We’re not on the Upper West Side anymore, Toto. Or at least it feels that way—at first glance, the gargantuan suds depot looks more apropos of beer-swilling Murray Hill than a subdued, tree-lined strip of the Upper West Side. It’s no surprise, then, that the Lure Group (Clinton Hall in FiDi, Governors Club on Governors Island) is behind the rustic, brick-walled project, yet another trumped-up booze temple brought to a dried-out nabe in need. Flannel-clad servers stroll about the 250-seat space—a sidewalk café flows seamlessly into the bar area, main dining room and backyard—providing brief but helpful guidance on a 50-strong beer bill, which spotlights cask- and keg-conditioned brews culled from all corners of the globe.
ORDER THIS: Select beers are tapped through the bar’s on-site flux capacitor (not the time traveling kind). Geek out over a hanging wall of gauges and gadgets that manually control the compression and gas ratio for each of the 20 draft options, including hard-to-come-by offerings like the Belgian-style Brugse Zot ($8)—a refreshingly crisp, golden-hued ale notable for being the only beer brewed and lagered entirely in the medieval town of Bruges. For hops hounds, a Hopfish IPA ($8) from New Jersey’s Flying Fish balances a mouthful of floral bitterness with a malty sweet finish, while libatious lightweights can easily down the faintly boozy Schofferhofer Grapefruit ($6), which sips as sweet as the red-orange fruit nectar itself.
GOOD FOR: Jim Botsacos (Molyvos) offers up enhanced biergarten bites—the Bavarian touchstones are accounted for (schnitzel, kolbase), but the menu expands to include globally accented plates like Thai coconut mussels and sriracha-chorizo fries, ready to soak up every malt, saison and mead on offer. A not-to-miss house burger blankets a meaty Angus patty with velvety cheddar and crisps of maple-glazed bacon ($14), while a Cubano sandwich is remixed with sauerkraut, mustard and German-style pork sausage in place of the usual ham ($12).
THE CLINCHER: Admittedly, service swaps downtown urgency for a more laid-back modus operandi, but what the watering hole lacks in expediency, it easily makes up for in comfort. Ample communal tables and an expansive, ivy-covered backyard boasting canopy-topped alfresco seating means you won’t be evicted by a hurried host or slapped with the bill before your last sip. So sit back, relax and feel free to pour one out for all your brew-loving brethren crammed in a closet-size bar near 42nd Street.