit, where they can then take home their old mug and sign up to get a new one.  And yes, if someone wants a new mug they must drink a whole 28 more beers in 28 days. 

new bedford guide rose alleyWas this year any different than last year?
Yes.  We doubled the success rate for those participating, so congratulations to everyone who finished. 

Do you have any big events coming up this spring?
There’s a lot going on in the city this summer and we are going to be part of most of it, if not all of it.   

Okay, last question… What’s going on in Plymouth?  There is a buzz around town that you may have another project going on there.
We’ve been exploring the idea of a Plymouth restaurant, but we need to make sure it is the right fit of the people in the building, the people in the neighborhood, and for us.  It is a lot of responsibility.  

Alright Jay, thanks for taking the time to sit down with me.  I’ll let you get back to work.

The Rose Alley Ale House is located at 94 Front Street New Bedford,on the corner of Rose Alley and Front Street in historic downtown New Bedford. It is open seven days a Week, from 11:30am to 2:00am.  Their phone number is (508) 858-5123, and you can also find them on Facebook.

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