The best beer bars in NYC

Here are the sudsy best beer standouts—from the Bronx to Bed-Stuy—that every in-the-know hops-head needs to try

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Dirck the Norseman

New York’s hard-charging craft-beer scene shows no signs of fizzing out with a diverse crop of exciting new bars leading the pack. See our list of the best new beer bars including those dishing up bar food, weekend brunch and live tunes.

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The best beer bars

Battery Harris

Follow the large laminated arrows beneath the BQE to this Caribbean-inflected bar and restaurant. Test one of the 20 drafts at the black wraparound bar decked out with mini palm trees. Popular sippers—Kelso pilsner and Lagunitas IPA (each $6)—are accompanied by more complex numbers like the nutmeg-tinted Ommegang Rare Vos ($6) and the Belgian brewery Brasserie d’Achouffe’s La Chouffe ($8), a fruity, golden blond ale. Harris doesn’t turn up its nose at taps from beer titans, either: Coors and Stella ($6 each) make appearances. Reggae music, a menu packed with all things jerk—like the pork buns ($12)—plus a spacious outdoor area and bar come springtime heighten the good-times island feel. 64 Frost St at Meeker Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-8900,

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Beer Culture

This cozy bar and shop ain’t your typical Hell’s Kitchen after-work joint. For one, it looks like a place your grandpa would have loved—fireplace, old brewery signs, simple pine bar and owner Matt Gebhard’s gramps’s 1952 Kelvinator refrigerator stocked full of Genesee Cream Ale, Schaefer and Pabst cans ($3). Big spenders  can try one of the 12 drafts—recent offerings include Boulder Beer’s sweet and aromatic Shake Chocolate Porter ($7)—and more than 500 bottles, including many from Brewery Ommegang, where Gebhard got his start. Look for events; recently, Beer Culture hosted a night of cheese-and-brew pairings. 328 W 45th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves (646-590-2139,

The Bronx Beer Hall

The latest drinkery to bolster the Bronx craft-brew scene is tucked into the 74-year-old Arthur Avenue Market. Among the cigar makers and meat and cheese counters, patrons can sit at BBH’s stand-alone rustic wooden bar and imbibe one of five New York State choices on draft—there’s a particular emphasis on the borough’s own Jonas Bronck’s Beer Co. Try the brewery’s just-introduced New York Chocolate Egg Cream Stout, a bi-borough creation made with Brooklyn’s Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup, or another local favorite: City Island Beer Company’s balanced pale ale (each $6). Local shop Mike’s Deli supplies the grub, like cheese boards ($14) and sausages ($7) served with bread and sides such as hot peppers. Stick around after the market closes at 6pm, when the owners dim the lights and turn up the tunes to create a clubbier atmosphere. 2344 Arthur Ave between Crescent Ave and E 186th St, Bronx (347-396-0555,

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Church Publick

The section of Tribeca dotted with drab government buildings is no longer a desert for quality beer. This expansive three-level restaurant and bar from the owner of Amsterdam Ale House boasts 22 taps—a mix of locals like Peekskill Brewery’s approachable, seasonal Simple Sour ($7) and internationals such as the smoky Celebrator Doppelbock from Germany’s Ayinger Brewery ($11)—and about the same amount of reserve-list bottles. The name for this postwork meeting place refers to the street on the corner, but the look—wrought iron, candles and high ceilings—is cathedral-like. There are even a few church pews on the lower level. 82 Reade St at Church St (212-267-3000,

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Dirck the Norseman

Forget farm-to-table—we’ll take tank-to-tap. You can’t throw a bottle cap without hitting a beer bar in Brooklyn, but this Greenpoint suds depot from brew guru Ed Raven—behind bottle emporium Brouwerij Lane and beer importer Ravenbrands—one-ups the competition by crafting its beers on-site. A gleaming row of multibarrel fermenters lines the back of this mighty Germanic hall, inspired by the Scandinavian shipbuilder who first settled the neighborhood in 1645. Its starting point may be staunchly old-school, but Raven’s brewpub is just what present-day Brooklyn’s been waiting for. 7 North 15th St at Franklin St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-2940,

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Glorietta Baldy

Don’t let the dark, bare-bones interior of this new Bed-Stuy arrival fool you. With an excellent list, tattooed beer lovers and rock & roll–themed pinball machines, the joint (from the owners of Bar Great Harry) pops with personality. In an area dominated by fast-food joints and bodegas, locals can now order from a menu of 12 esoteric brews, such as the Bière aux Marrons ($7), a complex, nutty number from French brewery Brasserie Bourganel, or the American Hop Slayer ($6) from Illinois’s Wild Onion Brewing Co., which blends citrus notes and hoppy flavor. For a more adventurous (and often pricier) tipple, ask one of the tuned-in bartenders about the rare large-format beers that rotate monthly, such as Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops ($30), a limited-edition stout available through the end of January. 502 Franklin Ave between Fulton and Hancock Sts, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (347-529-1945,

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The Jeffrey

The Upper East Side added to its craft-beer roster with the Jeffrey (from the team behind LIC’s celebrated Alewife). Enter through the café-bar’s right-hand door—the other side focuses on coffee and cocktails—and sit along the slender wood-and-copper bar for a view of 30 taps and the Queensboro Bridge. For more legroom, choose a table in the industrial-accented back, where keg pallets and plumbing-part fixtures decorate the space. Select from the New York State–centric suds list, confident that the pour will be the optimal temperature and pressure, thanks to a custom draft system. Sip locals like the Barrier Antagonist, an earthy bitter, or Captain Lawrence’s Beerly Legal Saison ($7), a hoppy ale created for the joint. Thirty-plus bottles round out your options, and eats include spicy sriracha peas ($4) and house-made teriyaki beef jerky ($8). 311 E 60th St between First and Second Aves (212-355 2337,

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Pickle Shack

Gherkin fiends, take note: After collaborating on the wildly successful Hop Pickle (a Brooklyn Brine pickle made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA), the Delaware brewery’s Sam Calagione and the Kings County brine house’s Shamus Jones have joined forces for this nautically themed spot. The slender, 35-seat nook, around the corner from the pickler’s factory, spotlights both partners’ products, with a cukecentric menu and the largest variety of Dogfish Head beers available in the state. Try the fresh Festina Pêche, a Berliner Weisse or a new classic like the malty India pale ale (each $7), coupled with a small cast-iron skillet of fried, cornmeal-crusted Hop Pickles ($5) or the seasonal pickle plate ($7), which includes artichokes and root vegetables. With former Pure Food and Wine executive chef  Neal Harden helming the kitchen, there are plenty of first-rate, cucumber-free dishes on the vegetarian menu, like the warm farro salad with grilled kale ($10), and brunch pairings such as buckwheat waffles ($10) and a brass monkey (Namaste Witte beer with a hit of freshly squeezed OJ, $6). 256 Fourth Ave between Carroll and President Sts, Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-763-2127,

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Skinny Dennis

A go-to for shaggy-haired, bearded dudes and country-rock-loving gals, this honky-tonk is covered with vintage beer paraphernalia, depictions of hard-living crooners and tons of peanut shells. Although the decor screams Texas pride—and you will find bottles of Shiner Bock and Lone Star ($5)—you can score pints not typical of Southern-fried watering holes, like Brooklyn, Sixpoint, Dogfish Head (each $6) and 15 other drafts. Need a pick-me-up? A Dr. G (a Guinness-and–Dr Pepper concoction) should do the trick ($5). Grab a seat on a cushioned church pew or the 1984 F-100 pickup-truck seat salvaged from a junkyard in Pennsylvania, and enjoy the almost-nightly foot-stompin’ live tunes—there’s never a cover. 152 Metropolitan Ave at Berry St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (

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This Greenpoint drinkery, from Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin Brewing, has lived up to the preopening hype, attracting brainy beer lovers to a minimalist Scandinavian space to sample rarities. Most of the 21 brews on tap (many from Evil Twin) are available in 5-, 8- or 14-ounce pours. Pull up a stool at the white marble bar and quiz your knowledgeable drink slinger on the current selection, or on the Flux Capacitor, which allows bartenders to adjust the carbonation and temperature of each beer. Spied on the taps list: Evil Twin’s Bikini (8oz $5), a super-sessionable IPA with just 2.7 percent ABV, and the brewery’s Imperial Biscotti Break Natale (8oz $11), a stout with coffee, vanilla, almond and sour-cherry notes that clocks in at the other end of the spectrum, at 11.5 percent ABV. Available in bottles are 150 more limited and unusual beers, such as Oxbow Brewing Company’s funky, oaky Barrel Aged Farmhouse pale ale ($49). 615 Manhattan Ave between Driggs and Nassau Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-389-6034,

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