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Beer places in Manhattan

LRS Jan 10, 2011 08:05 AM

There are no beer bar posts since 2008 and that post is very incomplete so I was wondering what are the places as of 2011 to drink a good beer selection. The places I usually visit for a nice beer are:

Blind Tiger
Against the Grain (very small selection but not bad)
DBGB (More expensive but the small selection is excellent)
Drop Off (ok but they always have the same beers, the do not rotate the selection)
East Village Tavern (small selection, but Ok)

I have not been to Pony because the crowd scared me when I was about to enter and I do not like the DBA crowd either.

I DO NOT need a Best of list, only a list of the places where you like the beer selection and if possible some detail as of what do they carry.

Blind Tiger
281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

East Village Tavern
158 Ave C, New York, NY 10009

299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

  1. j
    Jorel Jun 29, 2012 04:29 PM

    I second Spitzer's Corner when it's not crowded. I also really like Randolph Beer on Broome St.

    1. j
      jonkyo Jun 28, 2012 10:22 AM

      I used to go to the Blind Tiger years ago, at their Hudson Street location, and always found it good, with their cast beer selection during the season. Have yet to go to the new location since my taste in beer has gone from heavy or dark to crisp (such as Polish, Lithuanian, Japanese and some of the Latin and a few Mexican beers).

      A friend clued me into White Horse Tavern at 25 Bridge Street, Pearl Street and stated there are all these old buildings and bars or pubs in and around that area, so for seasoned pub goers not familiar with this area, it might serve you to check it out.

      I do think that things were better in the heyday or nascent stage of the Microbrew pub phenomena, that always had exceptional food to accompany the tastes of the differing brews on offer. Small brewpubs got bought out by large companies or conglomerates, and quality fell rapidly. Can't say going to pubs in the US does anything in the area of taste like it used to.

      I do like English Ale though it is so unfortunate that it is difficult to find bitters or ales of England served properly from tap in the states, including NYC.

      It truly depends on ones style, and habits of drink. For me I dislike the ubiquitous pint glasses uses all over the US and in Manhattan to serve draft beer, thus limiting both my consumption as well as visitations to places.

      I have always found the beers at the number of German places about town to be good. I recommed them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jonkyo
        MVNYC Jun 28, 2012 10:41 PM

        Wow, John Keough is awesome

        1. re: jonkyo
          LRS Jul 1, 2012 10:10 AM

          I have to say that I find the crowd at Blind Tiger very annoying. I try to go and always leave after one beer. As for ABC, as a beer store i do not like it that much, I prefer to walk to Chrystie, but I kind of like it as a bar on weekdays, they tend to carry very small but nice selection and it is spacious.

        2. n
          nleone Jan 20, 2011 06:56 AM

          George Keeley on the UWS has about 25 excellent craft beers on tap every single day. Their food is also quite reliable as far as bar food is concerned. The crowd is always awesome and the bartenders are the best.

          Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen always has a good selection of (really reasonably priced)Craft Beers. I've never found the crowd to be too bad there, and I've visited on multiple occasions.

          George Keeley
          485 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

          4 Replies
          1. re: nleone
            LRS Jun 13, 2012 01:54 PM

            Reviving old beer thread. Ive been going to ABC Beer on Ave C and 5 lately. Are there more new places that are worth going for good beer?

            1. re: LRS
              InfoMofo Jun 25, 2012 08:20 AM

              ABC Beer is more of a beer store that happens to serve beer, which is a model I've seen more and more in the city lately. Another good one is Good Beer, also nearby, on 9th and A. Farther south is Top Hops, which is really lovely, and has a great crowd, but very limited seating, so it can be a little hard to plan on.

              All in all, it is a great time to be a beer drinker in NYC.

              1. re: LRS
                michelleats Jun 25, 2012 09:49 PM

                Landbrot German bakery has a very limited, but good, selection of craft beers.

                More along the lines of retail beer, Growler Station on 8th St. has a sometimes interesting selection. Some of the beers I've purchased on tap (to take home in a 2L bottle) have been somewhat flat, though, even immediately after opening.

                1. re: LRS
                  roze Jun 26, 2012 12:21 PM

                  Of course you must mention The Cannibal...probably one of my favorite of the new beer bars.

              2. f
                funniduck Jan 20, 2011 05:35 AM

                Stag's Head (and its predecessor) has a great rotating selection. They've changed a lot over the years though. When they were CB Six, the bartenders were much more knowledgeable. Recently, I've noticed stickered on taps they have little "cheat sheets" on what each beer is.

                CB Six
                252 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022

                The Stag's Head
                252 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022

                1. p
                  PhishFoodie Jan 11, 2011 09:20 PM

                  I like a lot of the places mentioned, but also these:

                  Stag's Head : Good selection of craft beers on tap that are always changing, plus lots of bottles & cans, knowledgeable bartenders who always answer my questions, steer me in the right direction, and let me taste when i'm unsure of what to get.

                  And surprised no one mentioned Hop Devil Grill. Also a good selection, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and good specials. I especially like this place for a group- plus the $10 sangria pitcher night.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: PhishFoodie
                    LRS Jan 19, 2011 07:32 PM

                    Hop Devil Grill is very conveniently located for me for I wouldn't say their staff is knowledgeable. I go quite often and they never know what am I referring to when I ask a beer question.

                    Hop Devil Grill
                    129 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

                    1. re: PhishFoodie
                      funniduck Jan 20, 2011 05:40 AM

                      See I find the opposite with Stag's. It's still my favorite after work place in the neighborhood, but I don't get steered in the right direction as much anymore. But then again I am very particular (probably even peculiar) about my beers. Best burgers and spicy fries though.

                    2. i
                      InfoMofo Jan 11, 2011 10:02 AM

                      I am one of the biggest fans of Pony Bar, and even I won't go there on a Saturday night. That place definitely is schizophrenic in terms of its crowd composition.

                      However, after work midweek I really love stopping in there for a pint or two. For one thing, they have really reasonable prices, and because their beer selection is constantly rotating, there is always something new to try. If you haven't been, I suggest trying it on a slow midweek evening or a Sunday afternoon.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: InfoMofo
                        glutton08 Jan 11, 2011 10:48 AM

                        Agreed. They always have 20 American craft beers and 2 Casks, friendly regulars, and knowledgeable bartenders. You just can't go on weekend nights.

                      2. e
                        edintern Jan 11, 2011 09:08 AM

                        the three monkeys on 54th between broadway and 8th. i've never been, but i pass it on my way to work and it looks like it has a pretty extensive beer selection.

                        1. princeofpork Jan 11, 2011 08:38 AM

                          I really struggle paying 10-12 dollars for a beer that is some times even less than a pint.

                          1. MVNYC Jan 11, 2011 08:17 AM

                            It depends what area of the city I am in but I have my spots.

                            UES--David Copperfields on York. They get some interesting American craft selections and usually one cask.

                            UES--Cafe D'alsace--Good thoughtful selection of Belgian, French and American versions of that style.

                            Midtown--Rattle N Hum--Narrow bar but with a really good selection of American and European craft beers. Lots of local taps from Captain Lawrence, Sixpoint, Brooklyn. Three or four cask offerings.

                            East Village---DBA at off hours is a great place to enjoy a beer. The outdoors on a summer weekend is great and usually not too crowded. Plus you can bring in food.

                            LES--Spitzers Corner has a good Euro/American mix with good food. Also good people watching.

                            Greenwich Village -Blind Tiger- best in the city

                            Greenwich Village--- 124 Rabbit Club---I like this place a lot. No signage outside which prevents it from getting too busy. The place has a subterranean old NY feel to it and has an excellent selection of rare Belgians in bottles and 3 or 4 beers on tap. Cash Only

                            Then of course there is Brooklyn which deserves its own post.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: MVNYC
                              Silverjay Jan 11, 2011 08:57 AM

                              I went to Blind Tiger for the first time a few weeks ago. The selection was good and it's a cozy scene. I'm not sure though, I understand the reverence for this place. I prefer RnH and Gingerman and some of the W'burg places. I think I prefer Spitzer's as well.

                              Why are you and others so enamored with BT?

                              1. re: Silverjay
                                Bob Martinez Jan 11, 2011 09:08 AM

                                Isn't Blind Tiger crazy busy at many times?

                                Blind Tiger
                                281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                1. re: Silverjay
                                  MVNYC Jan 11, 2011 09:21 AM

                                  There are a few reasons really. First and foremost the selection is the best in Manhattan. Specifically they tend to get more obscure beers that others don't typically have. They also tend to have the best events and it seems the brewers who bring their lineups always manage to find some rarities that I have never heard of no less saw elsewhere. The owners really know their stuff and it is clearly reflected in the selection and care for the beers. They also maintain a selection of kegs that they age and occasionally put some of these on tap. You would probably need to go more than once to experience this aspect.

                                  Beer is obviously the most important part of it but there are also other factors. Their location and atmosphere are also very good. From the open windows onto the always interesting Bleecker Street in the summer to the working fireplace in the winter. It can and does get too crowded sometimes but I like the old time wooden feel of the place.

                                  Their food is also better than your average bar food and it is nice to order some cheeses from Murray's to pair with your beers.

                                  Last but not least I can chalk up some of the reverence to its place in NYC beer history. their old location was one of the first and definitely the best place to get really good beer in the city. Their bar on Hudson was kind of a dump but they were dishing out really good beers for a long time. It definitely contributed to my love of beer. This adds to their mystique but they are clearly not coasting on this reputation.

                                  I like Rattle N Hum a lot and think they are probably the second best bar selection wise in the city. Their selection is just a step below what you would get at the Blind Tiger and it really doesn't offer up ambiance-wise.

                                  Gingerman has a lot of taps however I don't find a lot of things that are interesting or that are hard to find at other non beer specific bars.

                                  Blind Tiger
                                  281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                  1. re: MVNYC
                                    Scotty100 Jan 11, 2011 04:56 PM

                                    I like the blind tiger a lot but I would disagree that it has the best selection in the city. Lately I've really liked what Jimmys 43 has on tap in the EV which to me was more interesting than BT. Seems to me BT is always hellishly busy, which gets to be annoying in such a small space. The final issue I have with it is the food - the cheese plate aside, the selection is a bit limited and pretty average imo. I still frequent it though as it is a quality beer bar.

                                    1. re: Scotty100
                                      MVNYC Jan 11, 2011 07:29 PM

                                      Jimmy's 43 is a great place too that I forgot to mention. Their selection always has some interesting choices almost every time I go in. They have some good taps from breweries not often seen in the NY area. However the selection just is not on par with the Tiger. Their Oysters are generally good though.

                                      I agree Blind Tiger can get pretty crowded, but I can say that about a lot of places on weekend nights. Being crowded is good for keg turnover though. Their sandwiches are good especially the Bloody Beast and the Banh Mi (once you get past the fact that it isn't a banh mi). Generally good bar food that is unique.

                                      Blind Tiger
                                      281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                      1. re: MVNYC
                                        Scotty100 Jan 12, 2011 09:45 AM

                                        I agree keg turnover is key. That's why I'm always a little wary of the gingerman...huge selection but not always fresh.

                                        I need to get back to BT and try the banh mi...i haven't been in ages - sounds good.

                                        1. re: Scotty100
                                          MVNYC Jan 12, 2011 12:27 PM

                                          Agreed on Gingerman. Their turnover doesn't seem to be so high, especially since when I go there so many people seem to be drinking Stella.

                                          I have not had much of the other food at Jimmy's 43 except for a few appetizers and oysters. Anything you would recommend?

                                2. re: MVNYC
                                  kathryn Jan 12, 2011 08:48 AM

                                  I really like Spitzer's Corner on off nights, if you can get a table in the back room, have dinner, and relax. Really nice in the summer if the windows are open. But it's insanely crowded and loud on weekend nights and they have a bouncer scanning IDs.

                                  Spitzer's Corner
                                  101 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                  1. re: kathryn
                                    MVNYC Jan 12, 2011 12:31 PM

                                    Spitzer's can definitely get too crowded as well. A lot of the good beer bars have this problem. But on a nice summer night when people are away it is really nice. I like the f ood there too, the shrimp patties especially.

                                3. l
                                  LBNJNY Jan 11, 2011 07:31 AM

                                  Colicchio and Sons has a nice selection in the Tap Room.

                                  1. b
                                    Blumie Jan 10, 2011 12:39 PM

                                    Markt has an incredible selection of Belgian beers. And good food.

                                    676 6th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                                    1. k
                                      kwjd Jan 10, 2011 12:29 PM

                                      I was visiting just over a week ago and went to a few beer bars.

                                      - Rattle N Hum for the huge draft list representing many styles. Had a few casks as well. I also like the Rate Beer ratings on the menu (even though I'm on BA), in case I hadn't heard of a beer before.
                                      - Pony Bar was good for local breweries I hadn't tried before (Chelsea RIS on cask was great).
                                      - Burp Castle was fun to hang out in and had some interesting tap selections that were new to me. Probably had more foreign taps than American.

                                      Burp Castle
                                      41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                                      1. h
                                        hon Jan 10, 2011 12:21 PM

                                        Jimmy's No. 43


                                        Jimmy's No. 43
                                        43 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                                        1. princeofpork Jan 10, 2011 09:15 AM

                                          Rattle and Hum on 35th and 5th has a ton of tap and cask beers.
                                          DBA has the worst atmosphere and horrible service IMO

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: princeofpork
                                            Scotty100 Jan 10, 2011 12:23 PM

                                            Zum Schneider - best bavarian beers in the city
                                            Lorelei - decent all-round german selection with a nice little beer garden at the back
                                            Burp Castle - imo, a contender for best belgian selection in nyc...quirky and elitist but cool
                                            Jimmy's No.43 - right next door to burp on E.7th...good food and small but nicely curated craft beer selection

                                            Burp Castle
                                            41 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003

                                            Zum Schneider
                                            229 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                                            1. re: Scotty100
                                              kathryn Jan 10, 2011 06:03 PM

                                              I think it's spelled Loreley, actually. But yes, nice little garden area in the back.

                                              7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                              1. re: Scotty100
                                                JungMann Jan 11, 2011 06:56 AM

                                                I've had bad experiences at Loreley with servers who don't know anything about their beers and who don't know how to pour properly. The last time I was there they poured me a Schneider Aventinus that was half head with most of the beer ending up on my table. I do find it somewhat precious that they have a menu written in German with waiters who can neither read it nor understand it spoken to them.

                                                Lederhosen has a similarly-sized and sourced beer list, but with far more knowledgable and friendly servers. I would recommend them over Loreley for the better drinking experience.

                                                7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                                1. re: JungMann
                                                  Bob Martinez Jan 11, 2011 07:33 AM

                                                  "I do find it somewhat precious that they have a menu written in German with waiters who can neither read it nor understand it spoken to them."

                                                  I've eaten at Loreley 3 or 4 times and I don't remember a German menu. The one on their website is in English (except for the names of the dishes, but there's a full description in English.)


                                                  The same is true for the beers.


                                                  7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                                  1. re: Bob Martinez
                                                    JungMann Jan 11, 2011 07:43 AM

                                                    The names of all the foods are given in German on the menu with an English sub-description. They might as well just serve "pork platters" if their waiters can't say or understand the Schlachtplatte mit Kassler, Speck usw. on the menu.

                                                    1. re: JungMann
                                                      Bob Martinez Jan 11, 2011 08:35 AM

                                                      I did note that the menu description was in English. In fact, that was the point of my post. I included that information after you said "... they have a menu written in German ..."

                                                      I've been to Loreley and Lederhosen multiple times. I thought that the food at Loreley was just a bit better than at Lederhosen although that could be a function of what I ordered.

                                                      At Lederhosen I've always sat at the bar which is really pleasant. That's a good thing because the back room gets a loud frat boy type of crowd which can be annoying. Loreley seems to attract a calmer clientele.

                                                      7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                                            2. e
                                              ESNY Jan 10, 2011 08:56 AM

                                              Waterfront Ale House has about 20 beers or so on tap and rotates them frequently. Also usually have a cask ale too.

                                              If you are into Belgian beers, the Petite Abeille mini-chain has a great selection - and half off beers on Mondays

                                              Waterfront Ale House
                                              540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ESNY
                                                hambone Jan 10, 2011 01:44 PM

                                                Ditto on Alehouse. And they have good food. Get the ribs!

                                              2. JungMann Jan 10, 2011 08:26 AM

                                                D.B.A. has a great variety of beers from across the globe with a rotating tap along with an admirable bourbon and Scotch list.
                                                Vol de Nuit specializes in Belgian beers with the requisite stemware to match
                                                Drop Off Service has a decent selection of USA, German, English, Belgian and Irish beers with a few rotating taps
                                                George Keeley is the pub of note on the UWS with a large selection and decent food

                                                George Keeley
                                                485 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                                                Vol de Nuit
                                                148 W 4th St, New York, NY 10012

                                                Drop Off Service
                                                211 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009

                                                1. Spiritchaser Jan 10, 2011 08:11 AM

                                                  A lot of people will say it is too "touristy" or commercial but I still love Gingerman if I'm just looking to get some beers, their draught list is incredible and the bartenders are pretty knowledgeable.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Spiritchaser
                                                    kelea Jan 10, 2011 08:19 AM

                                                    I love Gingerman myself for beer selections. Never had a complaint from anyone that i sent there for beers.

                                                    1. re: kelea
                                                      Scotty100 Jan 10, 2011 12:17 PM

                                                      I've never found gingerman to be touristy but I have found it to be unbearably full of suits most nights. Consequently, weekends are my preferred time to visit.

                                                      1. re: Scotty100
                                                        Spiritchaser Jan 10, 2011 01:37 PM

                                                        Maybe touristy was the wrong word to use but I've had people tell me they thought it was too "planned". Personally, as I've said before, I think it's great.

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