The team behind Alewife and The Jeffrey are at it again with their third craft beer-centric establishment (and a fourth is already on the way). Fools Gold (145 E. Houston St.) officially opened August 5 to a rush of eager patrons edging their way to the bar, scanning the multicolor handles and spouts arranged along the wall.
The new artisan gastropub is a welcome change-up to the row along Houston and First Avenue.
As at their other establishments, Fools Gold co-owners Patrick Donagher and Andy Freedman of the Beerly Legal Group are pouring some of the most sought after suds on the East Coast. Taps have seen the venerable Hill Farmstead Nordic Saison, a light and citrusy honey saison; Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot, a melding of saison and sour flavors; and a number of hard-to-find Barrier brews, including Molly Coddle, Dunegrass, and Rock N Roll. On opening night, patrons eagerly downed the specialty brews, huddling around the bar.
Taps funnel beers with origins that range from the U.S. to Germany to Belgium and beyond. “I could never tie myself to just selecting beers from any one region; they have to be from all over,” reasoned Donagher. “Just like wine, the terroir for beer tells the story through flavors of hops and malts, especially the locally produced yeast cultures from breweries that cultivate their own yeast.”
Up against a number of beer bars in New York, Fools Gold brings an upscale yet down-home aesthetic to the bar game. Inspired by older buildings and scrap yard materials, the gastropub sports a rustic decor fit with distressed wood and tin ceiling tiles, and long wooden tables in the back for devouring items off the pub’s food menu. Oysters, gourmet sandwiches, cheese, charcuterie and staple bar snacks like buffalo wings and Sriracha peas are all there for the taking.
Asked how the establishment earned the name Fools Gold, Donagher explains: “Rob Morton — owner of Idle Hands bar on the LES and bar manager of Fools Gold — and I are big fans of The Stone Roses, and a favorite song of ours is called ‘Fools Gold,’ so that’s the first reason. The second is because of my dad’s bar owner’s words of wisdom: ‘Only a fool gets into this game,’ in regards to bar ownership. Plus, I only pour craft beer — nectar of the gods or Fools Gold.”
Stop by for your own dram of Fools Gold any day or night of the week. The bar is open from noon to 1 a.m. Happy hour deals include $1 oysters, $5 draft beer, wine and whiskey. Come from noon to 4 p.m. for the lunchtime special: $12 for a sandwich plus a beer or wine.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 21, 2014