Where to drink if you’re in New York and it isn’t Craft Beer Week

Or, What Josh Schaffner taught me about getting drunk in the Big Apple

This is part two of a previous post in which I interview Josh Schaffner about NY Craft Beer Week, the beerfest he created. Below are reviewed a collection of bars that Schaffner included in his beer crawls, but luckily for us, they are all awesome year-round.

The Diamond 43 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-383-5030) thediamondbrooklyn.com

The industrial warehouses that make up this area of Greenpoint make this bar a diamond in the rough (pun very much intended). The essence of this bar is a lowkey establishment that doesn’t have the longest tap list (8), but certainly one of the most carefully crafted. Pairing regional brews from the northeastern US and beyond with time-tested staples from Europe, The Diamond is often a smaller brewery’s introduction to the New York beer scene.

Barcade 388 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-6464) barcadebrooklyn.com

Appealing to the beer drinker’s inner child, this bar juxtaposes old-school cabinet-style arcade games with an imposing selection of craft beer on draught. You wanna rock some classic Super Mario Bros? They got it. How about trying your hand at Tapper, Budweiser’s 1983 video game where you play a bartender slinging suds for thirsty customers? Just don’t drop your beer while shooting for that high score.

Blind Tiger 281 Bleeker Street, West Village, Manhattan (212-462-4682) blindtigeralehouse.com

Voted one of the top ten beer bars in the country by Beeradvocate Magazine, The Blind Tiger has been a champion of the New York beer scene for 12 years. Besides having 28 taps (including three casks) and a long bottle list, their cellar has been aging beer for many years, giving you the opportunity to try something like a 2000 JW Lees Harvest Ale. With such quality, it’s easy to see why this bar has lasted as long as it has.

George Keeley’s 485 Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan (212-843-0251) georgekeeley.com

Imagine an Irish pub with a scope beyond Guinness and Smithwick’s. Rather than a bunch of drunks sipping their Jameson and beer-backs, there’s a bunch of beer geeks debating the differences between a black and tan and a half and half. Euro football on the tube, 21 taps, and some fine pub fare from the kitchen draw in the crowds.

Chelsea Brewing Company Chelsea Piers, Pier 59 (18th Street), West Village, Manhattan (212-336-6440) chelseabrewingco.com

New York’s ONLY INDEPENDENT BREW PUB. Yes, the only bar that isn’t a chain where the beer is made and served on the premises. They have the monopoly on a market where, in cities one-third the size of New York, there is five or six times as many brewpubs. Needless to say, this beer is good, fresh and has dominated the scene since the mid-ninties. What’s more, that view over the Hudson can’t be beat.


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