Happy Holidays to all Imperialists near and far. For a holiday themed pint, I offer up The Ginger Man. The beer choices are staggering, but most importantly they serve 'em up Imperial style (should the flavor dictate). The area is unfortunate, a veritable no-man's land, but this seems to be the fertile ground for the modern Irish bar. This establishment can get crowded after work, but a Sunday afternoon should be festive. 7 out of 10 Pints.
The Whiskey Ward, which sits unobtrusively on the corner of Essex and Rivington streets, is a nice choice for a respite amongst the heavily designed and heavily un-designed establishments lining this intersection. They stick to the American pint glass I believe, but the Ward has all the trappings that would warm the heart of the staunchest Imperialist. We won't hold it against them. The random bowls of shell-on peanuts and the dark interior make it a welcome place to inspect the pour.
Spike Hill, the bar on Bedford Ave., is one of the first sights as you exit the L train. It's large open windows (weather permitting), beckon many an imbiber. The bar stays dark, even in the daytime, which to an Imperialist is a good thing. Plenty on tap, and usually a decent pour.Unfortunately this bar is touch and go. The following has befallen your humble narrator at this establishment: • Order of food taking 30 minutes and then told the order was forgotten. • Drunken day laborers smashing glasses. • Guinness poured 3/4 in a glass. • Bartender skipping a Roxy Music song on the iPod for a song by a Nu-metal band.
Not to say that a solid pint cannot be had here. Just know what you're getting into.
Slainte´ is a Bowery mainstay that has, for some, heralded the beginnings of gentrification. Whatever your pop-cultural disposition, this place has a decent pour. The name is Gaelic for "good health", but the multiple taps with all the mainstays will probably mean otherwise. They also have a mean curry sauce for the fries (possibly the only real accompaniment to an Imperial Pint). Gets a little loud what with all the frat screen TVs after work. 6 out of 10 Pints.
Another Room, the third child in the "Room" empire here in NY, is what I like to call an anti-imperial establishment. Incredible selection of beers awaits patrons of this bar, but never to be served in a 20oz glass. Never. They might have regular pint glasses, but I've only been served in Baby Pints. Not that good times can't be had here, mind you. Staff is pleasant and decor is somehow satisfying. Outdoor seating is always a plus, seeing as it is overlooking one of the last mini-parks in the downtown area. But for the purists, the Imperialists, Another Room is not up to snuff.
Drop Off Service. I don't like doing laundry, the whites, whilst inebriated. This establishment had an Imperial glass last time I was there. Large windows let in the afternoon sun, a must while enjoying a liquid lunch. Good placement if the 11th st. bar is filled with Johnnies from an after work e-vent. 2 blocks and you're there.
The Ear Inn is a classic New York Pub. Steeped in history, and history is becoming paramount in this blog, it lives alone amongst the west side of manhattan's pubdom. Almost literally like walking into a frigate waiting to depart, the Ear harkens back to an earlier age when shipowners rubbed elbows with sailors and their ladies-of-the-night. Fine Imperial selection, good food at sharp prices, dodgy bathroom. Upon my next visit, interior pics will be provided henceforth.
A bit of a hike, we know, but worth it for generally civilized atmosphere.
This establishment poses a particular quandry. Harefield Road is my chosen neighborhood watering hole. HF has many hallmarks that read like a checklist of what it takes to remain a quality establishment.
Rustic, rough hewn decor.
Extremely wide selection of ales and spirits.
Friendly, yet sarcastic bartenders who will treat you right but won't talk your ear off.
Solid musical choices playing through quality speakers.
Live music on Sundays of a historically-interesting nature.
A contingent of the local biker dudes.
I've spent many a night here, even some that I can't remember. But for all the good things that this place accomplishes, they commit a Bloomberg-era cardinal sin, "baby pints"!
When ordering a beer at 'The Road', your carefully chosen seasonal brew comes to you in a 15.5oz "pub glass". You are not even dignified with a 16oz glass. Maybe Harefield spent too much on the decor? Maybe its a moral issue of the owners not to let their patrons drink too much? But seeing as how they also own the Pencil Factory (which will be covered later), an establishment where I have enjoyed a full pint, I don't understand the snafu.
All in all, a good place to go, but it would be a great place to go if they kept it imperial.
Just wanted to jog the ol' Grey Matter on the types of glasses available to the average pub patron. This will, in the end, help you choose a fine establishment to fritter away the day.
First, you have the normal, "American-style" pint glass. This is what you are served in your typical, "Joe sixpack" sports bar. These are generally 16 to 20oz depending on where you go. Next you have the "Tulip-style" Guiness glass. Usually a 20oz-er, the majority of decent bars in this fair city use this glass for regular ales. This is usually available at the same type bars as it's American cousin, as well as the upper echelon that we will discuss next. Finally (and I'm not going to get into the stylized, specialized, brand-specific glasses), we have the "English-style", Imperial pint glass.
This glass is special for several reasons. First of all, historically, it is a unit of measurement that harkens back to colonial days, when these units were royally sanctioned to the commonwealth. The King at some point changed it from 16 to 20oz. History plus booze is always good. Secondly, this unit of measure is 20 ounces, whereas an american pint is 16 ounces. In this economy more for less is better.
You can tell a fine establishment that cares about the proper way to serve a beer if these are the glasses they use. Thus, this blog.
Spuyten Duyvil is sort of a Holy Grail of beer bars. A veritable wonderland of strange elixirs for the imbibing. Not only can you get a true Imperial Pint, but there are a host of other traditional options to try. Not the least of which being the Cask Ales, which vary seasonally. Seating is a little challenging, but get there early and the choice is yours.
The Telephone Bar is a nice place in the warmer days to sit with a true 20oz'er and watch the world go by. Prices are reasonable, AND they have Cider on tap. Unbelievable that this is a rarity. In the old country, the tradition goes that you drink Guiness in the winter and Cider in the summer. Is this a tradition lost in the new world? Clientele is mixed, but some days you can be lucky and get a quiet table. Avoid during the cold times though.
5 out of 10 Pints. 7 out of 10 Pints for the Cider!
The Scratcher is a decent place for a pint in the east village. Usually quiet, but now all the horrendous buildings going up may change all that. Nice place for an afternoon though, as the sunlight comes in through the low windows. Last time I was there the bartender looked like Siouxsie.
11th Street Bar is a family favorite. Been going there for several years now. Even stopped there the night of my bachelor party... Good atmosphere most nights. Low amount of riff raff, just the common-folk.
Only drawback is the lager is priced a little higher than your average pub.
Puck Fair serves up a cozy pint. Along the same lines as Swift (they are part of a larger conglomerate), it has nonetheless a good pour. Excellent food as well, should the mood strike you. Regular patrons lament when the "stuffed spud" is gone.
Friendly staff... Chance of a possible buyback, a rarity in these parts.
Iona is a quaint Scottish bar in the southern confines of Willamsburg, Brooklyn. Known for the televised soccer matches and backyard ping pong games. I've only "pinted" here a handful of times, but the pour was always correct. It's what's expected for a true ex-pat bar.