New York’s hard-charging beer bar scene shows no sign of fizzing out with a diverse crop ofdives and pubs leading the pack. These craft beer bars, beer gardens and beer halls serve not only top-notch brews but also some of the best bar food and snacks in NYC and weekend brunch. If you’re a beer lover, here are the bars you need to check out in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC
Best beer bars in NYC
Greenpoint drinkery Tørst—Danish for “thirst”—is helmed by legendary “gypsy brewer” Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø and chef Daniel Burns, formerly of the planet’s hottest restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen. These warriors are laying waste to tired ideas of what a great taproom should be, with a minimalist space that looks and smells like a modernist log cabin, and rare brews from thoughout Europe and North America.
It’s not shocking that three hops-head buddies would transform a 5,000-square-foot warehouse into a brewery. It’s more unusual, however, when that concept evolves into a bi-level beast with a bar, an event space and, of all things, a coffeeshop. The unlikely combination aligns under the direction of Sycamore cofounder Justin Israelson, entrepreneur Joshua Stylman and lawyer Andrew Unterberg. Their multipurpose space sprawls over concrete floors with all the whitewashed brick and reclaimed wood you’d expect from a Brooklyn bar, along with draft beers and cocktails that you wouldn’t.
With its deli fridges stocked with ales and lagers, and its aged steaks and whole hams dangling from steel hooks, the Cannibal could double as the set of a new dude-food show on the Cooking Channel. Run by guys and packed with them, the place is so unabashed in its bromance for craft beer and artisanal meat it’s almost a parody of a manly restaurant. If you like meat and beer, though, it’s pretty close to paradise. For restaurateur Christian Pappanicholas, the beer-obsessed carnivore behind the place, it’s the physical manifestation of some very personal passions. The spot is an unusual retail-restaurant hybrid—a beer store and a butcher shop but also a laid-back place to eat and drink.
This subterranean brew house is the unofficial clubhouse for the New York beer community, thanks to the efforts of garrulous owner Jimmy Carbone. For a beer education on the cheap, make a habit of attending the $10 Tuesday Tastings, where an expert leads guests through pours of five to six brews within a particular theme (e.g., Colorado brews, seasonal beers made with fresh hops). Because of Carbone's hands-on involvement in the local scene, his dozen taps (most $6–$8) and deep bottle collection are often the first point of entry for both hyperlocal nanobreweries and new-to-NYC imports. We've tried unfiltered Franconian lagers and a Japanese brown ale brewed at the foot of Mount Fuji at the marble-topped bar.
Vets of Village Pourhouse and the Taïm truck turn to Caribbean comfort food and Latin cocktails with this 144-seat bar. The Queens-born owners pay tribute to the Rockaways with the name—a nod to an abandoned beach bunker in Fort Tilden park—and shore-inspired decor, including colorful stained-wood interiors, a transparent geometric roof and a wraparound deck. Richard Gibbs (Caracas Arepa Bar) dispatches spiced plates like jerk chicken wings, jalapeño mac-and-cheese pie and roasted-corn-and-cabbage slaw tossed in a Scotch-bonnet vinaigrette. Also on offer: nearly 20 domestic beers and four wines on tap.
With bars in Park Slope (Mission Dolores, the Owl Farm) and Carroll Gardens (Bar Great Harry) under their belt, beer-loving brothers Ben, Seth and Mike Wiley venture farther north for their latest hangout. Housed in a former Bed-Stuy hair salon, the bar joins spots like Bed-Vyne Brews and Black Swan in bolstering the neighborhood's craft beer scene. This 55-seat drinkery echoes the divey, low-key vibe of the trio’s other watering holes: exposed brick walls, linoleum floors and two rock-themed pinball machines. Twelve taps rotate among drafts both local (Bronx Brewery, Barrier Brewing Co.) and out-of-state (Michigan’s New Holland, Maryland’s Stillwater Artisanal Ales). A bottle-of-the-month program highlights one large-format brew, while four types of chili (lamb, chicken, beef and vegetarian) are available to accompany the booze.
Located deep in the Bronx’s historic Little Italy—where red sauce runs as thick as blood (Robert De Niro discovered Joe Pesci here)—is the best indoor bazaar that most New Yorkers have never heard of: the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. Neighborhood-bred brothers Anthony and Paul Ramirez shook the dust off the tradition-bound institution and opened a fresh-faced beer bar, whose on-trend offerings (cider, half-pints, canned craft beers) and handsome, modern digs (salvaged-wood counters, white-tile walls) have provided a jolt of youthful energy to this uptown fixture.
Throw back a bourbon-spiked sweet tea—served in a Texas-sized mason jar—at this Williamsburg honky-tonk, from the owners of Luckydog. Imbibers can also sip 18 five-buck draft brews (Shiner Ruby Redbird, Southern Tier Hop Sun) and beer cocktails like Micheladas and the Bud Driver (OJ, Budweiser, lime and mint) while listening to local musicians on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sought-after seating includes a 1981 Ford F100 pickup bench and a cushioned church pew.
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. Big spenders can try one of the 12 drafts—recent offerings include Saranac's bready and aromatic Clouded Dream—and more than 500 bottles, including many from Ommegang, where Gebhard got his start. Look for events; recently, Beer Culture hosted a night of cheese-and-brew pairings.
Wading through the weekend flea-market masses can be treacherous—you might be plowed down by strollers, swarmed by hipsters or starved when vendors sell out—but this Crown Heights cousin to Smorgasburg is a peril-free alternative. The hybrid food court–biergarten (a “cafebeeria,” if you will) is decked out with rows of wooden tables, stalls of booze-sopping grub and enough beer to extend sustain your day of feasting. The 12-tap lineup ranges from hyperlocal brews to international picks.
Venue says: “Main Bar: Su-W 11a-2a Th–Sa 11a-2a Cocktail Lab:M-F 6p–2a Sat-Sun 12-2aGrowler Bar: 7 days a week 12-2aEspresso Bar: 7 days a week 6a-4p”
The Alewife team crosses the East River this fall, debuting two bars, including this Upper East Side hangout. A custom draft system controls the pressure for optimal fizz. To pad the boozing, chef Michael Haigh (the Vanderbilt) will dole out gussied-up bar snacks such as sriracha peas, house-made Cool Ranch chips and truffle popcorn. Keg pallets and lighting fixtures fashioned from plumbing parts decorate the space, including a 65-seat biergarten.
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 Coney Island Brewing's Tunnel of Love watermelon wheat ale and internationals such as the hoppy Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Triple Ale from Belgium's Brasserie d'Achouffe—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.
Looking for a hole-in-the-wall bar?
Beer Shop NYC
Sorry, wine—beer is coming for your spot as the new drink to obsess over. Dedicated shops are popping up all over the five boroughs, all with plenty of suds from all over the world on tap. Beer Shop NYC, located on the Upper West Side, is one of the best, offering a varied selection and knowledgeable, helpful staff. Ten taps run through a series of curated kegs every season, and beers ($8-$12) range from light, sour gose to dark, stormy stout. On a recent stop, the taps featured breweries like Finback, Nine Pin and Kent Falls, but because the beers change so often, there’s no telling what you’ll find (and what will be your new favorite). If you’re having trouble choosing your next pint, taste four different beers in a flight ($15). You can also take some home in a growler—prices for these large jugs vary by beer, and all growlers are $5 off on Mondays. Beer Shop NYC also stocks a varied selection of canned and bottled beers in refrigerators in the back of the shop. Organized by region, you’ll find brews produced everywhere from San Francisco to Montauk. Bring home an assortment for your next Netflix binge, or, for an added fee, open up one of those cans or bottles right then and there. Hungry? Mixed nuts, beer corn (popcorn coated with a syrup of reduced beer, like a boozy Cracker Jack), rice crackers, “wicked mix” (a spicy Chex Mix-like blend) and hard pretzels are good nibbles, but they don’t make a full meal, so plan accordingly. The long, thin layout of the shop is coz
Venue says: “Purveyors of The Finest Craft Beer on the Upper West Side... Over Three Hundred assortments of Beer to Stay & to Go”