New York City

Like a Local: 7 Essential Craft Beer Bars in Manhattan

by Christopher Kompanek  |  Published June 10, 2016

Craft beer has saturated New York City to the point that it’s hard to walk into a bar anymore and not find something decent on tap. But there’s a big gap between decent and transcendent and only so many times you can drink a Brooklyn Lager.

The cozy front room at Jimmy’s No. 43. (Photo: courtesy of Jimmy’s No. 43)

The cozy front room at Jimmy’s No. 43. (Photo: courtesy of Jimmy’s No. 43)

Knowing where to get the best pint when there are so many options available is as tricky as it is overwhelming. These seven places offer an extensive selection to sample and then passionately quaff.

Jimmy’s No. 43

Hidden down a small set of stairs on the same block as the tourist magnet McSorley’s, this basement space evokes a Belgian Abbey with its angled archways and rich wood detailing. Cozy up to the intimate bar and try the latest from local brewers like Other Half and Threes. Owner Jimmy Carbone’s carefully curated list includes bottled-aged ciders and is usually one of the first to feature breweries like Spain’s L’anjub Cervesa.

43 E 7th St

The Ginger Man

With over sixty taps, the Ginger Man has one of the largest selections on draft and a cavernous space to boot. Located in a nightlife dead zone near the Empire State Building, it’s most crowded during the early evening post-work hours. Current offerings include Boulevard’s Hibiscus Gose and a Danish mead from Dansk Mjod that clocks in at 18% abv.

11 East 36th St

Pony Bar

A typically lively night at Pony Bar. (Photo: Dan Dickinson via Flickr)

A typically lively night at Pony Bar. (Photo: Dan Dickinson via Flickr)

With twenty taps that constantly rotate, there’s always something new to try at Pony Bar. The name comes from the small beers that people would drink between horse races. Drafts are poured in two sizes (8oz and 14oz) depending on their strength and rareness. Bartenders used to sound a bell when they tapped a new keg and manually change the beer list, now the process is digitized but the selection still ever extensive.

637 10th Ave

1444 1st Ave

Blind Tiger

Sometimes it’s hard to even walk through the door of this tiny Village spot, but if you’re able to squeeze in, you’ll be rewarded with some rare pours like a barley wine from Norway’s Voss Bryggeri. For a more local choice, try Greenpoint Harbor’s iteration on cask made with candied ginger.

281 Bleecker St

Drop Off Service

Housed in a former Laundromat, this often-raucous spot on the border of Alphabet City features a daily 8-hour happy hour. With several large booths and a dog-friendly policy, it’s an ideal spot for day drinking. Other Half’s Flowerzzz saison and SingleCut’s Mad Michael Flying V Sour Lagrrr! make for nice sessionable choices.

211 Ave A

The Jeffrey

Some of the many taps at The Jeffrey. (Photo: courtesy of The Jeffrey)

Some of the many taps at The Jeffrey. (Photo: courtesy of The Jeffrey)

Wedged on a narrow block near the entrance of the 59th St bridge, this hidden gem evokes an elegant wooded retreat complete with a backyard garden. The 30+ draft choices are equally impressive and a great way to expand your knowledge. They’re currently featuring a selection from the Belgian brewery Kerkom along with hoppy offerings from San Diego’s Modern Times and Pennsylvania’s Tired Hands.

311 E 60th St

Proletariat   

This tiny and narrow spot prides itself on “rare and unusual” beers and delivers with offerings like a smoky gose collaboration between Evil Twin and Two Roads featuring ingredients like sea kelp and Icelandic yogurt sourced from a joint trip to Iceland.

102 St. Marks Pl

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