On We Sweep With Threshing Oar Through Hell's Kitchen

Tap of the heap
photo: Robert Cincinatti
Tap of the heap

"Ah, ah, ahhhh, ah! . . . Valhalla, I am coming!" That boisterous declaration from Zeppelin's Robert Plant wasn't groupie pillow talk, but Odin-speak about the heaven-like hall of heroes. So for this neighborhood tavern with the badass moniker we expected a golden armory of canned heat with horned Viking helmets on the walls (or on our heads). But other than two halberds resting discreetly atop the bar, you don't get much of a Viking theme, sadly. This three-week-old, aesthetically simple Hell's Kitchen taproom—a sparse, dense wooden-hall-like space decorated with Scandinavian-style iron chandeliers and simple Nordic-looking wooden picnic tables—makes up for its lack of rapscallion atmosphere with an impressive collection of beer and Scotch. Two long brass walls, each with over 24 taps of micro and international brews, contain some real gems: Ayinger ($7), a rich German brown; Prima Pilsner ($6), a light and flavorful American pilsner; Bluepoint ($6), an amazing U.S. oatmeal stout. Plus there is an eclectic bottled selection, the flagship being the sweetly complex Trappist ale Orval ($10). Scotch freaks may calm the tides of war with tasting flights ($36)—samplers culled from the bar's collection of over 30 choice single malts. Knowledgeable and amiable warrior-barkeep Walter assured us more Viking swag's on the way, as well as a kitchen specializing in classy late-night grub.

 
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