With the craft beer boom has changed the landscape of American bars — and New York City is no exception. Gone are the corner tappies where Schlitz was king and a Heineken was exotic. Nearly every bar now offers a range of craft ales, pilsners, and more. To stand out these days, real beer bars have to offer a good selection of rotating kegs, knowledgeable bartenders, and a great atmosphere to enjoy your rare brew. We’ve compiled a list of seven places in the city that do just that. Here are what we think are the seven best beer bars in New York City.
Gold Star Beer Counter – Prospect Heights
The Prospect Heights/Crown Heights area is known for some good beer bars. This recent arrival is often overshadowed by nearby Covenhoven. But we much prefer Gold Star for its better ambiance, better prices, and a 100% vinyl soundtrack played right at the bar. You can get growlers of everything to go (and even coffee in the morning on the way to work!). Their bottle selection is immense, too. Their taps are typically pretty rare and come from every corner of the planet.
Harlem Hops – Harlem
Harlem Hops is not the newest dance craze, but a solid beer bar in the heart of the city’s famous neighborhood. A new addition to the craft beer scene, HH provides extremely hard-to-find beers. The owners focus on local brews made by businesses owned by people of color — a segment that is woefully absent in a lot of craft beer culture. Luckily for us HH has 16 rotating on tap as well as another 18 bottles and cans at reasonable prices.
The Ginger Man – Midtown
The Ginger Man deserves to be on any beer bar list for its sheer number of beers. They have dozens of beers on tap, including casks, and even more cans and bottles from all over the world. Sure, you’ll probably be rubbing shoulders with tourists fresh from the Empire State Building and the interior screams MIDTOWN, but you’ll be paying pretty reasonable prices. If you can’t find a beer you like here, then there’s no hope for you.
Solid State – Woodside, Queens
When we’re craving a New York beer, we always look on the Sunnyside. Solid State has a huge selection of beers and cider – including 20 rotating on draft — and every single one of them exclusively brewed in the Empire State. One of our favorite aspects is the selection of vintage pinball machines in the back. Plus, lies right next to the 7 train they stay open until 4 a.m., which makes it a perfect stop-over after a double-header at Citi Field!
Proletariat – East Village
Proletariat seems to appear on every list talking about the best beer bars in NYC, and for good reason. Their eight-tap lineup has excellent beers from all around the world. But don’t be fooled by the small selection: these beers are painstakingly curated and will likely be the best beer you’ve ever had. The staff are happy to share their knowledge and help you pick that one brew that will knock your socks off. And prices fit their namesake, too, especially considering how rare some of their beers are. The only downside is the lack of space. If you score a seat at the bar, hold onto it!
Bronx Alehouse – Kingsbridge, Bronx
You bet your life we’re taking the 1 all the way up to the Bronx Alehouse. Their 16 taps are a great selection of international and domestic brews, including some Bronx beers. While not a huge amount compared to some other craft brew bars in the city, the bar more than makes up for it with lots of good games and seriously good comfort food (you’ll need it after the long trek!). Plus, the prices are decent and the staff very friendly and fast.
BierWax – Prospect Heights
BierWax is not just a witty name: they have an immense wall of vinyl and guest DJs spinning everything from funk to jazz to old school hip hop. The beers, of course, are what keep us coming back. They’ve got a manageable list of 12 drafts almost all exclusively from New York state breweries. And all taps you can get in 8, 12, and 16 ounce glasses, just in case you don’t want to commit to a brew. The backyard is a pretty decent size and seems to always have room. Alas, they don’t take music requests.