The 10 Best Draft-Beer Bars in New York


Some like it bottled. Some like it canned. But really, is there a better experience with beer than when it's drawn from a tap? When that brew is poured, it offers the delightful hoppy blend in true form. The only challenge is that to enjoy a real draft beer, you've gotta head to a bar -- well, unless you're still living in that college house with a kegerator in the kitchen.

So what makes a bar's draft selection great? The quantity? The quality? Are cask options needed? Is the atmosphere important? Must bartenders be knowledgeable? Well, the answers aren't simple. Keeping all these factors in mind, Fork in the Road chugged as many drafts as possible to come up with our list of 10 favorite draft-beer bars. Of course, our fair city is hardly lacking in premier beer bars, and it was impossible for us to hit all of them, so if we missed your favorite suds emporium, let us know your pick in the comments section below.

Select brews are $4 during a daily happy hour.

10. The Habitat
This quiet, tiny bar at the tip-top of Greenpoint is a hidden gem. With 12 brews on tap, the selection isn't extreme. What makes Habitat special, though, is that these folks not only know their beer, but they also aren't assholes about sharing tips. On a recent trip, I enjoyed the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, a drink the bartender recommended and informed me is aged up to six weeks in bourbon barrels following brewing. The bar rotates its brews weekly and offers a daily $4 draft happy hour on select options. You'll be challenged to find a friendlier, happier spot for beerheads.
988 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint; 718-383-5615

If you find yourself stuck in Midtown, look for this jovial bar.

9. Rattle 'N' Hum
Because the place is a staple of the New York beer scene (hell, perhaps even the national beer scene), you might be a little nervous to walk through the intimidating doorway found just a couple blocks from the Empire State Building. But have no fear: On top of the fact that Rattle 'N' Hum offers nearly 40 beers on tap (and a cask, if you're into that), the bartenders are friendly and are all about appreciation of beer. Even if you don't know the difference between a stout and an ale, they'll happily educate you.
14 East 33rd Street; 212-481-1586

A couple of goblets of German joy in the charming, creaky basement known as Jimmy's No. 43

8. Jimmy's No. 43
The dark, dimly lit bar found in a basement in the East Village is a beer lover's dream. The joint tends to specialize in German and Belgium brews, rotating 11 choices of rarities, such as the Freigeist Brettokolong, an unfiltered kölsch fermented with brettanomyces, now on tap. Owner Jimmy Carbone is a bit of a local foodie legend, known for his friendly and knowledgeable demeanor, and unsurprisingly, his bartenders follow suit. As a bonus for the true beer nerds, Jimmy's offers a Tuesday-night tasting session where you can sample every brew on tap for only 10 bucks.
43 East 7th Street; 212-982-3006

Location Info


Rattle N Hum

14 E. 33rd St., New York, NY

Category: Music

Jimmy's No. 43

43 E. Seventh St., New York, NY

Category: Music


41 1st Ave., New York, NY

Category: Music

The Pony Bar

637 10th Ave., New York, NY

Category: Music


102 St Marks Place, New York, NY

Category: Music

Blind Tiger Alehouse

281 Bleecker St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

Spuyten Duyvil

359 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

The Diamond

43 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music

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Gingerman is way too expensive.


Patrick doesn't work at Rattle N Hum so it sucks now. Should have picked AleWife, though it is admittedly shaky.


Habitat & Luckydog over Brouwerij Lane? Terrible.


The lack of Queens/Bronx spots is embarrassing. Sunswick 35-35 & Bronx Alehouse, thank you very much.


And I guess Bierkraft doesn't really count, but it puts all these places to shame.


Some solid choices. I don't see how Rattle N Hum isn't first on every list like this; it has 5x the taps of some of the top choices and a staff that is very welcoming to newbies, and you can often get $5 beers, especially on Sundays. An up and comer is Brickyard Gastropub, a two-year old bar in Hell's Kitchen that is developing a stellar reputation among craft beer geeks. An even newer place to consider is Tir na nOg Times Square, which offers about 30 beers on tap, including Irish and Belgian stalwarts as well as an impressive line-up of American craft beers.


Some solid choices. I don't see how Rattle N Hum isn't first on every list like this; it has 5x the taps of some of the top choices and a staff that is very welcoming to newbies. 


In your zeal to plug Manhattan and Brooklyn beer bars, you neglected the Bronx, where the Bronx Ale House is the equal of, if not superior to, every bar on your list. I know this, because I've been to most of them. During a quick check of, I saw the following stats on their current lineup: cask ale: 1; on tap: 16; bottles: 28; cans: 8. Your "best bar" features only 8 tap beers? Laughable. Moreover, the food at Bronx Ale House is excellent, with a menu of new and fresh takes on pub grub designed by a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef. You all need to get out of your downtown Manhattan-Brooklyn bubble and experience more of the city.


Bronx Ale House: 216 West 238th St., Bronx, NY 10463, 718-601-0204, 1/2 block from the 1 train 238 St. stop.


No Gingerman or DBGB?


I take it you have never been to the Gingerman.