Craft Beer Bar Hunting in NYC

Last week I make it very well known I was heading into NYC for a little anniversary celebration with my wife.  We stopped over at my parents house thursday night to drop off some Seppuku and our pup and then headed in Friday morning.  Heading up to our hotel in nearly 100 degree weather was less than fun, but thankfully we made it there and our room was ready ahead of time.  We ate a quick bite in Grand Central, but I saw a shop with some scotch bottles in it as we were leaving.  Curious to see if I could gain some info on some craft beer places, I went in and talked to the manager.  Turns out two doors down was a store with some craft beer.  A lot of the bottles seemed a little over priced, but I gained some intel on a few bars to check out. We then set out to try to find tickets for the Newsies on Broadway.  That would be one of my wife’s major reasons for heading to NYC for our celebration.  After coughing up some money for those tickets, I was of course ready to get to one of the places I was recommended.

Rattle N’ Hum – We headed down around 3:30 on Friday to catch a beer or two and the Germany vs Greece game.  When we got there it was a little busy because of the soccer game, but a few of the seats cleared out at just the right time.  Thankfully I finally started to use my Untapped app to keep track of everything I drank over the weekend.  I saw that they had Green Flash Palate Wrecker on cask, which I had never had before, so I decided to give it a try.  It was a really good beer, but I shouldn’t have gone with anything on cask after walking down there in that terrible heat.  I noticed a few interesting things about the bar while enjoying my first beer.  First they only have women working there.  That isn’t a terrible thing, but I tend to always try to picture working in a bar like this if I moved to a new city.  Needless to say it was pretty hard here.  Secondly, they had some good beer on tap, but they really don’t advertise their bottles very much.  I had to ask to see a bottle list, and they were pretty highly priced.  Finally, they put out a brand new menu for their taps while I was there.  I kind of like that idea.  They keep you up to date really easily with what’s available real fast.  Following the Palate Wrecker, I split a sampler with my wife.  She really likes Framboise, so I got her that and the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier in the hopes that she would like it.  I had the Sixpoint Otis stout and the Wandering Star Bert’s Disqualified Imperial Stout.  Wandering Star was the clear victor.  Trying to finish on a lighter summery note, I went with the Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere which is their saison.  It was quite good, and it was the perfect end to watching Germany kick Greece’s butt.

The Ginger Man – We ventured out to another one of the craft beer bar suggestions after our dinner on Friday night.  Being given three suggestions for bars, I wanted to try to make it to all of them.  Walking into the Ginger Man, it was clear that this bar was slightly more of a fancy craft beer bar.  Rattle N’ Hum had a little more of a hole-in-the-wall feel.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like both types of bar; however, this one had me slightly worried it would be a little bit pricier too.  Although it was slightly harder to get to the bar, I was glad that it wasn’t too expensive.  We found a couple stools near the back of the restaurant, and I bellied up to the bar for my first pick.  I went with Hoptical Illusion out of Blue Point Brewing Co.  I really wanted to do something local, and I had a really good black ipa from them last winter.  We sat back and I enjoyed my beer while debating another tough decision.  This bar does something very different as well; they will put together a six pack of their beers for you to take home.  You also get a 15% discount off a six pack you put together.  Thus, I was really considering getting a collection together here.  I went back up to pick up one more beer; however, they didn’t have my next selection.  Being put on the spot for a quick next pick, I decided to go with a brewery I had never had before.  I got a Belgian style pale ale from White Birch Brewing Co.  It was a great summery end to the evening.  I could have hung around a little longer, but it was clear my wife was more than ready to go.  Still unsure of a complete six pack, and they were really busy, I decided to forgo it and see if I could get back there later.

Wine:30 – Saturday night after attending the theater I wanted to get out to another bar I was told about: Cannibal.  It sounded like a really cool place, but we didn’t get there till after 11 and their kitchen was closed.  So we walked around the corner to this little place for some food and drinks with a friend who was also in the city.  They only had a handful off beers; however, they were all craft beers.  We ordered some meat and cheese, dips, and some awesome beef sausage lollipops wrapped in red pepper.  The first one I picked up was from one of their three different tap offerings.  I’m not sure which beer from them it was, but it was from Brasserie d’Achouffe.  It was nice for a warm night.  After that I decided to go with a Saison Dupont for a nice summery beer. We tried to head back to Cannibal, but they evidently close at 11:30 every night.  Thus we went back for a couple at Rattle N’ Hum.  The two beers I got there were Sneaky Pete from Laughing Dog and Merry Monk’s Ale from Weyerbacher.  These two are available in my area, but I had never had them.

I’m sure there were a lot of other great bars to get too; however, I only had so much time to get around.  Hopefully I get to visit a few more at some point.  If you happen to be in NYC, you should definitely check these few bars out.  I did get a brewery visit in, which I’ll post about tomorrow, and I have a little something to say about finding bottle stores as well.  Keep checking back for those posts the rest of this week.

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4 Comments

  1. Awesome trip. I agree with your descriptions of RnH and TGM. I like RnH a little more – nice beer, that hole-in-the-wall feel, rock music playing. TGM is definitely more “up-scale” than that. I just wish you still could smoke cigars in the back.

    There are so many good beer bars in NYC it’s scary. I’ve been going up there for longer than I care to admit, and I know of a couple I’ve never gotten to. Heck I only just stepped into RnH for the first time about a year ago.

    I really want to hear what you found on the bottle front. That’s something I’ve never really explored. You can get beers in the food stores in the city, but I’ve never found a place that has a great, focused bottle selection.

    Glad you and your wife had a great time! Congrats!

  2. Remember how we met that beer reviewer for the NYTimes!?!? BahahahahaHA…what a punk….


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