Our Critics' Picks


Congregation Ale House

300 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Congregation, which is part of a mini chain of beer bars with other “chapters” in Azusa and Long Beach, has a church theme; but it’s done with just enough tongue-in-cheekiness it bypasses blasphemy and becomes nothing more than good-natured satire. A “collection plate” next to the register is actually the tip jar. Happy Hours are called “Mass,” with a late-night one called “Midnight Mass.” But if it’s water you want, you get it yourself at a “Holy Water” station. Religious kidding aside, Congregation is all business everywhere else. It’s downright liturgical in charging only $7 to $8 for the holy trinity of foods that go well with beer: sausage sandwiches, burgers and pizza. This place understands that people who are willing to queue up to order food in a bar like this aren’t interested in anything fancier than what they can hold in their hands or eat with their fingers.

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