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RECOMMENDED: Food & Drink Awards 2013
Beer store with a bar? Beer bar with a store? Whatever the hell it is, this erudite yet unpretentious ode to all things ale beguiled wide-eyed beer novices and grizzled hops nerds alike. A spin-off of nearby Alphabet City Wine Co., the laid-back barroom was your sudsy reprieve from Avenue C’s hypercharged cocktail scene. The sheer volume of brewskis available (hailing from Quebec to Queens, Cali to Belgium) set ABC apart from fellow frothy contenders: Along with a dozen taps at the steel-topped bar, there are a whopping 350 bottles in the retail section to keep the boozing going well beyond last call. Plus, library-style leather armchairs, unfussy cheese plates of Stilton wedges and fig jam, and a soundtrack of devil-may-care dudes like Lou Reed and Marvin Gaye ferment into a brew den you don’t ever want to leave—and the best part is: They won’t make you. Alphabet City Beer Co., 96 Ave C between 6th and 7th Sts (646-422-7103, abcbeer.co)