best beer in
NEW YORK &
Brewtopia Events LLC
Posted - January 2004
I love traveling to a city and visiting the best brewpubs and beer bars there -- especially if I can move from place to place by foot or public transportation. What better place to do this than in New York and Brooklyn? The "Big Apple" has a multitude of fine establishments that offer good beer, and the only problem is finding enough time to visit all these places. This page will help you make the most of your beer journey to New York by listing all the top beer spots in the city and breaking them down into zones. You can reach each location in a zone easily by foot, taxi, and/or subway. For efficient pub crawling, I would recommend mapping out each location at Mapquest.com and printing out maps of each zone. New York is safe, enjoyable, filled with great museums and tourist destinations, and all the pubs (as of 2002) are now NON-SMOKING (let's hear it for being able to actually enjoy the aroma of your beer)!
Photos and text by Owen Ogletree
Owen always welcomes your e-mail and input.
Upper West Side Manhattan
340 Amsterdam Ave.
This former brewpub is now a beer bar with a selection of 24 decent taps including selections from Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Brewing, Southampton Brewing, etc. The beautiful bar is made of dark woodwork and the food consists of pub grub, seafood, pizzas/pastas, and sandwiches. Westside is one of the best beer bars in the Upper West Side of Central Park area.
1394 York Ave. at 74th St.
Copperfield's is widely known as one of New York's best beer bars. They offer one cask ale (ask for a sample) and 30 taps that feature beers from Weyerbacher, Rogue, Southampton, Bear Republic, Smuttynose, Stone, and more. Kasteel Triple, Abbaye des Rocs, Boon Kriek, Rochefort, Westvleteren, and Aventinus were the standouts on the bottled beer list. If you are hungry, try their fish and chips, BBQ, salads, burgers, or sandwiches.
1648 Second Ave. (between 85th and 86th Streets)
This old, family run German restaurant is very authentic. It has delicious food and a decent selection of German beers.
Midtown Manhattan - South of Central Park
1285 Ave. of the Americas at 51st St.
This New York chain of brewpubs also has locations at 35 Union Square West, 127 West 43rd Street, and 93 South Street at Fulton. My favorite is the Avenue of the Americas location near Radio City Music Hall where Kelly Taylor is the brewer. Kelly cranks out some very clean craft brews like Cornhusker Lager (with midwestern malts and flaked maize), Harvest Wheat (mild and smooth American wheat beer), Red Rooster Ale (caramel malts), Indiana Pale Ale (resiny hop aroma and nice bitter flavor), Farmer John's Oatmeal Stout (GABF medal winner), and a rotating list list of three seasonals (including the powerful and tasty Full Moon Barleywine). Try the beer sampler that comes with five small pours of their house brews. The menu is outstanding brewpub fare with chicken, steaks, and seafood.
120 West 44th Street
This Scottish pub is located near some of the Broadway theaters close to Times Square. The interior has lovely decor and the wait staff all wear kilts. There are 80 bottled beers to choose from and 18 taps with an emphasis on fine ales from the UK. There is a long side bar that runs the length of the pub with front and back dining areas. Aye, here you'll find a wee bit of the highlands in Manhattan!
735 8th Ave. (near W. 48th Street)
Collins Bar is a fantastic beer bar that is popular with the local crowd. It has a very interesting, unusual beer selection with a wide range of microbrews and Belgian ales. The staff seems to be very knowledgeable about their beer menu as well. You'll find ten taps here and many fine bottles. This is a small bar with tables to the right and dart boards in the back.
5 Penn Plaza
Several blocks south of Times Square down 7th Avenue, you will find a delightful Irish Pub. Tir Na Nog has Chimay and Duvel in bottles and 22 draft handles with some fine wheat beers, Guinness, and their own Stout (made for them by Budweiser). There is a great pub menu available, and many sports fans eat here before or after games at Madison Square Garden located nearby.
11 E. 36th St. at Madison
Just a few blocks walk from Tir Na Nog is one of Manhattan's very best beer bars -- the Gingerman pub has around 60 draft beers and over 120 bottled beers from which to choose. When I visited in December of 2003, their most awe-inspiring beers were: Victory Hop Devil, Arrogant Bastard, Bigfoot Barleywine, Celebrator, Young's Chocolate Stout, DeKonick Winter, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, De Dolle Mad Bitch, Rochefort 8, Saison Dupont Moinet, Westvleteren 8, Fuller's Vintage Ale, World Wide Stout, Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, and Hair of the Dog Adam. Don't leave New York without a visit to the Gingerman!
More places to visit in this area if time permits:
Typhoon Brewery, 22 E. 54th Street, New York, ph: 212-754-9006
A brewpub that serves Thai food? You'd only find this in New York! Typhoon opens for dinner only and has a selection of light, house made beers to accompany their spicy entrees.
Hallo Berlin, 626 10th Ave. at 44th Street, New York, ph: 212-977-1944
This small German cafe/restaurant is very casual and has the best wurst in New York. There are a dozen taps here and a pretty impressive selection of German beers in bottles (Einbecker, Celebrator Double Bock, Aventinus, Berliner Weisse, etc.). The place was very quiet the night we visited and the wait staff was not in a very good mood.
Maggie's Place, 21 E. 47th Street at Madison Ave., New York, ph: 212-753-5757
Maggie's is an Irish pub and restaurant. Dinner reservations are recommended.
Artisanal, 32nd Street between Madison and Park Ave., New York, ph: 212-725-8585
Artisanal is a restaurant not known for its beer (although it does serve Leffe Belgian ale), but I am including it here because of its incredible selection of around 200 cheeses from around the world. Call for a reservation and stop in for a Leffe with some cheese samplers and a meal. Nothing goes better with beer than cheese.
Chelsea - West Side Waterfront Piers
Pier 59, Chelsea Piers
Chelsea brewpub is one of the very best beer destinations in Manhattan. This establishment is a really attractive brewpub and microbrewery located on the edge of downtown on the Hudson River with an enclosed golf driving range pointing out toward the water on a pier. It is part of a large entertainment and shopping complex that has been built on the old piers. Pictured above is head brewer Chris Sheehan who is very talented in turning out some flavorful beers that are served in their brewpub and distributed in kegs to many other bars in the area. Beers on tap in late 2003 included: Checker Cab Blonde (Kolsch style), Pier 59 Pale Ale (nice Cascade hop flavor), Sunset Red (Cascade and Centennial hops with four caramel malts), Tsar's Revenge (strong Imperial Stout), and Blackberry Wheat (wheat beer with a hint of blackberry extract).
South Central - East Side Manhattan
Waterfront Ale House
540 2nd Ave.
Waterfront is a respected beer bar with 18 interesting taps from Brooklyn, Anchor, Weyerbacher, Dogfish Head, etc., and almost 65 bottles with some flavorful strong ales and Belgian selections. There is a popcorn machine, and food specials are listed on a chalkboard behind the bar (if you are hungry for something more substantial).
41 East 20th Street (near Park Ave. South)
This German-American restaurant features a very impressive selection of German, Belgian, and beers from the UK. German beers from Schneider, Ayinger, Erdinger, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, and Weihenstephan round out their list. This is an attractive place with a dining room in the back.
281 3rd Ave.
One of the most popular German restaurants in Manhattan is Rolf's. Call ahead to make a reservation, show up on time, and still be prepared for a wait. If you head to Rolf's around Christmas, be ready for a winter wonderland inside with every square foot decorated with lights and ornaments. The beer list includes some nice German lagers and wheat beers -- and be sure to try the potato pancakes (yummy). Food portions are huge.
41 E. 7th Street
New York's East Village
This is a pair of fantastic beer pubs that are next door to one another and owned by the same person. Brewsky's is the more typical bar that has some very atypical taps -- there are usually some really bold draft beer selections and a bottle list that goes on and on (with beers from Allagash, Chimay, Rochefort, J.W. Lees, Liefman's, Scaldis, Thomas Hardy, Corsendonk, and many more). Burp Castle is like an eccentric church shrine to great beer -- the walls are adorned with religious/historical murals and there is European choir music playing over the speakers. The bartenders at Burp Castle wear the garb of brewing monks from Belgium and pour beers from 12 taps that include some high end Belgian and European ales. The bottle list is the same for each pub. In reverence for the beer, loud conversation is not allowed in Burp Castle -- it is truly a religious experience for the beer lover!
41 1st Ave.
With locations in New York and New Orleans, d.b.a. is a name that is well known with beer aficionados. The New York location has some of the best maintained cask ales in the city (clean in flavor and served at the right temperature of 50 degrees F) and and a huge beer list on a series of chalkboards above the bar. The bartender was so busy on the night I arrived, I had to take a flash picture of her to get her attention (above). This is one of the greatest beer destinations in the city.
34 East 4th St.
Swift's pub has very good draft choices including some fine beers from Brooklyn Brewing. This is an attractive Scottish/Irish pub with murals and a big, dark wooden back room.
Micky's Blue Room
171 Ave. C (between 10th and 11th Streets)
Micky's is a small, friendly, neighborhood bar with baseball hats all over the blue walls. There are ten taps here that include Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, Beamish, and others. Bottled beer standouts include: Aventinus, Corsendonk, Chimay, Achouffe, and Duvel. There are dart boards, pool tables, and a killer juke box in the side bar. Happy hour runs Monday through Saturday until 9 pm and Sunday until 10 pm.
More places to visit in this area if time permits:
Pete's Tavern, 129 East 18th Street, New York, ph: 212-473-7676
This is the oldest original bar in New York city. Pete's has 16 standard beer taps, tasty menu items, and a load of history.
McSorley's Ale House, 15 East 7th Street, (212) 473-9148
Very famous old pub with their own dark and light contract brews on tap and sawdust all over the floor. The pub was founded around 1854.
Zum Schneider, 107 Ave. C (near 7th Street), (212) 598-1098
Great German restaurant and pub. Go early for dinner to avoid the crowds.
Croxley Ales, 28 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues), (212) 253-6140
Loreley, 17 Rivington St. (between Bowery and Chrystie Streets), (212) 253-7077
German beer garden and restaurant.
Prince Street Bar, 125 Prince Street, (212) 228-8130
Southwest Manhattan - Greenwich Village Area
Cafe des Bruxelles
118 Greenwich Ave.
This excellent Belgian restaurant has good mussels and many fine Belgian ales in authentic glassware. Cafe des Bruxelles is like a slice of Belgium in the heart of Greenwich Village.
White Horse Tavern
567 Hudson Street
Opened in the 1880's, the White Horse is definitely one of the oldest pubs in New York. The bar is right inside the front door and there are two dining rooms off to the left. This place has a friendly, comfortable feel about it; and there are 8 beer taps and around a dozen bottles to choose from. Pub menu is very standard.
Blind Tiger Ale House
518 Hudson Street at W. 10th St.
Please don't miss the Blind Tiger. It is a spartan pub with an old wooden bar and booths, but it is definitely a NYC beer legend. There are usually 25 excellent beers on draft and one cask ale. Taps in late December, 2003 included: Brooklyn Hefe-weisse, Heavyweight CinderBrrr, Winter DeKoninck, Magic Hat #9, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Arrogant Bastard, Heavyweight Old Salty, Southampton French Country Christmas Ale, Dogfish Head 60 Min. IPA, DeGroen's Weizenbock, among others. Great bottled beers like Rochefort, Sam Smith's, Allagash, and many Belgians are also available. Happy hour happens from noon to 8 pm.
Greenwich Brewing Company
418 6th Ave.
This was once a brewpub, but now their beers are contract brewed by Chelsea Brewing Company (see Chelsea's listing above). There are also around 20 usual bottled beers and 11 or so high-end bottles like Aventinus, Lindeman's, De Dolle, Duvel, and Sam Smith's. Food here is mostly pub fare with some grilled meats, burritos, fajitas, pizzas, and pastas.
466 Hudson Street
If you like authentic Belgian mussels and frites (Belgian fries), there is no better place in New York than this tiny restaurant in Greenwich Village. With only nine tables, it is fun, friendly, and cozy. Menu items like omelets, mussels, sandwiches, and salmon are sure to please. They have no draft beer, but the bottled selections include Chimay, DeKoninck, Duvel and Corsendonk.
86 Bedford Street
Finding this former "speakeasy" pub takes a bit of effort as there are no external signs for Chumbley's. Look for the small doorway (pictured above) off Bedford (a small side street) in the West Village. This old bar is loaded with history and personality -- and is quite dog friendly. There are eight house beers made by Chelsea Brewing Company -- Bitter, Stout, Lager, Pilsner, Wheat, Irish Red, etc.
145 Bleecker Street
This is a very old pub in Soho with a loyal clientele and very decent draft and bottle selection. There are 25 beers on tap at Peculier and a very earthy, crusty atmosphere.
More places to visit in this area if time permits:
Jekyll and Hyde Pub, 91 7th Ave. South, New York, ph: 212-989-7701
This pub is more like a haunted house than a traditional bar. There are amusing decorations throughout the place along with a very standard selection of beers.
Vol De Nuit, 148 West 4th Street, New York, ph: 212-979-2616
This Belgian pub is tucked away down a small alley/walkway off W. 4th Street -- be on the lookout or you will walk right past it. It opens in the evenings and has 10 Belgian beers on draft and around 25 bottles.
79 N. 11th Street
Take the subway or a taxi across the East River and be sure to visit the Brooklyn Brewery on Fridays 6-10 pm and Saturdays 1-5 pm (tours are every hour on Saturday - no reservations necessary for groups under ten). Garrett Oliver (head brewer) has produced some exceptional brews and brought brewing back to the Brooklyn area. The Chocolate Stout is amazing, and if you are lucky you may get a visit from the brewery cat while enjoying your beer in the tasting room.
Brooklyn Ale House
103 Berry Street
The Brooklyn Ale House is just a short walk from the Brooklyn Brewery. Jennifer is a wonderful bartender and the entire staff here is very beer literate and will be happy to help you chose a pint. There are 14 impressive taps with nice regional and seasonal brews and a huge bottle selection to please any beer lover. There are peanuts at the bar and a pool table in the back.
Mug's Ale House
125 Bedford Ave.
Mug's is only three blocks away from the Brooklyn Ale House and also has a big bottle selection that features some rich, high gravity brews. This is a neighborhood beer bar with 20 taps that exhibit very intelligent choices in beer. There is pub grub and new beers listed on the board behind the bar.
359 Metropolitan Ave.
If you are a beer lover (or are trying to learn more about beer), BE SURE to get yourself to the Spuyten Duyvil and give them some money! This Belgian pub has a jaw-dropping selection of some of the most rare and wonderful ales available today! Some of the best imports and regional micros you'll have in the New York area will be here... Fantome, Hanssen's Lambics, Cantillon Lambics, and the best craft beers from the best breweries in the United States. This pub has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy your exquisite beer. Two cask ales are also available. Don't miss the Spuyten Duyvil -- it is only a 7-8 block walk south of Brooklyn Ale House.
Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-383-5333
Mark Bar, 1025 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-349-2340
The Mark Bar is an excellent pub with a fine selection of beers. It is a bit out of the way -- about 20 blocks north of Brooklyn Brewery. Take a taxi there if you have time.
South Brooklyn Area
Park Slope Brewing, 356 Sixth Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-788-1756
Park Slope is no longer a brewpub, but now is a beer bar and restaurant. They have a good selection of regional microbrews available.
Gate, 321 5th Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-768-4329
Comfortable bar with a variety of tables and good draft selection.
Lighthouse Tavern, 243 5th Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-788-8070
Food, 16 drafts, and several bottled beers are available.
Sparky's Ale House, 481 Court St., Brooklyn, ph: 718-624-5516
Two dozen draft beers (samplers are available) and some cask ales are served here.
The Brazen Head, 228 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-488-0430
Waterfront Ale House, 155 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, ph: 718-522-3794
Similar to their Manhattan location discussed above.
American Beer Distributing, 256 Court St., Brooklyn, ph: 718-875-0226
The best retail beer store in the city. They also have a big selection of beer glasses from around the world.
© 2004 Brewtopia Events LLC