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
988 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY