From Bar Reviews

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The Well, Bushwick

By Meredith Heil It’s no secret that New York City has undergone something akin to a full on craft beer revolution over the past few years. Demand for great craft beer (and lots and lots of it) is on the up and up, and the citizens of New York have proven themselves a thirsty bunch…

From Barcade to Shining Barcade

By Meredith Heil When Paul Kermezian and four of his buddies opened the first Barcade in 2004, it was a total game changer… literally. Set in a cavernous converted Williamsburg metal shop, Barcade masterfully united Kermezian’s two great loves: vintage video games and excellent craft beer, a marriage that has delighted New York beer geeks for over a decade. The concept was so successful, in fact, that Kermezian and his crew went on to open more Barcades, first in Jersey City, then Philadelphia and now Manhattan, hitting the city hard with not one, but two brand spanking new sudsy arcades.…

Hops Hill, Clinton Hill

By Meredith Heil Hops Hill is perched on the corner of Waverly and Fulton Street, smack dab in between both Clinton-Washington C Train exits – a prime location for attracting Clinton Hill’s thirsty after work crowd. The cozy taproom evokes a cool calm – very Brooklyn -–with its thick, rectangular marble bar, raw plank shelving, subtle jazz-and-soul soundtrack and glass-enclosed bare bulbs dangling from the ceiling. The space is intimate – besides the ample bar, there are just a few tables in the window and a handful of stools beneath a narrow rail. The taps are unmarked, and a tall…

Fool’s Gold, Lower East Side

By Meredith Heil Fool’s Gold is basically the beer bar equivalent of a fantasy band. A mishmash of local craft rockstars (Idle Hands, The Jeffrey, Alewife) opened the Lower East Side haunt in 2013, combining their passion for great beer and food with an aesthetic that fits the hipper-than-hip neighborhood. Big, open windows welcome Houston Street passersby inside, where 30 rotating taps, a vast array of high end liquors and $1 happy hour oysters make them stay for hours. An enormously long bar with plenty of seating takes up most of the dimly lit space. A row of tap handles…

Breukelen Bier Merchants, Williamsburg

By  Meredith Heil On Saturdays, I lead organized pub crawls of Williamsburg for the suds-centric walking tour company, Urban Oyster. Each bar along the boozy 3-hour traipse represents a different slice of the craft beer pie, from the 25-tap hipster cave known as Barcade, to Mugs, which could best be described as “Cheers” with a killer draft list. Yet while all the beer dens we visit are beautiful snowflakes in their own right, my absolute favorite has to be stop number three: Breukelen Bier Merchants.  Named for the traditional Dutch spelling of Brooklyn, Grand Street’s Breukelen Bier Merchants is the…

Beer Culture, Midtown

By Meredith Heil When I left my part-time job in the Lower East Side for a full-time gig in midtown, I figured my happiest happy hours were behind me. Gone were those late afternoons spent indulging in $1.50 oysters and ½ price pints at Schiller’s Liquor Bar, pickle plates and IPAs at Spitzer’s and epic tap takeovers at Top Hops. How I pined for those downtown evenings as I descended into the 50th Street station after my first day at the new office, surrounded by suits and briefcases and sandwich boards advertising martini specials, Corona longnecks and pitchers of Miller.…

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Pickle Shack, Gowanus

By Meredith Heil There are some bars that begin as rumors, mere whisperings amongst beer savvy friends and  industry enthusiasts, subtle hints as to when and where the alleged joint will pop up. Pickle Shack – Dogfish Head founder and craft beer rockstar Sam Calagione’s newest Brooklyn-based outpost – was one of those bars. Pickle…

Bavaria Bierhaus, Financial District

Manhattan’s Financial District hasn’t always been the best place to sit down and imbibe some craft beer in the after-work hours, but recently a spate of bars have cropped up, particularly along Stone Street. Bavaria Bierhaus, which opened this past December, is one of them. Bavaria Bierhaus is a Lower-Manhattan destination for German beer and food. It’s under the same ownership as nearby Beckett’s and the Dubliner: partners Noel McDermott, David Massey, Ronan Downs, and Eamon Massey. The tap and bottle list spans includes Pilsners, Hefeweiens, Dunkels and Bocks. The beers are supported by a creative and tasty menu imagined…

Nostrand Avenue Pub, Crown Heights

By Meredith Heil On today’s Brooklyn streets, a bar is born every minute. To help navigate this ever-widening sea of suds, I’ve developed a checklist that outlines all the qualities necessary for a joint to be considered not just a good, but a great neighborhood bar. – A relaxed, no pressure atmosphere. I’ll pass on the fancy shots and bottle service in favor of comfy booths, mellow tunes and toned down décor. – A solid draft list. I’m talking quality over quantity here – I’d much rather see 10 creatively curated, diverse selections than 50 big name hop bombs of…

Glorietta Baldy, Bed-Stuy

By Meredith Heil Brothers Ben, Seth and Mike Wiley are no strangers to Brooklyn beer bars. In 2006, the boys opened Bar Great Harry in Carol Gardens, a 20-tap joint that quickly became the late-night spot for local hopheads. Geeky masterpiece The Owl Farm and the laid back, airy Mission Dolores followed, both now integral parts of Park Slope’s ample craft beer scene. In 2013, the brothers ventured east, seeing potential in a dark, neglected storefront on a shadowy stretch of Franklin Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Nestled beneath the elevated shuttle train is Glorietta Baldy, the neighborhood’s newest craft beer den…