Best craft-beer bars

These hops havens set the standard.

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  • Photograph: Tina Zimmer

    barcade01

    Barcade

  • Photograph: Dave Sanders

    bgh04

    BGH

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

    blindtiger07

    Blind Tiger Ale House

  • Photograph: courtesy the Bronx Alehouse

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    The Bronx Alehouse

  • Photograph: Eric Harvey Brown

    dba01

    d.b.a.

Photograph: Tina Zimmer

barcade01

Barcade


Barcade
Prepare to geek out at this temple to beer and vintage arcade games: first at the 35 classic quarter machines (Donkey Kong, Contra), then at the ever-evolving beer selection detailed on a chalkboard above the bar. Owner Paul Kermizian stocks only American beer, with 75 percent of his haul hailing from the Northeast. But despite constant lineup changes, he manages to maintain remarkable stylistic balance—on the 24-tap draft list, you might see a crisp Victory pilsner alongside a diverse trio of stouts and a yeasty black ale from New Hampshire's White Birch Brewing. Bimonthly events include tap takeovers that give patrons access to the full range of offerings from a single producer. 388 Union Ave between Ainslie and Powers Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-6464, barcadebrooklyn.com)

Bar Great Harry
If you want craft suds sans all the snooty posturing, bend an elbow at this democratic tavern. You'll find Bud drinkers and neighborhood folk with their dogs alongside hops-heads exploring the 24 mostly domestic drafts ($5--$7). While the dizzying selection of choices rotates frequently, expect esteemed names like Avery, Founders and whichever brewer stops by for BGH's frequent tastings—a recent visit from Northern California's Bear Republic introduced patrons to a number of experimental sour beers that had never before made it to New York City. A 40-strong bottle list ($5--$25) complements the taps with international standards like Saison Dupont and Aventinus. 280 Smith St at Sackett St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-222-1103, bargreatharry.com)

Blind Tiger Ale House
Long before craft entered the lexicon, there was Blind Tiger, one of the OGs of the New York beer scene. Since its arrival in 1995, Blind Tiger has achieved legendary status thanks to a meticulously curated program and some of the city's best bar food. The 28 taps ($6.50--$11), two casks and one gravity keg (usually $7), plus more than 80 bottles ($7--$55), make this the first port of call for brewhounds who want to track down pours they can't find anywhere else. Weekly events, including meet-the-brewer nights and frequent style showcases, help drinkers navigate the hunt. 281 Bleecker St at Jones St (212-462-4682, blindtigeralehouse.com)

The Bronx Ale House
This Boogie Down saloon isn't just the best beer bar in the Bronx—for our money, it's unrivaled anywhere north of midtown. Uptowners have the bar's co-owner Chris Guidice to thank: In less than two years, the brick-walled joint has become a bona fide craft headquarters, hosting boisterous guest-brewer events, doling out growlers ($10--$15), and attracting loyalists who attempt to sample and rate 100 different quaffs for the bar's Beer Club. And thanks to a lineup of 16 domestic-leaning taps, one rotating cask and more than 30 bottles, hitting the hundred mark isn't all that hard a task. Minding your drinking dollars is also easy: All drafts are $1 off each weekday until 7pm. 216 W 238th St between Putnam Ave West and Review Pl, Bronx (718-601-0204, bronxalehouse.com)

d.b.a.
When it opened in 1995, this trailblazer embraced all the contemporary beer memes while most NYC bars were still dealing in Miller and Coors. Beer lovers fond of European classics as much as the domestic microbrewery du jour will appreciate the scope of the 20-deep draft selection (most $7): You might find an orange-tinged Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier from Germany alongside New York beers such as the velvety Southampton Imperial Porter. Even more impressive is the encyclopedic bottle list: All seven Trappist breweries are represented, plus Dogfish Head World Wide Stout (at 18 percent ABV, one of the most alcoholic beers on the market; $9) and British oddities such as the cellar-aged Thomas Hardy Ale ($10). And for those looking for an upgraded boilermaker, dig into d.b.a.'s vast whiskey offerings—it's not often you can chase your craft beer with a rare Glenrothes Select Reserve ($18). 41 First Ave between 2nd and 3rd Sts (212-475-5097, drinkgoodstuff.com)

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2 comments
amy c.
amy c.

Small home town feel with family feeling and great help!! Growlers pub & grill in Lyons NY!!

Mark
Mark

Great list! I've been to most of them, and stayed awhile at each. I'm also happy to see that the people at Rattle N Hum have opened up Beer Authority, a new craft beer bar in Times Square. Same high quality craft beer, and even more of it, with a total of 80 taps.