On recent visit to NYC I had the distinct pleasure of visiting two very fine bars that had previously been recommended on various Chowhound threads.
Being a "veteran" of Chicago's great microTapPubs I'm always impressed when a bar has a very wide selection and obviously specializes in craft brews.
Here's two that are very worthwhile:
1) The Ginger Man. 11 E. 36th st. The wider selection. Also more of the "blazer and tie" set. Reasonably wide age range. Pleasant, "warm woodsie" interior. Very low Seat / Customer ratio which is a major negative. Probably more than half the thick crowd is standing.
VERY GOOD BREW SELECTION ON TAP, perhaps not quite on par with Chicago's very very best, but getting there. Some highlights: A) Pale Ales: Stone IPA (very rare), Anchor Liberty, Victory Hop Devil...all 3 benchmark IPA's and several others. B) Porters: Fuller's London Porter ON TAP no less... C) Stouts: kind of weak here...no North Coast, no Victory, no Rogue...in fact Guiness is the only "non-flavored" stout, a big hole in the menu for December D) Wheats: The awesome Julius Echter on tap...creamy German lemonade that won first place on the tasting at www.FullHouseTrader.com E) Barley Wine ON TAP: the awesome Anchor Foghorn (beer heaven), and the serviceable if inconsistent Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
The Belgians were all commercial lines but they have Rochefort and Wesvleteren in the bottle.
Overall just a real good if not deep cross section with the glaring shortage of stouts and imperial stouts for this time of year. Also the standing room situation may not be appropriate depending on the kind of socialization you have in mind.
2) D.B.A....around 1st and 1st. Atmospherically, This place is the opposite of the Ginger Man...no suits and ties, much better seating. The tap selection is not quite as vast as Ginger Man, but you'll find a great microbrew in almost every category here. Much more to our liking from the seating and conversing standpoint though Ginger Man would get the nod for total selection.
STILL....if you want the best, you gotta come to Chicago and hit the Map Room and Hop Leaf. Even Jak's and Sheffield's would give Ginger a run. For all the cuisines that Chicago doesn't quite match up to NYC, one category that the Windy City excels is great beer, lol.
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