Alex's Top Picks

My 'Top Picks' are chosen largely by the range of craft beers on offer, but also the general experience that the bar has to offer including service, ambience, and friendliness.

Alex hails from Brighton, England, but has lived in New York City since 1999. Check out his NYC craft beer website and cask beer website. He is actively promoting the Cask Marque quality award for cask-conditioned beer (aka 'real ale') in the NYC area, and actively encourages places to serve traditional cask ales at the correct cellar temperature. He was formerly with Dark Star Brewery in England. You can follow him on twitter as @imbiber or read his twitter feed below

Note that we regularly update what constitutes a top pick so places can be relegated from the list if their beer range dips or there are other significant changes.


Alewife Queens A Alex top pick  Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Lots of unusual beers on tap and in bottle here.


Augurs Well A Alex top pick  Full menu Live Music

A tiny bar with some fantastic and unusual beers.


Banter A Alex top pick  Regularly has real ale

Football (soccer) pub with a number of good taps.


Huge beer bar and gastropub, over 10,000 square feet.


Beer Culture A Alex top pick  WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Excellent hybrid bar/store close to Times Square.


Beer Street A Alex top pick  WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Former bottle shop now in its second incarnation as a serious beer bar.


Birreria at Eataly A Alex top pick  Full menu WiFi available Brewpub. Regularly has real ale Specializes in Italian Beers

Unique cask-dedicated brewpub on the roof of a high end Italian market.


A very big “don’t miss!”, but time it to avoid crowds.


Brouwerij Lane A Alex top pick  Jezza Honourable Mention WiFi available Regularly has NYC brewed beers Regularly has real ale

An excellent hybrid beer store with on premise drinking, a central meeting place for craft beer people.


Cafe D'Alsace A Alex top pick  Full menu WiFi available Specializes in Belgian Beers Specializes in French Beers

Alsatian restaurant and bar with a remarkable beer list.


Hybrid bar and beer store, one of the very best.


One of the best hybrid bars and beer stores in the city for rare brews.


Fantastic, multi-levelled bar and store hybrid (more of a proper bar than others).


Basement restaurant with exceptional beers.


Excellent suburban brewpub with an Irish pub feel, beer is high quality. Cask Marque accredited.


An excellent hybrid bar and beer store, the second Milk and Hops to open. Lots of unusual beers.


Mugs Ale House A Alex top pick  Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

A truly pioneering beer bar, founded 1992. A ‘must visit’.


Vegan snacks and craft beer in an old coffin factory.


Where even the most seasoned beer geek may not have heard of stuff!


Rattle ‘n’ Hum A Alex top pick  Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Great craft beer selection in the shadow of the Empire State Building.


Spuyten Duyvil A Jezza top pick A Alex top pick  Regularly has real ale Specializes in Belgian Beers

Rare Belgian beers and more in a former barber’s shop.


Taproom No.307 A Alex top pick  Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

One of the very best NYC beer and food destinations.


The Ginger Man A Jezza top pick A Alex top pick  WiFi available Regularly has real ale

One of the original 1990s NYC craft beer bars and still excellent.


The Sampler A Alex top pick  WiFi available Regularly has NYC brewed beers

Hybrid bar and bottle shop, one of the best in NYC for rarities (especially seasonals).


The Well A Alex top pick  Live Music WiFi available

Aptly in part of the former Hittelman Brewery can be found this cavernous bar, venue (‘The Wick’), and beer garden.


Tørst A Jezza top pick A Alex top pick  Full menu WiFi available

High end Scandinavian style craft beer bar.


Twelve carefully chosen domestic taps, 100 bottles and cans – lots of unusual stuff here.


Honorable Mention

These are pubs I very much enjoyed but they are just a hair below the level of a "Top Pick" or I need another visit or two to confirm that they are worth a "Top Pick."

4th Ave Pub A Jezza top pick  Alex Honorable Mention Regularly has real ale

A very decent beer bar on the same block as Pacific Standard.


61 Local  Alex Honorable Mention Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has NYC brewed beers

Sizeable community space, mainly local beers.


Albion  Alex Honorable Mention Regularly has real ale

13 craft taps and two casks flow here.


Uber-carnivore North/South Carolina BBQ place with outstanding beer.


Subterranean beer bar, ‘the antithesis of a sports bar’.


One of two similar hybrid stores/bars locally.


One of two similar hybrid stores/bars locally.


Small beer bar with well chosen taps.


Barcade A Jezza top pick  Alex Honorable Mention Regularly has real ale

Industrial space with 25 craft taps and as many retro video games.


One of a small chain of craft bars featuring old video games.


The newest of NYC's three Barcades, mixing craft beer with retro arcade game machines.


Beer Authority  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Large bar next to the world’s biggest bus station.


Beer Closet  Alex Honorable Mention New entry in the Guide in 2016
Closed!

A great hybrid bar and beer store on the same block as Alewife.


Narrow, cosy hybrid bar and beer store.


Bondurants  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu Regularly has real ale

Always unusual stuff on tap here, including a cask beer.


Bottle and Bine  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available New entry in the Guide in 2016

Bi-level modern bar-restaurant, equally promoting good craft beer and fine wine.


Bronx Ale House  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

An oasis in the western Bronx beer desert, worth the trek.


Very well respected craft brewery with a taproom open weekends.


Pleasant beer bar with good food.


Laid back but upmarket gastropub, almost everything is craft.


City Hops  Alex Honorable Mention New entry in the Guide in 2016

Tiny hybrid bar and beer store.


Tiny, cave-like bar.


A sports bar with good beer. 48 taps, the majority being craft (14 are not), including a healthy number of Belgians. Many good bottles also.


A sports bar with good beer. 48 taps, the majority being craft (14 are not), including a healthy number of Belgians. Many good bottles also.


Dive Bar  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu Regularly has real ale

One of three Upper West Side Dive Bars (the original).


Draught 55  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu Live Music WiFi available

There’s a good range at this popular and friendly beer bar.


British and German owned craft beer bar in a former launderette space, hence the name.


Fools Gold  Alex Honorable Mention Jezza Honourable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

One of the three ‘Beerly Legal’ bars, excellent overall.


George Keeley  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

Popular beer destination, hearty pub food.


Very dimly lit after dark, this is a shrine to rare beers.


A very upmarket classic American tavern with vintage bottles on the menu.


Good brewpub in an old industrial space from Ed Raven of Raven Imports / Brouwerij Lane. Renamed from Dirck the Norseman.


High Dive  Alex Honorable Mention WiFi available

Smart and friendly bar with an excellent range.


Lots of unusual high end beers are offered in this tiny bar.


Interesting beers are on tap at this pleasant bar-restaurant.


Lantern Hall  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu Live Music WiFi available New entry in the Guide in 2016

An excellent, British-managed craft beer bar in a former machine shop space.


Hybrid bar and beer store, lots of Belgians.


Lupulo  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available New entry in the Guide in 2016

Upmarket Portuguese restaurant with a very well chosen craft beer list.


A subterranean craft beer bar and gourmet grocery store in one.


A great hybrid beer bar and gourmet store selling cheeses, chocolates, and more.


Unique space in three sections, lots of craft beer flowing plus a cask.


A small farm-to-table American restaurant with a tiny bar space for non-diners.


Good choices in the heart of the Lower East Side.


Smart beer bar adjoining the Holiday Inn, newer sister to the Rattle 'n' Hum near the Empire State Building.


Small San Francisco based chain lands in Brooklyn with a bang (and bangers). Excellent!


Early drinking in ‘The Shark Bar’.


Hybrid bar and beer store near the hideous Barclays Center basketball arena.


Sugarburg  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available

Pleasant corner bar over two subway lines.


Popular corner bar with good taps and a few good bottles.


Totally authentic British bar-restaurant.


Friendly locals’ bar that narrows into a triangular shape.


In a food market, lots of great bottles and 8 on tap.


The Gate  Alex Honorable Mention Jezza Honourable Mention

Since 1997, always good stuff on tap here.


One of three excellent ‘Beerly Legal’ Irish-owned bars.


The Monk  Alex Honorable Mention WiFi available Specializes in Belgian Beers

Motto: Fine Belgian beers and good conversation.


Great bar with a very well curated list.


The Pony Bar  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available Regularly has real ale

19 rotating domestic taps and 2 casks.


The original of the two all American Pony Bars, 19 rotating domestic taps and 2 casks.


Smart bar, 15 rotating taps.


Treadwell Park  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu WiFi available New entry in the Guide in 2016 Regularly has real ale
Downgraded!

An airy craft beer hall with a well chosen range.


Excellent hybrid bistro, bar, and beer and cheese store coupled to a wine market.


Brick walled bar with a great selection.


World of Beer  Alex Honorable Mention Full menu Live Music Regularly has real ale
Closed!

A monstrously big selection can be found here. Part of a very good national craft beer bar chain.


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