FOOD AND DRINK
Bar Hop: A Tour of New York's Beer Bars
Although New York has a rep for being slightly behind the times when it comes to cask-conditioned ale, the scene has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. This development augments Manhattan’s many excellent bars that specialized in hop-heavy craft beer and amazing European imports, making the island a beer-lover’s paradise. No list can be definitive in this great city, but this is a good start:
Nestled in the East Village, Jimmy’s 43 is more than just a beer bar, it’s practically a clubhouse for beer lovers. This is thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of Jimmy Carbone, the beer-loving owner who hosts innumerable events out of this cozy lower-level bar that’s widely-known for its awesome selection, elevated comfort food, and friendly vibe.
43 East 7th Street, 212-982-3006
Practically the original New York craft beer bar, the Blind Tiger in the West Village has a strong, loyal following of hop maniacs, some of whom still mourn the loss of this bar’s original location on Hudson back before a Starbuck’s moved in on the space. It had a little more character back then and a liquor license that allowed them to make the world’s best Bloody Mary, but times change and the new Blind Tiger is still a total gem.
281 Bleecker Street, 212-462-4683
New kid on the block, Fool’s Gold, isn’t really a novice, since it’s brought to us by the same people who did Alewife, a Long Island City beer bar that won accolades for its beer selection. The new Manhattan venture promises to get just as much buzz for its jaw-dropping American whiskey selection and extraordinarily tempting buck-a-shuck happy hours.
145 East Houston Street, 212-673-2337
When beer nerds truly want to go “full geek,” they hit the tiny and eccentric Proletariat in the East Village. There, they sidle up to the 10-seat bar and set about sampling the collection of rare and esoteric beers, all the while indulging in gourmet pretzels and stylized bar staples.
102 St. Marks Place, 212-777-6707
Birreria is practically a twofer, since the rooftop beer garden (open year-round thanks to a retractable roof) boasts a lovely view of the Flatiron building. It’s part of the Mario Batali Eataly complex and has some excellent signature cask ale options made specifically for the venue by Dogfish Head and two Italian brewers known for food-friendly and esoteric samplings.
Rooftop, 200 5th Avenue, 212-937-8910
The spacious Randolph Beer in Little Italy has managed to invent a new hybrid tradition – the American beer hall. With selectively sourced Americana, 36 craft beers on tap to choose from, and a drool-worthy long wooden bar, the concept is destined to take off.
343 Broome Street, 646-383-3623
Rattle n’ Hum
Seriously devoted to micro-brews, Murray Hill’s Rattle n’ Hum could be the quintessential cluttered Irish-American bar. Thoroughly unpretentious, decent food, and a fairly lively atmosphere, this craft beer bar scores a lot of points in a few different categories.
14 East 33rd Street, 212-481-1586
The Jeffrey is a relative newcomer to the beer scene in New York but, with its exceptionally obliging service and well-rounded selection of craft coffee, cocktails, great organic wines and, of course, an eclectic selection of excellent beer, it’s making up for lost time quickly. As an added bonus, you can catch a glimpse of the Roosevelt Island tram as you head in, since it’s located at the Triboro bridge on the Upper East Side.
311 East 60th Street, 212-355-2337