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Nov 13, 2010 07:35 AM

Whiskey please

I'm trying to find a whiskey bar or a place that does whiskey tastings in NYC in December.... Any Ideas?

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  1. For tastings:

    Brandy Library - Ethan is great and very down to earth, friendly, knowledgeable

    The Astor Center also has Whisky 101 and Whiskey 102 but in January:

    Other notable whiskey lists (for a lot of these, they can pull together a flight of different ones for you):

    The Bar and Books "chain" - Hudson, Beekman, and Lexington does discounts on Tuesdays

    Highlands - a Scottish gastropub with lots of scotches

    Keens Steakhouse - huge scotch list

    St Andrew's Pub - lots of scotch whiskeys

    Idlehands - more bourbon focused

    Whiskey Tavern


    Mary Queen of Scots - the same people who run Highlands just opened this spot:

    In Brooklyn also check out Jakewalk and Char No 4.

    Brandy Library
    25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

    41 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

    Whiskey Tavern
    79 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013

    Mary Queen of Scots
    115 Allen St, New York, NY 10002

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Just had a terrible experience at DBA recently. Hot and smelly when we walked in (the bar not us), uninterested and lethargic service at the bar. Tried to engage the bartenders to talk about the beer and whiskey and just got pointed to the chalkboard above the bar which has the smallest font there is no way you can actually read it. No going back there again.

      1. re: princeofpork

        Yeah, the bartenders at the (Manhattan) DBA are notoriously aloof, especially when they're busy (which is often) - they've got a good selection, but it can take you ten minutes to flag down someone to take your order, even if you're standing right in front of them. And most of the bartenders don't really know anything about what they're pouring - I think they're hired based on number of tattoos or something. At least a half dozen times I've ordered something (after waiting ten minutes) only to have the bartender just wander around for another five, before coming back telling me they don't have it or they're out of it - and once, just wandering away after telling me this, without asking what I'd like instead. Which meant another ten minutes to get her attention again.

        That said, the new DBA in Brooklyn (Williamsburg) is very nice and the staff is super-friendly. Another good option, if you know what you want, is The Whiskey Ward on Essex. Not as wide a selection as at DBA, and the staff won't necessarily know much about what you're drinking, but they're friendly and will actually take your order somewhat promptly. A little further down Essex is White Star, probably the best for that area - a higher-end selection than WW, and the staff is usually a bit more knowledgable.

        For flights/tastings, though, Brandy Library is hard to beat. They can be a little pricey, sure, but they're as knowledgable as it gets, and they'll put together custom flights for you based on your budget and theme.

        Brandy Library
        25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

        White Star
        21 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

        The Whiskey Ward
        121 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

        1. re: sgordon

          Your description of the bartenders at the Manhattan DBA cannot be more true.

      2. re: kathryn

        I go to Highlands and St Andrew's quite a bit, have been to Brandy Library only twice. I know BL has multiple tasting flight options, all very good. the other 2 don't have tasting flights on the menu, but maybe you can ask them. If you're interested in different kinds of whiskey, BL is excellent, but if you're leaning towards scotches, I'd recommend the other 2. Their prices are a lot more reasonable than BL.

        1. re: kathryn

          Post Office in Williamsburg has a good list, mostly rye and bourbon. Also good deviled eggs, grilled cheese and an awesome chicken liver and bacon sandwich.

        2. There's also a brand new spot that mainly specializes in whiskey in Hells Kitchen, called "on the rocks"-haven't had a chance to try it out yet but they supposedly have a good selection (tried to look and they only have a frontpage for their website)

          1. Rye House

            Rye House
            11 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

            2 Replies
            1. re: west34

              Would this be the best food/drink option? I'm looking to take my guy for his birthday. thanks.

              1. re: foodyum

                The food is good there but it's more "good bar food" than a good birthday meal. I would go eat somewhere really good and then do the whiskey tasting.

                Also I've found the crowd at Rye House to be really annoying.

            2. Are there any bars on the Upper West Side that have a pleasant atmosphere and do flights (i.e. you can get small servings of say 3)?

              2 Replies
              1. re: SimonF

                the dutch has an awesome list

                The Dutch
                131 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: SimonF

                  I haven't seen anything of the sort on the UWS, though crosstown I did find a nice selection of scotches at Caledonia Scottish Pub. Very charming Scottish bartenders and pub grub.

                  Caledonia Scottish Pub
                  1609 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028