Our 10 Best Beer Bars
The craft-beer movement, once the province of homebrewers and so-called beer nerds, has become so mainstream that you'd be hard-pressed to find a bar in New York City that doesn't have at least Brooklyn Lager on tap. But where do you go when you want to find the absolute best brews in the city? We've, um, spent many hours of our lives researching this topic and have finally come up with a list of the top 10 beer bars in the city. Cheers!
10. 124 Rabbit Club: This tiny, secluded spot in the West Village proves that beer bars need not be fratty, sticky messes, even on MacDougal Street. The subterranean locale and weathered décor definitely give it an Old World vibe, which is fitting considering the all-European beer list. The 50-strong bottle selection skews heavily toward Belgians, none of which are cheap; still, it's worth the money to drink in a bar as charming as this place. 124 MacDougal Street, near Minetta Lane, no phone
A glimpse of the long beer list at the Pony Bar
9. Pacific Standard: We New Yorkers are (justifiably) proud of our local craft-brew scene. The truth, however, is that it was brewers on the West Coast who really kicked this movement into high gear. Opened by a couple of NorCal expats, this Park Slope pub features a long list of beers on tap from the other side of the country, including selections from such breweries as Rogue, Anchor Steam, Lagunitas, Bear Republic, and more. Don't worry, Brooklyn, Pacific Standard still has love for you in the form of local faves from the likes of Sixpoint and Kelso. 82 Fourth Avenue, near St. Marks Place, 718-858-1951
8. The Pony Bar: America is home to the most inventive, fearless craft breweries in the world, which is why we're glad this inviting Hell's Kitchen pub specializes in beers from the good ol' US of A. You'll find 20 rotating beers from across the country, each served in 14-ounce glasses for $5. Our favorite thing about this place? Starting at 4:20 p.m., all beers are $1 off for an hour, just in case you want to wash down any special brownies you might have consumed. 637 Tenth Avenue, near 45th Street, 212-586-2707
7. Jimmy's No. 43: Jimmy Carbone is a legend in the local beer scene, a larger-than-life proponent of all things local and delicious. The founder of the Good Beer Seal, Carbone's passion is evident in his beer list, an eclectic mix of bottles and draughts from beer nerd favorites like Danish brewer Mikkeller, Tampa brewery Cigar City, and superb Massachusetts gypsy brewer Pretty Things. Bonus: The bar just launched a beer-and-biscuit brunch with Louisiana-style grub from Tchoup Shop's Simon Glenn. 43 East 7th Street, near Second Avenue, 212-982-3006
6. Mission Dolores: This Park Slope spot is owned by the people behind Bar Great Harry, another fantastic beer bar in its own right. During the summer, the abundant outdoor seating lets you believe you're in sunny California, where the bar's namesake mission is located. The 20 beers on tap are mostly American, with a strong selection of brews from East Coast breweries like Barrier and Dogfish Head, plus a couple of European draughts for good measure. A dog-friendly policy and the ramshackle industrial décor make it a nice, laid-back place to have a drink or five. 249 Fourth Avenue, near Carroll Street, 718-399-0099
5. Earl's Beer and Cheese: Yes, there are only four beers on tap, but they're picked with care, like Sixpoint's brand-new Autumnation. Plus they're affordable; draught brews cost only $5-$6, while cans of everything from Dale's Pale Ale to Molson XXX start at $3. That's just the mix of beer expertise and laid-back irreverence that we like. The compact gastropub looks like something that belongs in the East Village or Brooklyn, yet there it is in a barren stretch of the Upper East Side, serving some of the best bar food in the city, including beer cheese and a killer tomato soup. 1259 Park Avenue, near 97th Street, 212-289-1581
4. d.b.a.: Ray Deter's death earlier this year was a huge blow to the craft-beer scene he helped to create when he opened this beer bar back in 1995. It's still one of the best in the city. The 14 beers on tap run the gamut from local American breweries to European staples. Also available is a strong selection of small-batch whiskeys and beer by the bottle. While the d.b.a. in Brooklyn is a perfectly pleasant place to have a beer, we love the large, leafy back garden at the original East Village location. 41 First Avenue, near 2nd Street, 212-475-5097
Relaxing in d.b.a.'s spacious back garden
3. The Diamond: This cozy, hidden-away Greenpoint bar bucks the over-the-top IPA trend by specializing in session beers with ABVs under 4.5 percent. Not that you can't find strong beers here; the Southern Tier Pumking on the menu boasts 9 percent alcohol, which will definitely put you in the dangerous drunk-texting zone of inebriation. Still, the focus on quality session beers means that you'll mostly find calm, serious beer drinkers here, ones who come to experience new flavors, play shuffleboard, and relax with their dogs outside in the backyard. 43 Franklin Street, near Calyer Street, 718-383-5030
Yes, Blind Tiger is crowded.
2. Blind Tiger: Sure, this place is an absolute nightmare at 7 p.m., when businessmen pour in after work, but there is a reason this place is so popular. That would be the expansive beer list, including 31 brews on tap from a wide array of breweries, including Escondido's Stone Brewery, Elysian from Seattle, and Greenport Harbor. The bottle list is no joke, either, with plenty of rare and vintage selections for the adventurous drinker. Go late at night during a weekday when things are a little calmer and you can drink your beer in peace. 281 Bleecker Street, near Jones Street, 212-462-4682
1. Spuyten Duyvil: Why is Joe Carroll's Williamsburg spot the best beer bar in New York City? Because, quite frankly, he just doesn't care about the casual beer drinker. Like that hoppy $6 IPA from Sly Fox you had yesterday? Too bad, because today the draught menu is filled entirely with $10 lambics. The daily rotation ensures serious beer nerds never get bored. This is a place to get your hands on some next-level stuff; past finds include the bright, wonderfully complex Belgian blended lambic Oude Geuze Vieille and the Italian, green-tea-infused Grado Plato Weizen Tea. Oh, and a gorgeous, shady back garden doesn't hurt this bar's ranking, either. 359 Metropolitan Avenue, near Havemeyer Street, 718-963-4140
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