When we left around 9:00, happy hour was still going strong in the bar, though the patio crowd had packed up and gone home.

Bottom line The valet sat, waiting outside — a reminder that The Ale House staff wants you to sit back, relax and enjoy your evening from start to finish. Take them up on it.

Televisions: Numerous; visible from dining room and bar

Where: 6480 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia

The Ale House

Back story: Opened last December in Columbia, The Ale House is a new addition to the Oliver Breweries family (sister restaurants include Pratt Street Ale House in downtown Baltimore and Marleys Island Grille in Hilton Head). The Ale House specializes in beer-friendly meals, well-trained service and an atmosphere that feels like a never-ending happy hour.

Parking: Lot in front

Signature dish: The jalapeno-cilantro mussels at The Ale House are plump and juicy, with a fragrant broth that's neatly balanced between spicy, salty and fresh.

Contact: 443-546-3640; http://www.thealehousecolumbia.com

Open: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday; 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday (Kitchen closes at midnight; Brunch served on Saturday and Sunday)

Credit Cards: All major

Rating: 2.5 stars

Reservations: Accepted

[Key: Superlative: 5 stars; Excellent: 4 stars; Very Good:3 stars; Good:2 stars; Promising:1 star]