New-breed beer stores

Great brews are just a starting point at these souped-up bottled shops, which draw in drinkers with pedigreed eats, home-brew how-tos and more.

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  • Photograph: Alan Rice

    City Swiggers

    City Swiggers

  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

    Cannibal

    The Cannibal

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Growler Station

    Growler Station

  • Photograph: Emily Lamberty

    Beer Table Pantry

    Beer Table Pantry

Photograph: Alan Rice

City Swiggers

City Swiggers

City Swiggers
These days you can't pop a cap without hitting a craft-beer spot in the East Village, but further north in Yorkville, the pickings are slim. That changed somewhat in late October, when former Wall Street trader Alan Rice opened this serious suds shop, with a central bar that's fast becoming a UES staple. Swing by after work to fill a growler, or relax at one of the wood tables with a pint or flight (four four-ounce pours for $10 and up). You can choose from 14 rotating draft lines, ranging from the sessionable Wandering Star Zingari witbier ($7) to the wintry Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer ($7). Plus, an additional 500 bottles line the shelves (there's a $4 corkage fee for drinking them in-house). Even brewhounds with dietary restrictions will find solid options here: City Swiggers stocks seven gluten-free beers, such as the Estrella Daura from Spain (12-ounce bottle $2.19), as well as vegan snacks made by Rice's wife, Pamela, who also supplies sandwiches to Park Slope's V-Spot. The latter may seem an odd fit for bar-food pairings, but the bean-and-soy-cheese empanadas with fiery salsa ($5) go just fine with a cold one. 320 E 86th St between First and Second Aves (212-570-2000)

The Cannibal
Beer, meat and bikes coalesce at this caf-bar and retail-store hybrid, which is named after Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx (street name "The Cannibal") and run by the team behind Resto next door. During daylight hours, shoppers can drop in to snag artisanal ales from the refrigerators and house-made charcuterie from the back butcher case. Come evening, the dimly lit space fills up with bros loosening their ties, gulping down pints from the well-curated draft lineup and digging into chef Michael Berardino's brawny plates. The vast, leather-bound beer menu spans more than 450 bottled selections, with an emphasis on Belgians, sours (like the tart, funky Tilquin Gueuze; 375ml bottle $15) and vintages (such as the dark, rich 2004 Pannepot Old Fisherman's Ale; 330ml bottle $25). If you're at a loss, beer master Cory Bonfiglio can help you find the right brew for a juicy Italian sausage with sauted broccoli rabe ($11), or the showstopping half-roasted pig's head ($50). 113 E 29th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-686-5480)

Growler Station
The growler movement shows no signs of slowing down, with to-go drafts available at every other new bar, restaurant and bodega. This sleek shop separates itself from the pack with a cutting-edge bottling system imported from Russia: The high-tech machine displaces oxygen with CO2 for an airtight fill, so that suds stay fresher longer than those poured out of standard taps. Twenty-four drafts are at your disposal; pick up local offerings like the Crossroads Brady's Bay Cream Ale (64-ounce growler $13.99), as well as new-to-NYC suds from Idaho's Laughing Dog and Denmark's Evil Twin. If you're on your way to a party and don't want to haul around a glass jug ($3.99), opt for "The Beast"—a two-liter plastic bottle filled with your choice of beer—or look through the almost-300-deep stash of bottles and cans to create a pick-and-mix six-pack at 10 percent off. For help narrowing down all the options, customers can check iPads at the front of the store and search the entire stock, using criteria like bitterness, alcohol-by-volume and food-pairing potential. 26 W 8th St between Fifth Ave and MacDougal St (212-777-2337)

Beer Table Pantry
At this grab-and-go shop, Justin Philips (Beer Table) offers Grand Central commuters an upgrade on those paper-bagged tall boys sold trackside. Highbrow cans, including Sixpoint Crisp ($4), share shelf space with artisanal ciders, rare bottles and giftworthy selections such as the Le Baladin Xyauyu ($70), an Italian-style barley wine made over a two-year period and presented in an elegant black box. You can also nab a 64-ounce growler ($5 deposit) filled with one of four rotating drafts ($10--$15), like Sly Fox Odyssey IPA or Clown Shoes Brown Angel. An oxygen-displacing filling system helps the contents stay bubbly and fresh longer, and the shop sells handy plastic cups for a quarter each in case you want to pop open the jug during your Metro-North ride. Grand Central Terminal, Graybar Passage, Lexington Ave between 43rd and 44th Sts (212-922-0008, btpantry.com)

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1 comments
Brogan
Brogan

No Beer Street??