There are plenty of bars in this city. The vast majority of them serve beer. But simply being a bar that serves beer does not a great bar make. Which bars combine the right selection with the right atmosphere? We've picked out a few of our favorites for you to peruse.
Bierkraft: It's not quite a bar, but Park Slope's one-stop shop for all things brewed boasts over 1,000 beers, arranged geographically from around the world. Sit down to sip on a Chelsea Black Hole XXX Stout or Greenport Harbor Leaf Pile Pumpkin Ale while snacking on the store's signature ice cream sandwiches, or grab some snacks and take a growler to go. Then come back, again and again, for endless refills from the store's astounding selection of taps.
191 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn // (718) 230-7600
Blind Tiger Ale House: Yes, it's on Bleecker Street. But get past the address and settle in to this longstanding neighborhood favorite, which is as comfortable as the worn-in wood it's decorated with. The 30-odd taps and 50-something bottles focus on American craft brews, with a few Europeans in the mix. Try the Kuhnhenns Sour Cherry Ould Bruin or Long Ireland Breakfast Stout, and pad your stomach with some homemade deviled eggs or pulled pork sandwiches while you're at it.
281 Bleecker Street // (212) 462 4682
DBA: We mourned earlier this year when owner and craft beer pioneer Ray Deter was killed in a cycling accident. You can, however, still drink happily to his memory at the East Village and Williamsburg locations of his bar, which features an ulta-nerdy, constantly-rotating draft beer selection, complete with dates the keg was tapped. DBA specializes in hand-drawn cask ales and Belgian draughts, and also offers four gluten-free options for your celiac friends to enjoy.
41 First Avenue // (212) 475-5097; 113 North 7th Street, Brooklyn // (718) 218-6632
True story (Flickr user doug turetsky)
The Diamond: Yeah, maybe we loooove The Diamond's barkeep, Dave Pollack. But it's not just that—we also love their selection, which is organized by ABV and features a solid mix of American and European brews, and their shuffleboard table, and their trippy wall of light, plus the fact that it's one bar in Greenpoint not totally overtaken by complete goofballs. Try the Barrier Mollycoddle Mild or the Prize Old Ale vintage and thank us later. Oh, and Sunday is Rothtoberfest!
43 Franklin Street, Brooklyn // (718) 383-5030
The Ginger Man: Skip the sweet soju cocktails in neighboring K-Town and head to this vaguely Irish-themed bar instead, which features 66 taps and 120 bottles of the good stuff like Brasserie de Bretagne Sant Erwann and Australian Cooper's Pale. Don't expect the hippest weeknight crowd, but it's a solid bet for after-work drinks with a refreshing lack of douchiness for a Midtown bar. Good for groups, too, if you can snag the oversized couches.
11 East 36th Street // (212) 532-3740
Jimmy's No. 43: Go for the dinner, stay for the drinks: owner/beer activist Jimmy Carbone keeps a small but expertly curated selection of 10 taps and 30-ish bottles on offer at all times to complement his menu, and changes them seasonally. Keep a special eye out for rare, hard-to-find bottles like Wandering Star Zingari Wit or Theakston XB. The subterranean space is charming as hell—bring a date.
43 East 7th Street // (212) 982-3006
Lucky Dog: This Williamsburg hangout has a small but smart beer selection—20 taps with lots of crafts like Ommegang and Dogfishhead, plus a dozen more in bottles; but the real draw is the laid-back atmosphere: four-legged friends roam freely in the backyard patio, shuffleboard and pinball provide entertainment for humans, and the well-stocked jukebox provides an excellent customer-selected soundtrack for a lazy afternoon.
303 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn // (212) 555-1212
Flickr user wonggawei
Peculier Pub: It's been around forever and no, the spelling is not a typo. NYU students and office drones come together at this Bleeker Street standby, which we once described as the best bar on Bleecker Street for people who hate Bleecker Street. There are over 300 beers at any given time, from two dozen taps and seemingly endless bottles, like the Voodoo Vator and the Scottish Skull Splitter.
145 Bleecker Street // (212) 353-1327
Rattle 'n Hum: Another solid after-work spot for Midtown commuter types. It's not necessarily the sexiest bar in the city, but Rattle 'n Hum has a consistently excellent, constantly rotating selection of 40+ craft and microbrews from around the world, plus a dedicated cask ale corner and beer tasting flight options for the indecisive drinker. The menu changes daily and comes complete with detailed instructions on the art of the brew, or just talk to the gruff-but-educated barkeeps, who should be able to point you in the right direction.
14 East 33rd Street // (212) 481-1586
Spuyten Duyvil: While many beer bars specialize in brews from around the world, this tiny sliver of a Williamsburg spot narrows its focus to the fine country of Belgium. The 100+ bottles, six draughts and handful of casks are broken down by region, which results in some very rare finds indeed, like Greenflash Palate Wrecker or the Wallonian Fantome Saison. The vintage-knicknack-filled space gets crowded on weekends, but as long as the oversized backyard is open, kick back and relax.
359 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn // (718) 963-4140