New bars for beer: The latest suds spots in NYC

A whole new set of beercentric watering holes beckon New York drinkers. Check out one of these new bars, halls and gardens during your next weekend crawl.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Harlem Tavern

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Harlem Tavern

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Die Koelner Bierhalle

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Ayinger Celebrator beer at Die Koelner Bierhalle

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Die Koelner Bierhalle

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Bia Bar

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Bia Bar

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Crown Victoria

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Crown Victoria

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Greenwood Park

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Greenwood Park

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Greenwood Park

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The Kent Ale House

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The Kent Ale House

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Birreria Roma

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Birreria Roma

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Randolph Beer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Randolph Beer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Randolph Beer

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Smorgasbar

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Smorgasbar

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

As beer culture spreads across New York, new bars courting brew nerds are popping up all over town. Expansive beer gardens, German-inspired bier halles and laid-back new bars focusing on craft suds join Gotham’s drinking scene. Tip back a pint at one of these new bars on your next night out.

Crown Victoria Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

(917-719-6072, crownvicbar.com)
Number of taps: 24
Number of bottles: 9
Square footage: 1,500 square feet indoors, and a combined 10,000 square feet of outdoor space, divided between front and back patios
The trappings: Move over, Union Pool; with its massive backyard, lawn chairs and parasol-topped tables, this converted police-car repair shop is the new place to be for warm-weather boozing in the ’Burg. When the weather cools, warm up inside in a booth by the fireplace.
The crowd: There’s a fair balance of high-energy groups and chilled-out loners drinking at the bar. Given Crown Vic’s address, the high tattoo-and–T-shirt quotient is no surprise.
Brew-nerd factor: Low. A third of the mostly domestic suds options are kept in rotation, so there’s usually something new to try, but the offerings aren’t designed to bait the beer cognoscenti. In addition to the basics (Stella, $6), there’s plenty of everyday appeal in local choices such as Sixpoint Sweet Action ($6) and seasonal ales like a citrusy Summer Session from Maine’s Peak Organic ($6).
The grub: Built-to-share drinking snacks include a platter of crispy nachos piled high with smoky, slow-braised pork, pico de gallo and sour cream ($9). Vegetables and herbs grown in Crown Vic’s backyard pop up in a fried-green-tomato sandwich ($10) layered with tangy goat cheese and slaw. Also popular is a weekly pig roast (Sun 4pm), where you can score a plate of pork and sides for $15.
The entertainment: Competitive types will be pleased to find plenty of games: There’s bocce and Ping-Pong, as well as trivia on the first Monday of each month. A big-screen TV, meanwhile, displays events ranging from the Olympics to the Oscars.
Value: Fair: The highest-priced food item caps off at $18 for steak frites. For the best bang for your buck, try the prix-fixe brunch, which gets you two mimosas or Bloody Marys with your eggs for a meager $15.

  1. 60 South 2nd St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
More info

Harlem Tavern

(212-866-4500, harlemtavern.com)
Number of taps: 20
Number of bottles: 26
Square footage: 3,000 square feet indoors; 3,000 square feet outdoors
The trappings: Conveniently located on top of the B and C lines’ 116th St subway station, this welcoming and spacious spot is outfitted with communal tables and a sizable bar. Outside on the cement patio there is also ample seating and prompt table service.
The crowd: The patrons are as diverse as the beer list—a confluence of unbuttoned after-work types, uptowners on unfussy date nights and groups of Columbia coeds.
Brew-nerd factor: Medium. If you want to stick to your trusty Guinness, no one’s going to hold it against you. But should you choose to wander off the beaten path, the genial waitstaff—always quick to offer a taste of that pour you’re pondering—is more than happy to help you navigate the options. The well-rounded lineup is crowd-pleasing, with a healthy balance of classic standbys (Radeberger, $7; Delerium Tremens, $10), craft-ale oddities (Blue Point Blueberry $6) and seasonal drafts (Victory Summer Ale, $7).
The grub: There’s an all-things-to-all-people quality to the expansive menu: flatbreads, meal-sized salads, burgers of all stripes, hearty New American mains and daily specials. Still, we liked the Moroccan spiced lamb burger, slathered with a habit-forming goat-cheese-and-pesto paste ($12). Also delicious are the tender bourbon-braised short ribs ($20), drenched in veal jus.
The entertainment: Take your pick among theme nights, like Karaoke Mondays, Lobster Tuesdays with live soul and blues, Fat Wednesdays with NOLA-inspired bluegrass or live jazz during weekend brunch.
Value: If you get a proper dinner, you’ll feel like you’re in a restaurant rather than a beer garden, and your bill will rise accordingly. If you’re just stopping by for a beer during happy hour (Mon–Fri 4–7pm), you’ll spend only a fiver for a pint of Yuengling, Bud Light or Shock Top.

  1. 2153 Frederick Douglass Blvd (Eighth Ave) at 116th St
Book online

Birreria Roma

(212-924-1970, pizzaromanyc.com)
Number of taps: 0
Number of bottles: 4
Square footage: 400 square feet of outdoor space
The trappings: The Birreria is actually a reservation-only annex of Bleecker Street slice spot Pizza Roma. Call ahead to eat and drink alfresco (212-924-1970, 917-704-4886) and wend through the restaurant to find the intimate, candlelit secret garden; once you’ve made your way in, you might never want to leave. Exposed brick, rustic tables and white fencing—plus a thicket of fig trees and fragrant basil, rosemary and sage—make Roma a spot with serious date-night appeal.
The crowd: Exuberant Italian speakers are sprinkled in among the indigenous New Yorkers, mostly young professionals, who populate the place.
Brew-nerd factor: Low—for now. Consider this a beer garden with an emphasis on the garden: At the moment, the birra options are limited to Heineken, two variants from Moretti and the orange-blossom–laced AMA Bionda. But the nerd presence may increase in the coming month: Italian owner Andrea Franchini plans to bring in three more options from the Boot: Menabrea, Birra Peroni and ’Na Biretta, the last one a local favorite in Rome.
The grub: The kitchen rolls out classic Roman-style dishes like arancini rice balls, sun-dried-tomato–dotted salads, and square, chewy pizzas topped with imported cheese and cured meat. You might skip the lackluster apps and go straight into a round of pizzas, like the Tartufina (small $19.50, large $31.50) with its focaccia-like crust and robust, gooey topping of nutty fontina and truffle cream.
The entertainment: There’s no music or game nights to speak of, but the charming European vibe at the Birreria is an amusement unto itself.
Value: Averaging $17.50 for a small pizza, this spot ain’t cheap, but a beer-and-pizza-pairing menu for two ($60) is available Monday through Wednesday. The deal buys samples of all the beers (minus the everyday Heineken), plus three sharable pizzas, including a dessert pie.

  1. Behind Pizza Roma, 259 Bleecker St at Cornelia St
More info

Randolph Beer

(212-334-3706, randolphnyc.com)
Number of taps: 48
Number of bottles: Around a dozen, though the list varies depending on availability
Square footage: 2,000 square feet indoors; 200 square feet of outdoor sidewalk seating
The trappings: Reclaimed materials—Ford Model T headlights, planks from a Kentucky tobacco barn—contribute to the rustic feel. Pull up a high stool at the bar, or choose a cozy wooden booth or a table on the sidewalk patio.
The crowd: Beer geeks, rowdy after-work troops and couples share the space, especially on busy weekend nights.
Brew-nerd factor: High. This is a deep and extensive catalog of mostly American craft beers, with a few Belgian and German selections rounding things out. There’s plenty of manna for hops-heads, but the menu is designed to be novice-friendly, with quick-read headers like “Crisp & Light” and “Tart & Funky.” From the latter category, we dig Bavik’s adventurous Petrus Oud Bruin ($12), a creamy and sour Flanders red ale. Whatever you pick, it will be served in proper glassware and at an optimum temperature, thanks to customized kegerators, housed below the bar.
The grub: Small plates include tangy, togarashi-spiced shishito peppers ($8) and russels sprouts roasted with maple and bacon lardoons ($7). If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, try the Portuguese chicken sandwich ($14) with zesty aioli on a crunchy ciabatta roll—a good match for River Horse’s Tripel Horse ($9), a bodacious abbey-style tripel that packs a 10% ABV wallop.
The entertainment: Two 52-inch flatscreens broadcast major sporting events, but are tastefully hidden when they’re not on. Day drinkers can rollick to a bluegrass and country band during brunch, and live jazz is planned for the fall and winter months.
Value: Flexible. There’s a beverage for you no matter your buying power, from a $6 tin of Porkslap to a $30 bottle of Southampton Saison Deluxe.

  1. 343 Broome St between Bowery and Elizabeth St
Book online

Bia Bar

  • Price band: 1/4

(718-388-0908, biabargrill.com)
Number of taps: 13
Number of bottles: 7
Square footage: 1,400 square feet indoors; 1,000 square feet of outdoor rooftop space
The trappings: An ancient carriage house turned auto-repair shop turned bar and restaurant, the space is vast and industrial, outfitted with stylish touches such as exposed brick, a long, handsome communal table and lamps hanging in woven, basketlike shades. Quirky details include a working piano and signs salvaged from the spot’s last occupant, Vince’s General Auto Repair. The spacious rooftop deck is appointed with picnic tables and umbrellas, but surrounding buildings block the view.
The crowd: Sparse, at the moment: Williamsburg drinkers have yet to stumble upon this low-key joint, leaving plenty of rooftop elbow room for early-adopting bargoers.
Brew-nerd factor: Low. It’s a primarily domestic list, with the exception of several Vietnamese bottles: Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City cult favorite 33 Export ($5), a light lager with bright aromas of rice and lemon. Other accessible options include the appley McKenzie’s cider ($6), cracked open by knowledgeable—if aloof—bartenders.
The grub: Owner Duke Quan (of now-defunct dive bar Duke’s on Avenue C) reimagines standards from his native Vietnam to pair with your suds. The grilled-shrimp-and-julienned-green-papaya salad, topped with smoky peanuts ($8), offers a welcome spicy kick, the perfect counterpoint to the light, honey-tinged Greenport Harbor Summer Ale ($6). There are also noodle dishes like bun cha gio thit nuong ($9), a heady bowl of rice vermicelli strands, crispy spring rolls, and juicy BBQ pork garnished with basil and shredded carrot.
The entertainment: No-cover performances from local bands are a frequent treat; couple your drinking session with live jazz on Wednesday and Sunday nights. On Mondays, when the kitchen is closed, Bia screens movies.
Value: Beer prices are standard for the nabe, with a dollar off all drinks during happy hour (until 8pm). Food options also skew wallet-friendly: A hearty main will set you back just $9.

  1. 67 South 6th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
More info

Kent Ale House

  • Price band: 1/4

(347-227-8624, kentalehouse.com)
Number of taps: 24
Number of bottles: 20
Square footage: 1,600 square feet indoors and 500 square feet of outdoor sidewalk seating
The trappings: The heart of the room is a stately pre-Prohibition mahogany bar, which looks particularly regal with light streaming in from flung-open windows. But we’d sooner take our pints onto the 50-seat patio for a stunning sunset view.
The crowd: Kent offers a mellow, slightly yuppie sampling of laid-back neighborhood types enjoying the kind of calm you can find in Williamsburg only this far from Bedford Avenue. The scene varies drastically, though, depending on who’s playing at Williamsburg Park, a music venue located just across the street.
Brew-nerd factor: High. The well-curated craft beers—many of which change every two weeks—are listed on the menu, along with how far each traveled from brewery to bar. You can keep it local with a Brooklyn Brown Ale produced just down the street ($6), or choose among farther-flung options, such as a funky, refreshing Blanche de Bruxelles (3,657 miles; $7); an unfiltered Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA (3,285 miles; $7); or an Abita Vanilla Doubledog (1,146 miles; $15), a dark New Orleans ale brewed with whole vanilla beans.
The grub: There’s a BYOB (build your own burger) option, but we found the patties to be distressingly overcooked. Better to stick with snacks, like the crisp and fragrant rosemary fries with garlic aioli.
The entertainment: Live music in the fireplace-outfitted back room is in the works; for now, play some tipsy Ping-Pong, watch soccer and football games on one of several TVs; or stop by Mondays for game night featuring Scrabble and more.
Value: Take advantage of a $5 craft beer of the day during happy hour (daily 5–8pm). A meal won’t break the bank, but for the same price you can find a more satisfying feast in this restaurant-heavy ’hood.

  1. 51 Kent Ave at North 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
More info

Greenwood Park

(718-499-7999, greenwoodparkbk.com)
Number of taps: 24
Number of bottles: 6
Square footage: 3,000 square feet indoors; 10,000 square feet outdoors
The trappings: A former mechanic shop, Greenwood proudly displays remnants of its industrial past: an outdoor bar made out of a shipping container, walls composed of wooden pallets, retractable doors and steel-legged picnic tables. The gravel courtyard is the real treat, though, providing a relaxed roominess you just can’t find in most of the city.
The crowd: Given its Park Slope-adjacent location, it’s no surprise that the scene is family-friendly, with a healthy contingent of new parents knocking back beers beside strollers (there’s a 7pm curfew for the little ones). Despite the baby-fever crowd, the place retains a party atmosphere, thanks to speakers streaming excellent tunes from M83, Miami Horror and the like.
Brew-nerd factor: Medium. The craft selections are mainstream (but unimpeachable) standards. The brews are broken down into two rather broad categories: “Brewed in NY” (e.g., spicy Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, $6) and “Brewed Elsewhere” (floral Gaffel Kölsch, $6, from Germany). Ultimately, about 70% of the beers hail from in-state breweries.
The grub: Straightforward bar eats include a decent burger ($8), ranch-smothered onion rings ($5) and addictive honey-sriracha wings (six for $6). There’s also a seasonal menu featuring evanescent produce like corn, grilled on the cob and heaped Mexican-style with cotija cheese, lime and cilantro ($5).
The entertainment: Numerous televisions hang from industrial-strength chains for watching sports, and there are three bocce courts, as well as a variety of board games, from Connect Four to Jenga.
Value: Happy hour (Mon–Fri, noon–7pm) provides $3 draft beers to the masses. Enough said. Note that it’s cash only, though there are two ATMs on site.

  1. 555 Seventh Ave between 19th and 20th Sts, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
More info

Smorgasbar

(brooklynflea.com). Saturdays only.
Number of taps: 3
Number of bottles: 0
Square footage: The all-weather outdoor bar is 3,000 square feet—just a fraction of Smorgasburg’s 40,000-square foot arena
The trappings: Located in the northern end of the flea market’s riverside lot, Smorgasbar separates its 21-and-over patrons from the rest of the fair with a rope pen. The area is filled with picnic tables topped with umbrellas, but these become rapidly packed, leaving many drinkers with the difficult task of juggling their food and beverage without a surface to set either one on.
The crowd: You’ll share a table with families, food obsessives and lively day drinkers—just about anyone intent on enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Brew-nerd factor: Medium. Despite the limited Kings County–only options, you’ll have the opportunity to try some very exclusive beers: Smorgasbar is one of the few places where you can drink Brooklyn Brewery’s Blanche de Brooklyn ($6), a peppery, pale witbier brewed with curaçao orange peel and coriander seeds. You can also try selections from Kelso and Sixpoint, or down wine and spirits produced in the borough.
The grub: The bar’s location within the gastro-market means there’s a rich selection of intriguing artisanal fare to pair with your tipple. Pick up your food before heading into the bar space—we love Cemita’s ten-layer chicken sandwich, spiced with citrusy papalo, and Bon Chovie’s silvery fried fish—as boozing is restricted to the roped-in area.
The entertainment: Savor the skyline and the waterside breeze, or show up for one of Smorgasburg’s organized events. On Sept 15, find out how many dumplings competitors can down in two minutes at the Chef One Dumpling Eating contest, or browse vinyl from indie labels and vintage dealers while local DJs spin at the Record Fair on Oct 6.
Value: A 14-ounce beer will set you back a fair $6, but it’s the temptation to spend loads on food that can drive up the cost of your outing.

  1. 27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Die Koelner Bierhalle

(347-227-7238, thekbh.com)
Number of taps: 30 Number of bottles 40
Square footage: 4,000 square feet indoors
The trappings: With its typical German timbered facade, 20-foot-high ceilings and vestiges of its past as a lumber warehouse, Die Koelner looks like the love child of a Brooklyn industrial space and a traditional beer garden in Cologne. The soaring space is furnished with a bar and long communal tables, which keep neighbors close and the mood friendly.
The crowd: For the time being, Die Koelner is low-key, with packs of Slope dwellers unwinding on weekends and after work. But the bar is located just a few minutes’ walk from Barclays Center, so expect rowdy Nets fans and concertgoers when the divisive stadium opens its doors.
Brew-nerd factor: High. The expansive 70-plus collection of exclusively German beers avoids big labels, favoring craft brews with limited availability in the U.S. According to owner Andre Jordan, Die Koelner is the only place in the country that serves Sion Kölsch ($6 for 0.4 liter), a refreshing draft with a light malty flavor, produced in Cologne. Count on solicitous service and useful written descriptions to find something that suits you.
The grub: The Teutonic theme carries over to the menu of sausages, spaetzle and pretzels, which (awkwardly) can’t be ordered at the table. Queue up at the food counter to select among nine varieties of bratwurst, including a tangy-sweet currywurst ($5), served with a kaiser roll and sauerkraut.
The entertainment: Limited, although there is a projector for big-deal sporting events, like the NFL playoffs and European soccer games.
Value: It’s a pretty good buy for the neighborhood: You can get a stein (that’s a full liter of beer) and a meal—until 4am, no less—for under 20 bucks.

  1. 84 St. Marks Pl between Fourth and Fifth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn
More info

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