waterfrontalehouse.JPGFor those of us living the "Gothamist" lifestyle, New York City can sometimes seem like a steady stream of fabulous nightclubs, swank cocktail lounges and ritzy restaurants. Sometimes, however, the Manhattan merry-go-round gets to be too much. At those dizzying moments, its time to seek refuge somewhere low-key, yet upbeat, low-maintenance, yet ever-so-slightly upscale. A tough order to fill. We know. But, thankfully, during those troubled times, Gothamist has The Waterfront Ale House to turn to - with not only one location, but two: the original in Brooklyn Heights and its spinoff in Kips Bay.

The bar offers a myriad of fine ales, lagers, porters and more, ranging from rare brews like Italy's Super Baladin Piozzo to the bar's most popular draught on tap, Anchor Liberty Ale. And, for those really rough days when beer just isn't enough, Waterfront features a full bar loaded with a selection of premium Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Vodka, Gin and Tequilas, as well as their own handcrafted specialties like Painkiller, a potent combo of five different rums and a secret blend of exotic juices. With libations like the Painkiller, not to mention their lethally delicious holiday Egg Nog, its no wonder that cocktail maven Audrey Saunders, of Bemelmans Bar fame, actually started her career at the Brooklyn Waterfront.

And, what refuge would be complete without something to nibble on while you imbibe? Waterfront doesn't disappoint on that score either. Besides offering patrons an endless supply of freshly popped popcorn to assauge their growling stomachs, Waterfont's menu spotlights decidedly "non-greasy spoon" options like Venison and Black Bean Chili with Tequila Cilantro Sour Cream and Warm Tortilla Chips, a Grilled Portabello, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts, Ostrich Burgers and award-winning barbecue like Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket.

waterfrontlogo.JPGYes, you read right. These folks make award-winning barbecue. In fact, according to ever-cheerful, longtime bartendress Mary Haegele, the Brooklyn location is host to two authentic smokers, large enough that they could easily hold two human beings each. "If my boss was more Italian, I'd be a little worried," she admitted. But, lucky for Gothamist, and anyone else seeking respite from the whirlwind of "fabulousness" that is New York, the kitchen sticks to beef, chicken, pork, venison, ostrich and alike - for the time being. Just don't get the staff mad.

Ale Alert: This Thursday and Friday (9/2 & 3), Waterfront Ale House will hold its annual "Draining of the Kegs" celebration, before the pub goes on a brief end-of-summer hiatus. That means $3 pints all day and all night till the kegs are dry.

Brooklyn Heights
155 Atlantic Avenue
(Between Henry & Clinton)
718 522-3794

Kips Bay
540 Second Avenue
(On the corner of 30th Street)
212 696-4104

-- Vittles Vamp