By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In a neighborhood full of velvet ropes and tony lounges, Brass Monkey is a surprisingly unpretentious neighborhood pub. Though the bar is located next to an abandoned elevated train line on a semi-deserted block in the meatpacking district, once you are inside, tucked into one of the many intimate booths among the attitude-free locals, the industrial landscape melts away. The cavernous room is bathed in warm light and decorated simply with blond wood tables and stools, and the soundtrack is a refreshingly unhip, VH1 tour of British rock (U2, the Cranberries, Coldplay).
In this expensive enclave Brass Monkey's main draw is its unusually inexpensive beer. It features a menu of 20 on tap, including pub mainstays like Boddingtons and Guinness, as well as some decidedly non-British finds like Kirin and Chimay. There is also a list of 45 bottled beers, ranging from Heineken to Magic Hat. No beer on the list, draft or bottle, is more than $7, and at happy hour, from 4 to 7, many pints are only $3.
The food is an even better value, offering perhaps the cheapest mussels on the West Side ($13 for an entrée). You can even make a meal of the appetizer specials, like the more-than-perfunctory crab cakes, served with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise, or the home-style chicken fingers, both of which come with a small, well-dressed salad ($8 each).
Brought to you by the same folks who opened the Bowery bar Pioneer, Brass Monkey is a pioneer in its own right, bringing value and comfort to a frontier where it's been sorely lacking.