Ale House Inn
What We Love
- Free bottles of beer from Smuttynose Brewery upon arrival
- Museums, restaurants, boutiques, cafés and a riverfront park are all just steps away
- Free parking and use of the hotel’s Trek bicycles to ride around town
What To Know
- Located on the Piscataqua River; some rooms have views of the water or the Old Harbor
- Bathrooms have tub-shower combos
- There’s no restaurant on site, but snacks such as apples, pretzels, popcorn and Goldfish crackers are available in the lobby
- No fitness room, but guests get 40 percent off at the Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club, which is a 15- to 20-minute car ride away
- Eco friendly
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Around the corner from a nondescript entranceway there’s an elevator that brings travelers to the second floor of 121 Bow Street, where a vintage lightblub sign spells “A-L-E,” a clever nod to the building’s former incarnation as a keg storage facility for the Portsmouth Brewing Company. And in spite of occupying a handsome 19th-century warehouse with exposed brick walls, framed antique maps and a collection of old-fashioned beer bottles, the Ale House doesn’t feel the slightest bit dated.
Bed & Bath
Tasteful nautical artworks and a serene blue-gray palette in the light and airy guestrooms evoke the sea coast, while potted bamboo plants and marigold-colored throw pillows add a splash of color. The desks are big enough for a laptop, and every room has an armchair or loveseat. The bathrooms, although on the small side, have Harbor Linen cotton towels and 100 percent vegan bath products from Lather, such as a mint-thyme hair wash and a lavender-lime moisturizer.
The Ale House shares its home with the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, and with advance notice you can usually score some free tickets. Although there’s no on-site restaurant, the lobby has a few snacks such as apples, pretzels, popcorn and Goldfish crackers. Or plan ahead and order a box of decadent chocolate truffles (think bacon-maple and stout beer) from Kilwins to await your arrival. Guests also enjoy a discount on excursions aboard the Piscataqua, a reproduction of a flat-bottomed gundalow river barge.
In the Area
It’s hard to imagine a place more walkable — or bikable — than Portsmouth. When hunger strikes, follow Bow Street down to the Old Harbor and choose from more than half a dozen restaurants serving steak and seafood, all with views of the red tugboats that handle the city’s river traffic. For more indulgence, drop in on Annabelle’s for a scoop of Maple Walnut, Triple Chocolate or Peachy Peach ice cream. But here it’s all about the suds — don’t miss the chance to sample one of the inventive beers on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s oldest brewpub. And if shopping’s your thing, flex that plastic at Ganesh Imports, N.W. Barrett Gallery or Market Square Jewelers. History buffs should spend a little time at the Strawberry Banke Museum, the state’s premier American history museum.
How to Get There
This is a relatively small place tucked into the middle level of a mixed residential/commercial building near the water. It consists of a small sitting room with a fireplace and an endless supply of cold brew draft coffee (served hot). From our room on the end, you could see the harbor, but I'm guessing this isn't true for all rooms. Everyone who works here is wildly friendly and a source of great recommendations (e.g., happy hour at Franklin oysters, Portsmouth Brewery and Moxy). They offer convenient parking across the street. Everything is clean and updated. We'll definitely stay here again.
My sister's Portsmouth home was full of relatives for Thanksgiving, so my husband and I reserved a room here for the night. We found it to be an excellent alternative to the chain hotels. The ambience is laid back yet professional- a bit of urban chic. The room is small and cozy with all you might need: a fantastic mattress (!) which is not always the case when away from home, a fridge, a t.v., a tiny bathroom. The excellent nitro coffee in the morning dispenses through beer draft levers which brings home the experience of the "ale house." We loved it and will stay again if ever the family nest is full. We were told that it's often used as an "extra bedroom," and we highly recommend it.
Ale House Inn was the perfect location in Portsmouth for our anniversary get away. Quiet, comfy room, great staff. Easy walk to all of our favorite places for food, brews, and music. Fresh coffee on tap, literally, in the lobby whenever you need a cup.
I don't really want to tell anyone what a hidden treasure this place is! Would love to keep it a secret. We'll definitely be back.
Overall, we enjoyed our 2-night stay at the Ale House Inn. The Inn is located in a very convenient location and is walking distance to all of the area shops and restaurants.
Upon arrival at the Inn, you enter into the common space which is very nicely decorated and has both hot and iced coffee on tap, snack baskets, bottled water, and a fire place. It would be a very cozy spot to relax in in the evening with a book or a glass of wine - we didn't have time to but wish we did!
We stayed in a Queen room and we found the size very comfortable. Unfortunately, there are no views from the rooms (we looked out onto the roof of another building) but the Queen room was adequate with a refrigerator/freezer, bottled water, TV, and full bath. I am an "unpacker" and struggle living out of my suitcase so did find the room lacking in storage but, as most stays here are short, this probably wouldn't bother most.
The Inn was very quiet and very well managed by Craig who is so helpful! He provided everything we asked for including recommendations for dining and activities, a toothbrush when my husband realized he forgot his, and even coins for the meters outside when we had to move our car to make sure we weren't in the church lot during the posted times!
Our only complaints about our stay were the bed and the temperature. The mattress in our room was very saggy and old - it had no support at all and was very clearly in need of replacement. We definitely woke up with back aches both mornings! Additionally, you cannot control the temperature of the AC in your room (can only control heat) and we found our room too warm. The AC was broken our first night so we understood that night but it was fixed by morning and we still found the room too warm our second night.
Overall, a pleasant stay for a short trip and we would recommend it to those looking to stay in the area.
Staying here in the unusual Inn which formed part of an old brewery. Rooms are nicely furnished and Craig, the Manager, has been really helpful with suggestions for breakfast and dinner in the evenings. There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room, but in the small entrance lounge it is possible to obtain this, plus bottled water and a few nibbles to stop any hunger pangs. There is also an iPad which has been thoughtfully provided. There is a fridge, with freezer section and TV plus bottled water. The bathrooms are small, but adequate.
Bikes are also available for use by guests.
There is a small theatre underneath the Ale House which we have yet to investigate.
There are about 12 steps outside the entrance which could be difficult to negotiate with a large suitcase.
The Ale House is within a few minutes walk of a good selection of restaurants and shops, and also Portsmouth Harbour Cruise Company.