In January 2009 the longtime Bow Street Inn went through a dramatic transformation to become The Ale House Inn, an homage to the building's history as an 1880s brewery warehouse. Innkeeper Doug Palardy emphasizes that they are not a B&B, even though the Ale House often get labeled as such. Rather, Palardy, who owns the establishment with his husband, Daniel Innis (Dean of the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire), prefers to encourage guests to try the many great restaurants in Portsmouth, while the partners concentrate on the accommodation end of things.
When the couple bought the inn in 2008, it needed major renovations. “Let’s just say the property was very stressed and in dire need of improvement from top to bottom,” Palardy says. “We did a gut rehab: new bathrooms, paint, furniture, carpeting. We didn’t keep anything except the physical walls.” Although the brick warehouse building dates to the Victorian era, there’s nothing Victorian about the renovated space, however. The décor is sleek and muted, with flat-screen Vizio TVs, iPod docking stations, and iPads in every room (“We love Apple products,” says Palardy. “We thought, wouldn’t this be a great amenity to have in the room? It keeps people connected”), along with coffee makers and fridges.
Other amenities include access to a local health club – though you can also get your exercise riding one of the Trek bicycles the inn offers. When there’s a show at the nearby Seacoast Repertory Theatre (Caberet is opening at the end of the month), the room comes with a pair of complimentary tickets. Given the prime downtown location, walking is the best and most enjoyable way to get around, so you can park your car (free) and enjoy Portsmouth. Rates range from about $140 to $300, depending on the room and the season.