The 10 Best Craft Beer Bars In Manhattan, New York City
Few things excite a beer nerd like the words ‘micro-brew’, ‘high-gravity’, and ‘cask-conditioned’ in the same sentence, and rare is literature as rousing as a phone book-sized menu of beers with hard-to-pronounce names from faraway lands. As more and more people discover the world of craft beer, bars and restaurants across New York City are hopping to fill their tap lines with specialty suds that cater to the discerning beer drinker. Here is our guide to the 10 best.
72 Beers on Draught at The Ginger Man | Image Courtesy of The Ginger Man
Rattle N Hum starts out the list as a gateway bar into the craft beer world for those yet to be initiated. An over-sized chalkboard greets patrons with a list of craft alternatives for popular macro brews. On the back of the menu is BeerAdvocate.com’s helpful guide for newbies on how to properly taste beer. Make no mistake though, Rattle N Hum is a serious beer bar, with 40 rotating microbrews on tap, as well as a range of specialty bottles and cask beers that are sure to excite both craft beer veterans and novices alike. For anyone testing the suds, Southern Tier Pumking, with its sweet and spicy pumpkin pie notes, is always a safe bet.
Named after J.P. Donleavy’s 1955 novel (in fact, you can purchase a copy at the bar), The Ginger Man boasts an impressive array of brews, 72 draught lines and over 160 bottles. Cisco Pumple Drumkin, toasted pie crust in a glass, and De Dolle Oerbier, a malty, brown sugary Belgian strong dark ale, are just two of your many seasonal options here. This Midtown East spot can get crowded with the 9-to-5 happy hour crowd, so take some time to peruse the menu from one of the high-back booths lining the wall. Settle in and get cozy amongst the dark wood furnishings, high ceilings, and vintage beer posters. With so many beers to try and your new paperback in hand, you’re bound to be here a while.
This Houston Street outpost of the Beerly Legal Group bar family offers up 30+ domestic and international craft beers on draught, beer cocktails, and a number of whiskies, wines, and cocktails on tap. For all your in-between-beers-shots needs, Fool’s Gold has you covered with a collection of over 80 American whiskies. The communal high tops are perfect for sharing flights of beer with friends, and the mismatched tin ceiling and rich-hued wood and brick walls lend a warm ambiance. There are currently a number of seasonal beers on tap, including the GABF medal-winning Port City Oktoberfest.
Pumpkin beer reigns king among the fall seasonals, and aficionados need look no further than this West Village brewpub. Upright Brew House covers all your winter squash brew needs, running the gamut from Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour to Avery Pumpkyn Porter aged in bourbon barrels. With 12 taps and over 170 bottles/cans, the sheer number of choices can be daunting. So hone your beerdar in on these other fall treats. Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison Autumn, a brett-fermented Barrel-Aged Amber Saison brewed with squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break Natale Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top. For a unique fall weather pour, try the Off Color 15 Feet, an Applewood Smoked Wheat inspired by the almost-forgotten-but-now-making-a-comeback Polish Grodziskie, an oak-smoked wheat malt style beer.
The Bar at Blind Tiger | Courtesy of Blind Tiger Ale House
This East Village gastropub is an institution in the New York craft beer community. While Jimmy No. 43’s selection is less extensive than a lot of the other bars featured here, with 12 taps and a few dozen bottles, it more than makes up for what it lacks in quantity with the quality of the beer and food it serves. The joint has garnered a loyal following in its decade-long run and is referred to colloquially, along with two other East 7th Street craft beer bar pioneers, Standings and Burp Castle, as the ‘Brewmuda Triangle.’ Jimmy’s No. 43 celebrates the cool weather season with a number of featured events, including Cask Saturdays, ‘Lechon’ Pig Sundays, Cider Week, and it’s Sixth Annual Battle of the Belgians.
The Bar at Blind Tiger ǀ Courtesy of Blind Tiger Ale House
Bar, Korean, Danish, $$$
Another long-standing bastion of specialty brews, the West Village’s Blind Tiger gets high marks for its rustic farmhouse décor and elevated bar food, think Pilsner-brined chicken wings and Korean beef short rib sandwich. The real star here though is, of course, the beer, and with almost 30 selections on draught and close to twice that many bottles, you’re sure to find something to suit your every mood and taste. Cold weather picks include Mikkeller Ris a la M’ale, a fruit beer based on the Danish dessert with notes of cherries, almonds, and vanilla, as well as Caldera’s holiday brew, Old Growth Imperial Stout.
The Jeffrey by the Beerly Legal Group | Courtesy of The Jeffrey
This Upper East Side bar, Bondurants, combines elements of everything you could possibly want in a drinking establishment under one roof, a constantly rotating draft list, small batch bourbons, specialty cocktails, elevated bar bites, and a Southern-infused brunch menu, all at very reasonable prices. Pull up a stool at the horseshoe-shaped bar and take some time to admire the rustic aesthetics of the red brick walls and tin-pressed ceilings. Study the colorful chalkboard art while sipping your Oxbow Oxtoberfest as you contemplate your next order.
The Jeffrey by the Beerly Legal Group Courtesy of The Jeffrey
Bar, Belgian, $$$
Quench Your Thirst with a Tall Cold One at Top Hops | Courtesy of Top Hops Beer Shop
Speaking of all your favorite things in one spot. Part espresso bar, part bar, The Jeffrey functions as a café throughout the day, serving coffee and pastries, before transforming into craft beer and cocktail destination come night. In case you can’t wait to get your beer fix, The Jeffrey saves the day with growlers of beer-to-go. Combine this with 30 rotating brews, a unique wine list including the likes of orange wines, and a menu of ‘gastro-bites’ featuring dishes such as red beet deviled eggs and black truffle popcorn, and you’ll begin to wonder why there would ever be a reason to leave. For an alternative to the ubiquitous pumpkin beer, try the Bruery Autumn Maple, a Belgian-style brown ale made in the tradition of pumpkin beers, but with yams.
Quench Your Thirst with a Tall Cold One at Top Hops Courtesy of Top Hops Beer Shop
Bar, American, $$$
Moving along the list, we come to another hybrid, part beer shop, part bar, Top Hops is home to 600 bottles/cans from around the world. Shop-goers be warned, you could quite literally spend hours here, lost in the myriad colorful labels clamoring to be plucked from the long rows of coolers flanking either wall of the narrow, tunnel-like space. Feeling overwhelmed? Pull up to the bar and enlist the expertise of the very knowledgeable bartender. Warm up with a pint from one of the 20 rotating taps, and once you’ve finally settled on a bottle(s), try it in-house for a small capping fee. The bar currently has a couple of seasonal beers on tap, but with so many great beers available, it’s best to explore the offerings yourself.
As far as institutions go, Peculier Pub is undoubtedly a forebearer in the craft beer bars of NYC. Founded over 30 years ago, Peculier continues in the tradition of old-school beer pubs with a collection of 27 beers on draught and over 350 bottles. Centered in the Village, the bar tends to get packed with hordes of NYU students who seem to fit perfectly with the dark, slightly seedy tavern setting, awash in the neon beer signs. Though extensive, Peculier’s menu is fairly basic in that there aren’t many hard to find varieties and most of the domestic breweries are the larger and more well-known of the craft world. There are a couple of pumpkin beers currently on offer, as well as a Dogfish Head seasonal on tap, always a win.