Located at 5340 West Market Street in Greensboro, Cooper’s Ale House offers appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrees. There are daily drink specials and occasional live entertainment.
“Neighborhood sports bar” suggests a comfortably small, dark watering hole to which regulars flock to eat wings and drink beer while watching a game on one of a seemingly infinite number of televisions. At first glance, Cooper’s Ale House seems to fit this conception to a T: it is dark, wings are available, and there are many, many TVs. But looks can be deceiving, and though Cooper’s fulfills its core purpose, it also offers more than that.
Case in point: Cooper’s is deceptively large. There are multiple seating areas and space for plenty. The menu is also surprisingly varied (both in terms of food and beer). You will find the bar food staples – wings, burgers, etc. – but you can also find shrimp n grits and glazed salmon. Sometimes, these reaches backfire, but thankfully, this was not the case.
For our first visit, my companion and I started with an order of soft pretzels. They came out piping hot and well-salted, and the accompanying mustard had a nice kick. Taking a gamble, I opted to follow up with Cajun seafood pasta. It proved to be a pleasant surprise. The sauce had the right flavor profile, and there were plenty of shrimp and crawfish pieces mixed in. My companion went with fish n chips and found it to be one of the better versions in the Triad. The batter was crispy, the fish inside was flaky and salty (though not overwhelmingly so), and the fish-to-batter ratio was more than acceptable. A side of fries was well-seasoned, but the coleslaw struck out.
Neither pricing nor service disappointed. Our entrees were in the $10-$13 range, a better deal than comparable dishes served elsewhere. The food came from the kitchen fairly quickly, and our server was friendly and helpful throughout, though she did disappear for a while as the establishment got busier.
With its dark and dated decor, nobody will confuse Cooper’s with being trendy. But as overpriced failures of more recent vintage have shown, the tried and true often wins the day. And when that tried and true manages to offer a few additional perks (in this case, better-than-expected food), that’s all the more reason to stand pat.