Good Beer Seal #BeerAdventure Recap

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So we visited all 41 Good Beer Seal bars in one month. You’ve already read our advice if you’d like to do it yourself and what we learned along the way. It was a lot of bars to visit in one month. We had some really great beer, that’s for sure. We got to try Heady Topper for the first time, and are really into Carton’s beers at the moment, specifically their Boat beer and Monkey Chased the Weasel.

But how can our experience help you? It’s likely that many of you don’t want to take on your own 41-bar #beeradventure. So we’ve picked out our favorites, and also the ones we didn’t particularly enjoy, to share with you. Here’s a roundup:

Best All-Around: The Diamond. This is a really cool place – awesome food, friendly people, great beer. Free shuffleboard and a great outdoor space (with a gondola!). We walked in there and just wanted to stay.

The gondola on the patio at the Diamond.

Best Food: Earl’s Beer and Cheese, Bierkraft, 61 Local. You can’t go wrong with eating at any of these places.

Best Escape: 124 Rabbit Club, Jimmy’s No. 43 and Idle Hands. Basement-level, dark, these are great hideaways from surrounding Manhattan streets.

The inside of Idle Hands

Best International Selection: Spuyten Duyvil. A seemingly endless list of beer from places like Belgium, Germany and France.

The bar at Spuyten Duyvil.

Biggest Surprise: Killmeyer’s Bavarian Inn. Yea, we’ll fess up – we didn’t want to go here either. And the scenery on the drive doesn’t look promising. But at the end is a lovely German bar/restaurant/beer garden that we really enjoyed.

The bar at Killmeyer’s

Best Happy Hour: Against the Grain. $3 drafts, $1 oysters. ‘Nuff said.

Best for a Date: Beer Table. Intimate, quiet, delicious.

Quietest: Burp Castle. You know, when you want to drink your Belgian beers with the bartender shushing you every 10 minutes. But really, it’s quite a lovely environment.

Most Fun: Barcade. Beer plus arcade games equals mega fun.

Worth the Trip: Pine Box Rock Shop, Brouwerij Lane, Adobe Blues. They’re not the easiest to get to, but they’re all totally worth it.

The taps at Pine Box Rock Shop.

Best Outdoor Space: Fourth Avenue Pub, Mission Delores. Great to spend the afternoon in the warm or slightly cool weather.

Most Overrated: The Pony Bar (Hell’s Kitchen). We’re incredibly sorry about this one. But we really love the UES location of the Pony Bar and were disappointed in the Hell’s Kitchen location. It was smaller, didn’t offer lunch, and the ABVs for the beers on the board didn’t match the ones listed on the menu.

Most Generic: George Keeley, East Village Tavern. Kind of like regular bars. George Keeley is Irish-themed.

Most Crowded: Rattle N’ Hum, Bilnd Tiger. These get unpleasantly crowded at most times of the day.

Worst Service: The Stag’s Head. Kind of self-explanatory, but after we ordered, we barely saw our server again.

Comments

  1. After Moving to BK I would say my new favorite although not easy to get to from where I live is Bierkraft due to the combination of the great sandwiches and beer. However, so many others are amazing and after reading your adventures I want to try out some of the other locations as well.

  2. Mine’s a tie between Bierkraft and Barcade. I love Bierkraft’s selection, how friendly everyone is and the sandwiches and cheeses. But I also love Barcade, what is better then old school video games and great beers?

  3. I’ve been to Idle Hands a few times and simply love it, both an amazing beer selection as well as a bourbon selection that is second to (probably) none. It’s cozy and somewhat dark at times, in a good way. The owner is passionate about beer, and alcohol in general, knows a ton and is always willing to share (both his brew and his beer brain). Plus, his name is “The Rev” so it doesn’t get much better than that.

  4. a tie between between Barcade & Idle Hands for me. I’ve been a loyal patron of Barcade since the day they opened. Always rotating taps,knowledgeable staff. big location & of course the machines.
    the Rev & Idle Hands bar is a top contender – because of everything he has going on –
    the GREAT events – $10 tasting wed,(5 beers,whiskey & tots), summer cult film series and tons of others… with a slogan of Bourbon,Beer & Rock you cant go wrong!
    although only a handful of taps a balance of styles and tons of bottles & cans

  5. Idle Hands is pretty tough to beat. Beer (can usually find Blue Point) and bourbon below the street?! And Rev really loves what he does.

  6. Awesome advice and write-up guys! I’ve bookmarked this and will def come back to it when thinking about new places to check out or recommend to other people.

    While it is really, really hard to pick a Good Beer Seal bar fav, I totally agree with many of the other commenters and love Idle Hands as well. Like you guys said, it feels like an escape, plus I love the beer-bourbon-rock theme, it’s laid back and unpretentious, the owners are all passionate and super nice guys, the list goes on and on!!

  7. Idle Hands hands down. It’s my favorite bar in Manhattan and I always end up there at least once a week whether I plan on drinking or not… and having a drink or two… or ten. The selection of beer and bourbon is amazing and though they aren’t Peculiar Pub status they do have the rotating taps as well as bring in new cans and bottles. $10 tastings are fun and a great way to sample beer and learn about the beers you drink and the brewery’s behind the hard work. Love the burgers and tots as well!

  8. Idle Hands would be my pick. I’ve been to NYC twice and made a point if going to over a dozen of the bars/pubs mentioned on the list because I love beer. The staff at Idle Hands was incredibly friendly and knowledgable on top of being generous! The beer was varied and great, and some free pints are always appreciated. I can’t wait for my next trip to the big apple, and IH in particular.

  9. Gotta go with Burp Castle. Took my husband there for his birthday and we loved the quiet, unique atmosphere. It was early Sunday afternoon and we felt like we were in a secret place!

  10. You guys have inspired me with your visit to all the Good Beer Seal bars and the 5-boro trek it took to get you there! Living on Staten Island, my go-to craft beer bar is Adobe Blues, and it is a worthy visit for any outer-boro-ites! Ryan, the manager there, is heavily involved in curating a unique beer list, and it has been a popular (albeit one of the only) craft beer destinations on the Island. Also, it’s pretty easy to get there from the ferry, unlike Kilmeyer’s, which is great but FAR even for a resident of the North Shore. They also have a kick-ass blue corn enchilada! Yum! I

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