There’s such a fine line between a boisterous beer hall and a loutish beer barn. At the former, raucous groups of friends swig big, frosty brews at festive communal tables. And at the latter? You’re crammed in like cattle with loud drunks splashing their warm pints everywhere. Fortunately, Houston Hall stays true to its name. Inside an artistically gritty former parking garage, the high, wood-raftered ceilings and 8,000-square-foot room keep personal space intact and conversations are surprisingly audible. It’s less barnyard incivility, more free-range drinking.
DRINK THIS: Huge, sudsy mugs of beer. The dude-heavy crowd hoists comically large one-liter steins ($13–$17), all delivered by waitresses in low-cut red tanks and eyebrow-raising short black skirts. More manageable are the 12-ounce and half-liter mugs, affording a greater range of sampling from the ten rotating taps of Greenpoint Beer Works. On a recent visit, the Black IPA (half liter $8.50) was an inspired dark-beer choice for the warm weather, balancing rich, sweet malt with grassy hops and a crisp finish. For something lighter, tilt back the easy-drinking R&D Pale Ale (half liter $8.50), with mellow tropical notes, or the American Wheat (half liter $8), which offers hints of lemon and honey. To sop it all up, the kitchen turns out carby bites—fancy grilled cheeses ($8.50–$10) courtesy of Milk Truck, and mammoth salty pretzels ($9.50), served soft and warm with a mildly spicy mustard for dunking.
GOOD FOR: Weekday drinks with the crew. There’s a DJ spinning Top 40 tracks on Saturday nights, but that comes with a $5 cover, long waits and the point at which that line between hall and barn starts to blur. This kind of format is better enjoyed earlier in the week, when a group can commandeer entire tables to clink glasses, share a meal and take in a game on the massive drop-down projection screens.
THE CLINCHER: A giant brick room packed with bodies may sound like a special level of hell on a hot summer’s day, but Houston Hall stays mild as a breezy October afternoon. With six large skylights covering much of the roof and a huge window on the far wall, it offers a beer-garden-like experience, without the threat of sunburn and sweaty pits. Perhaps a beer hall at its very best is one that barely feels like a hall at all.
|Venue name:||Houston Hall||Contact:|
222 W Houston St
|Cross street:||between Bedford and Varick Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed, Sun noon–midnight; Thu, Fri, Sat noon–2am|
|Transport:||Subway: 1 to Houston St|
|Price:||Average beer: $8. AmEx, Disc, MC, V|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
4.1 / 5
- 5 star:3
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Great craft brews and food. Mac and Cheese is terrific and you can't go wrong with a pretzel. Excellent joint for big groups. Negative, on Saturday nights there is a cover for DUDES only. Come on now.
This is the ideal spot for the beer and sports enthusiast who travels in groups! I've taken relatives, coworkers, and friends here. It's laid back but fun at the same time. If you find yourself working up an appetite from all the drinking, make sure to order the soft pretzel, it's ridiculously tasty!
Don't go here for an intimate conversation, but definitely do if you need a place for you and group of friends to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work. Order beers all around, and it makes for a fun time.
Houston Hall feels like a getaway barn in the middle of NYC, and it is spread wide with a nice picnic set up. Honestly, during the hustle and bustle of happy hour, service takes forever to get to, which can kinda suck since you can only sit down at the tables if you order directly from the wait staff there.
Grilled cheese is service-able and beer prices aren't too bad in terms of city living.