My first adventure into a New York drinking establishment whilst on a shopping trip to Bloomingdales not far away. Situated next to the Roosevelt Island Tramway that joins Roosevelt Island to the East Side of Manhattan, this unassuming beer oasis follows what I later learned is a tried and tested formula for ‘real ale’ bars in New York. As you enter there’s a long bar to the right that you’ll walk past to get to the seating area. Locals (anyone remember Cliff and Norm from Cheers?) sit along the bar for the entire duration, putting the world to rights. There’s plenty of beer paraphernalia and logos adorning the walls and the obligatory beer ‘menu’ that it seems is printed daily! Beers are available by the glass or in ‘flights’ which is a small wooden tray that holds four 4oz glasses and best for sampling what’s on offer. Ask for a ‘pint’ and you’ll get a pint, so no language barrier there, but one new word I learned is ‘kicked’ which back in Blighty means the beer is ‘off/finished’. Beer arrives quickly ahead of typical New York fare such as hot dogs, burgers, oysters or a New York staple of Cobb Salad which is chopped salad greens (iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives and romaine lettuce), tomato, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and red-wine vinaigrette as well as (optional grilled bacon or chicken).
I started with Other Half - Forever Ever (4.7%), Pipeworks - Mango Guppy (5%) and Dogfish - Lupu Luau (7.3%) all of which I must say were superb and not at all weird as their names would suggest. This was followed by Grey Sail - Hazy Days (4%), Lagunitas - Dark Swan (8.7%) and To Ol - Mr Brown (9%), again a great selection including the purple Dark Swan! I was guided to see degree by the barman who seemed to have personally tried all the beers on offer!! Also, tasting notes are shown on the beer menu (which changes daily). The beer was great, the food top notch and the atmosphere (even on a weekday lunchtime) was friendly and comfortable.