I'm looking for the best beer bar in NYC in terms of selection of beer (belgium) on tap. I am familiar with d.b.a. and Ginger Man, but am looking for something different.
I saw a thread on Brew Pubs, but assume they are mircro breweries?
I'm sure this has come up before so if there is an old thread let me know?
First some definitions:
Brewpub is a place that brews beer for on-premise consumption. There has never (in the past two decades, anyway) been a brewpub in NYC that's consistently produced even decent beer in my opinion. I recommend NO places in town for this.
Microbrew is wholesale beer (in bottles, cans, and/or kegs) sold to others for retail sale, but in smaller quantity than big brewers like Annheiser Busch. Brooklyn Beer is a popular local favorite that's extremely inconsistent (both in its flagship brands and in its special edition brews).
To answer your question, DBA and Gingerman are indeed good places. I like Waterfront Ale House a lot, at 2nd ave @30. Good food, and much better ambiance (Gingerman's a smokey nightmare when crowded, and I find DBA creepy and full of attitude, though their selection is tops). Blind Tiger at 10th and Hudson is another choice (cramped and noisy, though). There are some good bars in Brooklyn, but we can discuss them on the Outer Boroughs board if you'd like.
As for finding Belgians on tap, it's essential to remember that the brewing tradition in Belgium is almost entirely based on bottled beers. Their traditional bottle conditioning (the inclusion of living yeast in each bottle) brings great complexity. The tap versions are a recent and sometimes-interesting novelty, but by no means the best way to experience that fantastic beer culture. Best: buy bottles, and age them somewhere cool and dark for a few years...then drink up (in the correct glasses).
There's a theme but it works. Staff wear monk's robes which is welcome relief from the usual logo'd polo shirt beer bar preppie uniform. And the "no loud talking" rule and gregorian chants keeps out the jerks. They're WAY overpriced but there are so few bars without loud rock music and people yelling, so it's often worth shelling out.
DBA has fantastic beers, never had a not-so-fresh bottle or keg. But I don't enjoy the dumpy, minimal room, the classic rock, or the crowds. Try and hit it off hours.
Does anyone have any ideas why the micro explosion didn't take in NYC? Just because the brewpubs sucked? Was it the trendiness factor? (As soon as there was another trend, people were off good beer?) The restaurants and bars that do have a beer selection here seem to focus on imports, and very little on local or US beers.
Waterfront Ale House, mentioned in Jim Leff's post on this thread, is very and un-barlike, despite a great selection of beers (I just wish they had more than one hard cider). No, it's not much for decor, but there's no scene, it's never uncomfortably packed, the people are really friendly, the food is good, the prices are good, and smoking is confined to the bar counter itself. My boyfriend doesn't drink and *hates* bars in general, but he likes Waterfront for all the above reasons. They even play decent music sometimes.