While we had some very good meals on our latest NYC Trip, this weekend vacation was also about drinking. I wanted to show my brother some new cuisines and some of the hottest restaurants in NYC but I also wanted to drink some really good beer and maybe a cocktail or two. We ended up doing a serious amount of bar hopping in Brooklyn, I think we managed to touch on several neighborhoods over the weekend. Some of the bars were dives, a bunch featured some serious craft beer selections and we even visited one of the ‘best bars in the world’.
Barcade. We visited Barcade (above) on our first NYC in April 2012 and fell in love. It’s a bar that focuses on American craft beer and retro arcade games, two of my favorite things. In the year since we first visited, I’ve had dozens of conversations with people about opening some version of this bar in Buffalo. It’s basically my perfect bar, so I knew that I had to show Tommy (who also fell in love). We spent a couple hours playing video games and drinking some really good beer. My friend Mike and I even beat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after dropping ~$10 in quarters. It was worth every penny.
Clover Club. In retrospect, I wish we would have spent more time appreciating Clover Club. We decided to stop by on a whim on Saturday while doing a barcrawl and I had no idea I was in one of the best cocktail bars in the world (#31!). We were only doing a crawl so we just stopped in for one drink, lucky it was a fantastic tiki drink that started off sweet and quickly got me drunk. It was definitely a quieter cocktail bar, there was music and a party going on in the backroom but upfront it was more relaxed. We completely lucked out on a Saturday night and grabbed a seat right at the bar, the bartenders (when not making drinks) were pretty outgoing and willing to chat with their customers. It would be a great date night location and a good place to start a barcrawl. I can’t wait to go back.
Bierkraft. Our drinking adventures were focused on really good craft beer and our visit to Bierkraft was probably the peak of our beer drinking. The shop reminded me of Aurora Brew Works and Village Beer Merchant on steroids. Inside there are a few different ways to purchase your beer. They have a long row of coolers that have six packs and single bottles available for purchase. You can either take them home or drink them in the beer garden/dining room (no bottle fee). They also had about ~12 taps that were available by the growler or by the glass. The selection was really impressive and the atmosphere was incredibly casual, again it was another bar that I’d want to open in Buffalo. They have a kitchen that serves food late (midnight-ish). We had two rounds of drinks here but in retrospect I think I could have stayed there for hours. It also was incredibly cheap in comparison; at one point I bought three bottles of beer and it only came to ~$10, which is a steal in Brooklyn.
Spuyten Duyvil. Joe Carroll is the owner/designer of three hip restaurants in Williamsburg. There’s a cafeteria style BBQ restaurant (Fette Sau), a cheapish, hipster version of a steakhouse (St. Anselm) and a craft beer bar with meats and cheese (Spuyten Duyvil). After our BBQ feast a BrisketTown, we decided to walk over to these three and check them out. We managed to grab a table at the beer garden at Spuyten Duyvil and try a couple beers on draft. They have an intimidating list of imports and craft beers. If you wanted you could drop some serious cash for a couple rare bottles. We sampled some Belgian beer, Mike ordered himself a sour ale and we had a really nice time hanging out in the garden. We didn’t eat any of their food but we saw a couple cheese and meat plates that looked really great.
McSorley’s Old Ale House. This was one of our rare non-Brooklyn bars that we visited and it was another revisit for myself. The bar is one of the oldest in America and as my friend Mike pointed out, Abe Lincoln even drank there. The place looks old, the pictures on the walls clearly have aged over time, lighting fixtures are covered in dust and wishbones (no idea why), there is sawdust all over the floor and the food is comically un-ironic. You can get some sandwiches or their ‘cheese’ plate, which is literally a plate of cheap ass cheddar cheese and a sleeve of saltines. Their beer comes in ‘light’ or ‘dark’ and you order three 8oz glasses at a time. We asked for some light and they put six glasses in front of us. It’s a great place to go for a couple beers in the middle of the day. I’m looking forward to going back again.
Union Hall. This was one of the coolest places we visited. Inside was a lounge area with large screen TV’s and big leather couches, an indoor Bocce court (looked dangerous but no one was injured), a 90’s cover band playing in the basement, a ‘VIP’ section for people who like to buy bottles of liquor and a long bar with a small but impressive beer selection. It was a really neat place to visit and was absolutely packed on a Saturday night, a friend of mine mentioned going there on a quiet Sunday to watch soccer and that sounds perfect.
Boat Bar. This is the only bar we actually visited twice on our trip. It’s a complete dive with an old school jukebox, torn up bar stools and wooden tables. It’s incredibly dark inside and comfortably half full when we got there at 2am. It’s the first time I’ve been to a bar that reminded me of The Pink. We got really drunk on $3 Genny Cream Ale drafts (how could we not) and ended up chatting with the bartenders and fellow drinkers. Fun fact: after watching multiple people put money into the jukebox and wonder when their music was going to play, we found out the bartender was just running the music off her phone the entire time.