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