Jimmy Carbone Explains Why He Won’t be Biking to Queens, Staten Island, or the Bronx


Yesterday, a New York Times article about this Sunday’s Bike to the Bars ride to various Brooklyn and Manhattan bars raised a question: “…seriously, no good beer in Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island?”

Jimmy Carbone, owner of Jimmy’s No. 43 and one of the creators of the Good Beer Seal and a ride organizer, tells Fork in the Road that it’s nothing personal.

“We really just started this month,” he says of the Good Beer Seal gang’s efforts to recognize establishments that serve high-quality suds; so far, there are 15 of them. He and his GBS co-creators, Garry Gillis and Ray Deter, decided to “kick off with bars we knew personally–it’s a very tight group. But we actually just had a meeting talking about how we’ll expand. We’re drawing up a short list of bars that we think would be good.” Declining to name names, he adds, “We’ll add a few more this year and next year.”

Bars under consideration for the seal, Carbone explains, have to undergo “a kind of smell test: We or someone else would have to know and feel really good about [the bar]. We’re looking for each place to have its own identity, to not be a copycat. It’s not just about the number of beers; Spuyten Duyvil only has six draft beers, but they’re always changing.”

Ever since Mayor Bloomberg announced that July was Good Beer Month, and would officially recognize establishments with the Good Beer Seal, there’s been growing interest in the GBS association, Carbone says. “We’ve gotten inquiries from Virginia, and might set up a franchise like Slow Food. We’ll probably be a non-profit promoting good beer and community.”

Next Wednesday, they’ll be promoting the cause at Good Beer at BAM, a beer and food pairing produced with Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. Carbone is excited about it, though he acknowledges that unlike in Philadelphia, where “the whole city turns out” for Philly Beer Week, drawing crowds in New York is an imprecise science. “Even if it’s a presidential convention, rarely does the whole city turn out.” Still, he feels New York will follow Philly’s lead. “New York is a great beer town. And people see the seal as a way to put a face on beer in New York. It’s a good step.”