Wednesday 16 November 2011

Five great places for beer in New York City!

Another article on New York, are you kidding me, what’s he gonna whine about this time? Free tours & free beers or helpful American citizens! God save us all!

As I write this, two months have passed since I left New York City. My wallet still hurts and great memories still linger in the back of my head. I haven’t got it all out yet, so I need to write one more article about New York before I’m done. So I found my notebook that I brought to NYC and checked out what I’ve written, I went through old photos, and I choose five great places for beer in NYC that I think any Craft Beer drinker would love to visit! While writing this I realized I miss New York…

Let the countdown begin:

5. The Birreria at Eataly (

Me with a Punkin from Dogfish.

Eataly is a fantastic place in New York to buy food, many markets under the same roof selling quality products. Here you can pick up a six-pack of Dogfish Head Punkin and fresh ingredients for the dinner you’re making for your friends, if you live in NY that is! But take the elevator up to the 14th floor to “The Birreria”, there you get a nice view of the NY skyline with the Empire State Building in the background. It’s a nice place to start your beer-drinking day in New York, get a decent European meal and drink some American craft beer. You can always get Dogfish Head on tap here, or you can drink one of the ales made at the premises, made with help from Dogfish Head. This is a brewpub, so fresh beer is never far away, hopefully not to fresh if you know what I mean! I intended to make this a list of four waterholes, but this place was to good to not be mentioned. They had 12 different craft beers on tap and 20 different beers on bottle. The atmosphere was great, the service was OK+, and both the food and the beer were excellent! Nice modern look, clean and cool, bet it’s a hot place to hang out at night!

4. The Pony bar (

Kjetil with a New Yorker!

This is a place I will return to next time I’m in NYC, only got to spend a short time here, they only had 22 beers, but all of them were on tap and no bottles. But I hadn’t tried any of the beers before, and I hadn’t even heard of some of the breweries they served. The bar staff could have been friendlier, but nothing was bad, get me right here! Here Kjetil and me met a man, who invited us to a Gay beer club meeting on Brooklyn the day after. We already had plans so we didn’t go, no were not afraid of gay men or gay beer clubs! Brooklyn has a lot of interesting bars that we didn’t get to visit like Barcade. Lots of New Yorkers are really friendly and I got surprised about their friendliness more than once. This bar updates their menu every day, even online, and they change their beer selection all the time. The Pony Bar All American is a club for regulars that have drunk more than 100 different beers at the Pony Bar, they get a free shirt and first crack at seats when the Pony bar arrange Brewery Tour road trips. The atmosphere were nice, not vibrant or anything, but a cool place to hang out with friends and drink good beer.

3. Blind Tiger Ale House (

Not all the beers they had at Blind Tiger Ale House!

30 something beers on tap, and close to 100 different bottles. This place was alive, we came early but the place was already loud and busy. The interior looked like an old alehouse from a movie or something. A bit waiting time for ordering, beer menus constantly updated on the charcoal board. This place was kind of dark and had a fireplace. Lots of pretty female costumers drinking Craft Beer, sexy! Definitively a place I could visit again, they even had food, and I ate roasted nuts that tasted awesome! Drank some great beers but alas my time in this place were not as long as I wanted!

Sorry for the blurry picture, this is Rattle 'n' Hum!

Tag line: “No crap on tap!” This could have been the best bar in NY, and don’t get me wrong it is an awesome bar. No less than 40 different craft brews on tap and somewhere between 150 and 200 beers on bottle. You could get a 4x4oz flight for 10$. Here they also updated their tap menu every day. All these things great! Now I would like to think we were just unlucky, but we visited Rattle 3 or 4 times and experienced the same service every time. The costumers were not in focus and service could have been better. The best service we got were from a new cute blond bartender that didn’t know jack shit about beer yet, now somewhere between her lack of knowledge and forgetfulness there probably were a future bartender. But luckily she had a more experienced bartender there the most of the time to save her ass. But I would’ve loved it if that were made unnecessary. Leaving a new bartender in a craft beer bar to two guys like Kjetil and me is like throwing children to the wolves, she was a good sport though! 

Small girl, big bottle!

12 Percent” were apparently a beer event with 12% beers according to one of the bartenders, now this was answering another costumer that asked about what was on their event calendar, but I helped her out and cleared the mistake. 12 Percent is a beer importer. We tried some really awesome beers at the Hum and their beer selection is nothing less than amazing. “Southern Tier Cuvee Series One” & “Brooklyn Brewery Black OPS” were the most memorable beers. If you’re ever in New York visit Rattle ‘N’ Hum and make up your own mind about this place, I will definitively visit them again! This was a typical working class Craft Beer bar, not very classy or hip. Not to forget they also serve food, and according to Ratebeer November 2011 Rattle is the best bar in New York City area with a 97/100 score.

1. The Ginger Man (

Outside of The Ginger Man

Awesome bar, my favorite by far in New York! I would say the only bar I would ever compare this experience with is my hometown water hole Cardinal. Now let me tell you why! 73 different beers on tap and more than 100 bottles! All craft beer, except some German stuff a lot of NY people were drinking. The bartenders knew all of the beers on tap; it’s their job! Probably the busiest bar we visited in NY, insanely efficient bartenders, totally awesome! They also had food, so we didn’t have to go anywhere else to eat. My first impression of this place weren’t this good actually, we fell in a bit late on a Friday night in New York, and the noise level in this place were incredible, god damn American girls talk loudly, lots of woo-girls. The Ginger Man was more a bar for successful people than Rattle, lots of middle class plus and business people and us of course! No TV screens and no sports, just a good old classy pub.

Kjetil with Mead!

Our next visits were when we came back from Southern Tier on 9/11. After midnight it was I, Kjetil and one other costumer drinking until closing time. He was an old Hardcore Punk fan and started talking to us because of our t-shirts: Poison Idea & Henry Rollins. We finished the night sharing a Dark Horizon 3 from Nøgne Ø with our new friend and the bartender. A very special experience it was going out drinking at the 10th anniversary of 9/11. New Yorkers don’t act like silly drunks like Norwegians do when we get a drop of alcohol in us, so the fact that people acted and drank responsibly were nothing special, cause it was like that every day.

Awesome bartender!!!!

We also spent our last night in New York at The Ginger Man, and that were our best night in New York. Our bartender was totally awesome, knew all the beers we asked about, and to top it off, she was a fan of Norwegian Black Metal. We let her taste whatever we bought if she hadn’t tried it before, and when we were about to leave she said next one is on me. Then a man stepped in who obviously had to be the boss, so we figured we’d tell him how happy we were with the service. We got another beer from him, he was the owner, Bob Precious continued to give us more to drink, trying different Bourbons before we got a tour of the back room, he he! 73 different beers on tap in a small storage, challenging! We got to choose a bottle each for free, and then we left the bar for the night, after emptying our pockets for cash to tip the bartender! Sorry to say we didn’t have as much cash as we wanted to tip, but she deserved every dollar!

Kjetil, Bob & Haffy @ The Ginger Man

Among the highlight of what we drank at The Ginger Man were “The Ginger Man Ale”, brewed at the “Local” brewery “Captain Lawrence”, a Belgian Amber Ale brewed with real Ginger, awesome! Dansk Mjød (Danish Mead) Vikingerness & Viking Blod was also memorable threats; one brewed with Hibiscus flower the other one were hopped. We also drank Barrel-Aged Lager from Coney Island called “Human Blockhead” it was absolutely awesome. Not to forget the three Cigar City bottles they had, awesome. What more can I add to convince you how great this place were? Tap selection: World class! Bartenders: World class! Bottle selection: Awesome! Food: Great! Atmosphere: Very Good! Prices: Affordable! Premises: Nice!

The Ginger Man: A Beer Lovers Paradise….

So to sum it all up, how was New York for me? Totally awesome, I visited many other bars not mentioned to, but these stood out, but to be honest with you, I planned to visit these places! The key to a great beer holiday is to plan out what places to visit before you travel. The chances to find something great by random is not great. New York including all the five boroughs has more than 20.000 bars and restaurants.

Have a nice trip!
- Haffy

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