A Beer Lover's Guide To New York City

McSorleys at Corner Bistro
McSorley's at Corner Bistro | © Derek Kay/Flickr
Vincent Amoroso

Since the Neolithic age (when beer was rumored to have been discovered), the world’s most sociable beverage has been re-shaped and refined thousands of times. From historical taverns to the latest in craft beer technology, New York City is home to some of the world’s finest locales.

McSorley’s at Corner Bistro

1. McSorley's Ale House

Bar, Pub, Irish

For more than 150 years, McSorley’s Ale House has been brewing their trademark light and dark ales for both workers and statesmen alike. Served in two twin glasses, McSorley’s Ale has touched the lips of beer lovers like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. The historic decor has not changed since its inception, and the famed ale house has been a destination for beer lovers far and wide. No New York City beer tour would be complete without sampling both of their smooth ales, alongside a plate of their cheese and raw onion platter.

2. Brooklyn Brewery

Brewery, Park

Always on the cutting edge of brewing, Brooklyn Brewery has produced some of the world’s most beloved ales. Brooklyn Brewery has been a local treat for Williamsburg residents since 1988. The famed brewery even gives tours highlighting their unique and ever-developing brewing process. Along with its well-known favorite Brooklyn Lager, they feature a number of newer formulations on-tap for beer connoisseur. With brews like Sorachi Ace, developed from a Japanese brewing process discovered in the 1970s and their Greenmarket Wheat, which sources 70 percent of its grains from Lakeview Organic Farms, the brewmasters of Brooklyn Brewery continue to hone their craft. They also offer seasonal favorites like their Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout for the adventurous palate.

3. Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

Bar, Restaurant, Czech

Founded in 1910 by the Bohemian Citizens’ Benevolent Society of Astoria, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden brings the rich taste of the finest Czech and Slovak brewmasters to New York City patrons. In the 1800s, many Czech and Slovak immigrants found a home in Astoria, Queens and there is no better way to sample the Eastern European brewing tradition than hard-to-get brews like Schofferhofer (grapefruit beer), Staropramen, and Hofbrau Original. The rich, smooth flavors of these and many other brews come alive with classic Eastern European dishes like beef goulash and fried muenster smazak.

4. Harlem Nights

Bar, Pub Grub

Beer sampler
© Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
The latest exciting addition to the uptown nightlife is Harlem Nights. Founder Claud Fatu, a former contractor and army veteran, dreamed of one day opening up a bar of his own. This cozy and relaxing hotspot features a number of excellent brews such as Abita Purple Haze along with a wide assortment of ciders and whiskey malts. From outside to inside, Harlem Nights is a rustic oasis amidst the brick and mortar of New York City. The menu features a light and savory selection of apps like fried pickles, sweet potato fries, and tasty sliders. No Harlem hotspot would be complete without an eclectic array of live entertainment to enjoy with your craft brew.

5. The Bronx Brewery


The Bronx Brewery opened in the 1960s
© Carlos Corona
Pale ales are the specialty of this brewery of the ‘boogie-down.’ The Bronx Brewery crafts some of the finest pales and wits in New York City, and their Belgian-style and rye pale ale explodes with spicy flavor and ends with a smooth finish. The Bronx Brewery prides itself on taking the hip-hop, urban culture to beer crafting with its unique assortment of brews best-known as their b-sides collection. Flavor mashes like their Uptown Coffee Milk Stout, made with the sweet, creamy flavor of Ethiopian coffee from nearby Uptown Coffee Roasters, and their Boom Boom White IPA, crafted with a mixture of tart wheat and light barley malts, accentuates the urban dynamic of the Bronx.

6. War Flag Brewing Company


Centered in Brooklyn War Flag Brewing Company is intent on bringing back the unique flavors of American brewing and taking it to the next level. War Flags’ American pilsner is bursting with sweet honey and a savory hint of grassy hops crafted from a traditional colonial recipe. Their pilsner is equally complemented by their American Pale Ale that combines a biscuit malt with succulent citrus after taste. War Flags has one mission, to bring the love of drinking beer back to the shores of America, and there is no better place than the very heart of Brooklyn. To show its dedication to America’s love for beer, War Flags is a consistent donor to the Wounded Warriors Project for service veterans.

7. The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Coffee Shop, Tea , Pub Grub, American

By day, The Jeffrey Craft Beer & Bites serves up frothy espressos and savory coffee blends, but by night, it transforms into a craft beer house that features one of the most highly advanced, custom-built draft systems in New York City. Beer lovers will discover nothing but nirvana as The Jeffrey features 30 of the most hard-to-find and widely sought after international brews. Nestled in vibrant midtown Manhattan, Jeffreys Craft features a rustic design with much of it fashioned from recycled materials such as keg pallets and old plumbing. This midtown beer haven also offers a delectable assortment of tasty apps and plates, such as Sigmund’s Pretzels and their pastrami-vision known as Reuben Jeffowitz.

8. District Tap House

Restaurant, American

If you are looking for some of the most unique brews in the Big Apple, District Tap House has just what you are after. Their beers are as flavorful as their names, such as Alesmith My Bloody Valentine, which is a year-round twist, to their Halloween special known as Evil Dead Red, made with a creamy, caramel sweet malt. Among a plethora a wild combos there is the amber brew Bear Republic Cuvee de Bubba that is fermented with wild yeast in wine barrels and mixed with a hint of fruit notes. For a smoother edge, there are also stouts like the BlackHog Coffee Milk Stout, which is made with a mixture of espresso roast and Columbian Supremo, perfect for washing down tasty treats like District’s Croque Monsieur Sliders.

9. Fools Gold

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, American

Taking a trip downtown, one will find a locale that features over 30 local and international craft beers and over 80 American whiskies. Fools Gold has a flavor-packed brew for every taste. From dark brews like their Sloop Black Razz, a sour dark ale with the slightest hint of raspberry and aged in oak, to their complex power-punch, tart delight known as their Sloop the Sauer Peach, made with sweet peach nectar, Fools Gold has a tasty hop for every kind of beer lover. For an extra kick, Fools Gold features the Baxter Bootleg Fireworks Double IPA made with Citra and Sorachi malts. Patrons can also spice up their night with a vast assortment of Irish and Tennessee whiskies to go with a savory dish of Sirachi Peas or BBQ Pork and Grits topped with a fried egg.

10. St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe

Bar, Craft Ale Bar, Pub Grub, American

The Big Bang Theory suggests the universe was created with an explosion, and there is no doubt that when beer launched into a collision course with Brooklyn, the primordial aftermath gave us New York City’s St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe. With sixteen rotating taps St. Gambrinus gives a savory beer flavor for any beer connoisseur. From their light Belgian-style wit Boulevard Tank 7 with a blast of grapefruit and peppery dry finish to the Allagash Little Brett made with mosaic hops and pineapple notes, St. Gambrinus features a beer lover’s dream, the take-out brew given in 32 and 64-ounce growlers. Samples are aplenty, with at 250 different bottles and plenty of draughts to go around in this virtual beer carnival.
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