By Michael Ibrahim
1) BXL East
This has to be one of my all time favorite Belgian beers bars and it is a great start for a big night of beer tasting and food if you would like. Every time I have been there I have tasted a new beer. They have a solid Trappist menu with some fun beers on tap including KWAK. Word to the wise, this place gets very busy on Friday nights so I added this spot to my pub crawl on a Saturday night when it slows down a bit. You can always find a seat at the bar and most of the time they have live music. As for food, I love the burgers and always get a BXL cheeseburger. Aside from the extensive beer menu I sometimes glance at the fridge to see if there are one or two beers they don’t have displayed on the menu. Feel free to ask the bartenders who have always been friendly about a new beer to try. I would recommend the POPPERINGS HOMMEL ALE and you will not be disappointed. This is a Belgian IPA but very different to the IPAs you get in the states.
Location – 210 East 51st St., Street New York, NY 10022
So this is not a traditional bar and doesn’t really belong on a beer trail but it fits into my lineup and does have a few features that make it worth a stop. They have a very cool bar which is laid out really nicely. They also have a Jazz band playing live music every night. The food is ok and you can get burgers and fries severed at the bar. In general, it is a pleasant bar that does not get too loud. I will mention this is a chain restaurant and the beer menu is not great. There are only two beers worth mentioning; one is a summer beer from the Dominican Republic called Presidente and the other which is the MAIN reason why Hillstone is part of the crawl – Brooklyn Local One. BK Local is a sweet Saison and is probably one of the tastiest beers around. Also, it is brewed here in New York. BK Local is not to be missed!
Location – 153 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022
This is a unique bar in Manhattan. It is designed as a German beer hall and you have to climb one level of stairs to get to the bar. Upon entering, you will find a huge room with a glass roof and beer hall benches. This is a nice find in Midtown East with a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and a good stop on the beer crawl. Also, not a bad a place for a quick snack such as the sausages which defiantly go well with the beer. Only 5 beers are available, all on tab and all very German. My favorite is probably Hofbräu Bock which at 8.5% is a little strong and you can’t really drink it very quickly. I find it to be a full sort of heavy tasting beer, nonetheless it is delicious and a worthy addition to the beer crawl.
Location – 712 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10017) between 44th and 45th
The best thing about this bar is nothing comes close to it for many streets and avenues. It can easily be mistaken for a frat bar in Murray hill but certainly is not one. This is a serious beer bar with a very impressive selection on tap and bottle. It also has a basic food menu that does the job (especially on the last stop for the night.) There is a wide selection of bottled beers and an impressive list of Belgian beer. Just a note, this is not solely a Belgian bar so they have a nice list of beers from all around the world. They also have a long list of beers on draught. This bar rounds out a great night of beer especially for those who love to try different styles. On another night (when you aren’t following my pub crawl) you could easily just come here and spend a lot of time going through their big selection.
Location – 11 east 36th street, New York, NY 10016