Where to find good cask-conditioned beers...

Tapping a firkin at The Brazen Head's cask festivalThe number of pubs in New York City serving cask-conditioned draught beer (or 'real ale') was static at less than ten for several years recently. Now, new emphasis on the importance, heritage, and superiority of 'real' beer - coupled with a new ease of obtaining cask ale thanks to local brewers and one distributor in particular - has started an upsurge of interest.

Currently there are over 30 bars and restaurants that regularly stock cask beer in New York City, with at a number of others doing occasional gravity casks. Here are the bars in the City to seek out for the real thing...

With thanks to The Malted Barley Appreciation Society.



BARS WITH HAND DRAWN CASK ALE (PERMANENT)

4th Avenue Pub

[MAP]

Address: 76 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217-1908.
Telephone: 1 718 643 2273.
Nearest station: Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street (2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, M, N, Q, R trains).
Directions: From the subway station, take the Pacific Street/4th Avenue exit, head south along 4th Avenue for three blocks.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: 24 taps, a diverse range of mostly craft beers.
Food:
Opening hours: From 4pm.

Back Forty

[MAP]

Address: 190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009-3600.
Telephone: 1 212 388 1990.
Nearest station: 1st Avenue (L trains).
Directions: From the subway, head east for two blocks and south for two blocks.
Cask ales: One.
Other ales: Several.
Food: Yes, it is a high quality restaurant-bar.
Opening hours: Mondays to Wednesdays 6pm to midnight, Thursdays and Fridays 6pm to 2am, Saturdays 11am to 4pm, 6pm to 2am, Sundays 11am to 4pm, 6pm to midnight.

Barcade

[MAP]
Address: 388 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211-3429.
Telephone: 1 718 302 6464.
Nearest station: Metropolitan Avenue/Lorimer Street (G/L trains), 2-3 minutes walk.
Directions: From the subway, head south on Union Avenue for a couple of blocks.
Cask ales: One beer engine.
Other ales: 24 taps, all domestic microbrews!
Food: No - bring your own in.
Opening hours: From 5.00pm.

The Blind Tiger

[MAP]

Address: 281 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014-4106.
Telephone:
Nearest station: West 4th Street (A, B, C, D, E, F, V trains).
Directions: From the South 4th Street subway station, exit at the south end, turn right at the first junction, and immediately turn right again into Bleecker Street. Keep going for about three or four short blocks, The Blind Tiger is on the corner of Jones Street.
Cask ales: Three.
Other ales: Yes, lots - including plenty of rare stuff!
Food: Yes - tasty bar food is available.
Opening hours: 11.30am until 4am.

The Brazen Head

[MAP]
Address: 228 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201-5730.
Telephone: 1 718 488 0430.
Nearest station: Bergen Street (F/G trains), 5-6 minutes walk. Note: NOT the Bergen Street station on the 2/3 lines.
Directions: From the F/G train: use the north exit, go three short blocks north to Atlantic Avenue, then head left for just over one block.
Cask ales: Two, frequently changing. Very popular cask festivals three times a year.
Other ales: A dozen or so good microbrews are always available.
Food: None, bring your own in from a nearby restaurant (except 'Stew with Lou' afternoons).
Opening hours: 12 Noon until 4am (2am early in the week when quiet).
NEXT 'CASK HEAD' CASK FESTIVAL DATES: 22nd-24th February 2008; 9th-11th May 2008.

Brooklyn Ale House

[MAP]

Address: 103 Berry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211-2824.
Telephone: 1 718 302 9811.
Nearest stations: Bedford Avenue (L train), 3-4 minutes walk; Nassau Avenue (G train), 8-10 minutes walk.
Directions: From the L train, head north up Bedford Avenue for one blocks, then turn left for one block. From the G train, head south along Nassau Avenue and Berry Street.
Cask ales: Up to two.
Other ales: Several craft beers on tap.
Food:
Opening hours: 3pm to 4am.

The Cherry Tree

[MAP]

Address: 65 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217-1925.
Telephone: 1 718 399 1353.
Nearest station: Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street (2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, M, N, Q, R trains).
Directions: From the subway station, take the Pacific Street/4th Avenue exit, head south along 4th Avenue for three blocks.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability - beer engine being installed November 2007.
Other ales: Several craft beers on tap and in bottle.
Food:
Opening hours:

Croxley Ales

[MAP]

Address: 28 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009-8417.
Telephone: 1 212 253 6140.
Nearest stations: 1st Avenue (F / V train), 6-8 minutes walk; or Delancey - Essex Streets (J / M / Z trains), 10-12 minutes walk.
Directions: From the F / V train, head east on East Houston Street, and turn left on Avenue B. From the J / M / Z train, head north on Essex Street, turn right (eastbound) on East Houston Street, and turn left on Avenue B.
Cask ales: One.
Other ales: Around 20 taps.
Food: Full menu available.
Opening hours: 11am to 1am.

David Copperfield's

[MAP]
Address: 1394 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021-3459.
Telephone: 1 212 734 6152.
Nearest station: 77th Street (6 train), 10-12 minutes walk.
Directions: From the 6 train: four long-ish blocks east, three shorter blocks south.
Cask ales: One, frequently changing. Occasional cask ale festivals.
Other ales: A wide range of unusual and tasty beers always available, often including barleywines, double IPAs, and imperial stouts!
Food: Yes, recommended.
Opening hours: Mondays 11.30am-1am, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11.30am-2am, Thursdays and Fridays 11.30am-3am, Saturdays 4pm-3am, Sundays 4pm-1am.

'd.b.a.'

[MAP]
Address: 41 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003-9426.
Telephone: 1 212 475 5097.
Nearest station: 2nd Avenue (F/V trains), 2 minutes walk (from the 1st Avenue exit).
Directions: From the F/V, exit at 1st Avenue, take the staircase at the north side of Houston Street, then turn left up 1st Avenue for two short blocks.
Cask ales: Up to three, frequently changing and often unusual.
Other ales: An amazing range, frequently changing.
Food: No - bring your own in, plenty of take-away restaurants nearby.
Opening hours: From 1pm. Identification (passport etc.) may be needed to enter in the evening.

Draft Barn

[MAP]

Address: 317 Avenue X, Brooklyn, NY 11223-5933.
Telephone: n/a.
Nearest station: Avenue X (F train), 3-4 minutes walk.
Directions: From the F train, head east along Avenue X about 3 blocks.
Cask ales: One.
Other ales: Around 15 taps and many unusual bottles for the area, mainly European.
Food: Yes - there's a sausage factory on the premises.
Opening hours: 2.00pm-late Tuesdays to Sundays, closed Mondays.

Drop Off Service

[MAP]

Address: 211 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009-3413.
Telephone: 1 212 260 2914.
Nearest stations: 1st Avenue (L train), 2-3 minutes walk; or 1st Avenue (F / V trains), 12-15 minutes walk.
Directions: From the L train, head east along East 14th Street one block, turn right on Avenue A. From the F / V train, head north on 1st Avenue, and left along East 13th Street. Turn left on Avenue A.
Cask ales: One.
Other ales: Around 20 taps.
Food: Hot pies only.
Opening hours: 3.00pm-late Monday to Friday, 1.00pm-late weekends.

George Keeley

[MAP]
Address: 485 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10024-4644.
Telephone: 1 212 873 0251.
Nearest stations: 81st Street (B, C trains), 5-6 minutes walk; or 86th Street (1 train), 5-6 minutes walk.
Directions: From the B/C train, head two blocks west and then two blocks north. From the 1, three blocks south and one block east.
Cask ales: One beer engine.
Other ales: A number of microbrews on tap.
Food: Yes, pub fare.
Opening hours: Weekdays from 4pm, weekends from 12 Noon.

The Ginger Man

[MAP]
Address: 11 East 36th Street, New York, NY 10016-3318.
Telephone: 1 212 532 3740.
Nearest stations: 34th Street-Herald Square; 33rd Street (6 trains), both 8-10 minutes walk.
Directions: The Ginger Man is two blocks north and just over one block east of 34th Street station, half way between 5th and Madison Avenues on the north side of East 36th Street. From the 6 train, three blocks north and just over one block west. Alternatively, The Ginger Man is about half a mile south-west of Grand Central Terminal.
Cask ales: Two, plus a third on gravity dispense tapped on Wednesdays.
Other ales: 66 taps plus a very large range of bottled beers!
Food: Yes - mainly soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Opening hours: From 11.30am weekdays, 12.30pm Saturdays, 3.00pm Sundays.

The Half Pint

[MAP]

Address: 76 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012-1026.
Telephone: 1 212 260 1088.
Nearest station: West 4th Street (A, B, C, D, F, V trains).
Directions: From the subway, head east along West 3rd Street for three blocks.
Cask ales: One.
Other ales: A fair selection on tap and in bottle.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

Hop Devil Grill

[MAP]
Address: 129 St. Marks Place, New York, NY 10009-5158.
Telephone: 1 212 533 4468.
Nearest stations: 1st Avenue (L train), 5-6 minutes walk; 2nd Avenue (F/V trains), 8-10 minutes walk.
Directions: From the L train, head south on 1st Avenue and turn left on St. Marks Place. From the F/V train, use the 1st Avenue exit (take the staircase at the north side of Houston Street) and head north on 1st Avenue (going with the direction of traffic); pass (or pause at) d.b.a. on the left, cross over and turn right on St. Marks Place.
Cask ales: One beer engine.
Other ales: Plenty of great microbrews on tap and in bottle.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours: 4pm to 4am.

House of Brews (46th St.)

[MAP]

Address: 363 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036-3818.
Telephone: 1 212 245 0551.
Nearest station: 42nd Street (A, C, E, N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3, 7 trains).
Directions: From the 42nd Street subway station, exit at 8th Avenue and West 44th Street (initially follow signs to Port Authority from the main Times Square platforms), walk up two blocks, turn left on West 46th Street (just before The Collins Bar is reached). The House of Brews is on the right 3/4 way down the block.
Cask ales: One beer engine, ever-changing.
Other ales:A number of good taps and bottles.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

House of Brews (51st St.)

[MAP]

Address: 302 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019-6436.
Telephone: 1 212 541 7080.
Nearest station: 50th Street (C, E trains).
Directions: From the subway, head north along 8th Avenue and turn left on West 51st Street.
Cask ales: One beer engine, ever-changing.
Other ales:A number of good taps and bottles.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

Jimmy's No.43

[MAP]

Address: 43 East 7th Street (Basement), New York, NY 10003-8191.
Telephone: 1 212 982 3006.
Nearest station: Astor Place (6 trains).
Directions: From the the 6 train at Astor Place (Cooper Union), briefly head east to the corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Marks Place. Turn right (southbound) down 3rd Avenue for one short block, turn left on East 7th Street. Pass McSorely's on your left (and probably a queue of tourists waiting to enter), Jimmy's is a few doors down the road in the basement of Standings Bar.
Cask ales: One, tapped weekly on Thursdays lasting until it runs out - probably over the weekend.
Other ales: About a dozen ever-changing taps, often rare and usually with one or two unusual Belgians.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours: 5.00pm-late.

Legion

[MAP]

Address: 790 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211-2514.
Telephone: 1 718 387 3797.
Nearest station: Graham Avenue (L train).
Directions: From the subway, head east along Metropolitan Avenue (passing Harefield Road pub) for one block.
Cask ales: Up to two.
Other ales: Several.
Food: Not yet, coming in 2008 to this new bar.
Opening hours: 4.00pm-4.00am daily.

The Lighthouse Tavern

[MAP]
Address: 243 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215-1908.
Telephone: 1 718 788 8070.
Nearest stations: Union Street (M, R trains), 3-4 minutes walk; or Bergen Street (2/3 trains), 12-15 minutes walk.
Directions: From the M/R train, head one block east along Union Street to 5th Avenue. Turn right, head down less than two blocks and cross the road to the pub. From the 2/3 train, head one block west to 5th Avenue, turn left, and keep going for about 1/2 a mile.
Cask ales: One beer engine.
Other ales: 15 taps, some are rotating microbrews.
Food: Good bar food, including vegetarian.
Opening hours: From 3.00pm weekdays, 11am Saturdays, 12pm Sundays.

Mugs Ale House

[MAP]
Address: 125 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211-2052.
Telephone: 1 718 384 8494.
Nearest stations: Bedford Avenue (L train), 3-4 minutes walk; Nassau Avenue (G train), 6-8 minutes walk.
Directions: From the L train, head north up Bedford Avenue for three short blocks. From the G train, head south-west along Bedford Avenue (through McCarren Park) until you reach North 10th Street.
Cask ales: Up to two, usually one at a time.
Other ales: Plenty.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours: All day from 2pm, 11am at weekends.

Pacific Standard

[MAP]

Address: 82 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217-1908.
Telephone: 1 718 858 1951.
Nearest station: Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street (2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, M, N, Q, R trains).
Directions: From the subway station, take the Pacific Street/4th Avenue exit, head south along 4th Avenue for three blocks.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: 16 taps.
Food:
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays 4pm to 4am, Saturdays and Sundays 12 noon to 4am.

South 4th Bar & Cafe

[MAP]

Address: 90 South 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211-5505.
Telephone:
Nearest station: Bedford Avenue (L train).
Directions: From the subway, head south along Bedford or Driggs Avenue, turn right on South 4th Street for one/two blocks.
Cask ales: One from November 2007.
Other ales: Several.
Food:
Opening hours: From 8am weekdays, from 10am weekends.

The Spotted Pig

[MAP]

Address: 314 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10014-2369.
Telephone: 1 212 620 0393.
Nearest stations: 14th Street (A/C trains), 6-8 minutes walk; or Christopher Street (1 train), 6-8 minutes walk.
Directions: From the A/C train, head down 8th Avenue and Hudson Street; turn right onto West 11th Street, The Spotted Pig is on the next corner. From the 1 train, head north on West 4th Street, and left along West 11th Street.
Cask ales: Two.
Other ales: 5 taps.
Food: English-style gastropub, advance booking strongly recommended due to popularity.
Opening hours: 12.00pm-1.30am Monday to Friday, 11.00am-1.30am weekends.

Spuyten Duyvil

[MAP]

Address: 359 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211-3309.
Telephone: 1 718 963 4140.
Nearest station: Metropolitan Avenue (G train)/Lorimer Street (L train), 5 minutes walk.
Directions: From the G or L train, head west along Metropolitan Avenue towards the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway road bridge, the bar is on the north side of the road a short distance past that; look for a tall church spire as a landmark on exiting the subway. Note there is no sign outside.
Cask ales: One beer engine, ever-changing and always interesting.
Other ales:6 good taps, plus a monstrous selection of bottles including plenty of European beers.
Food: Cheese/pate/meat boards only. Cheeses are as obscure and as tasty as the beer range.
Opening hours: Opens at 5pm daily.

Stanton Public

[MAP]

Address: 17 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002-1277.
Telephone: 1 212 677 5555.
Nearest stations: Broadway-Lafayette Street (B/D/F/V trains), 5 minutes walk, or Bowery (J/M/Z trains), 5 minutes walk.
Directions: From the B/D/F/V subway, head east on Houston Street, turn right on Bowery then turn left on Stanton Street. From the J/M/Z subway, head north on Bowery and turn right on Stanton Street.
Cask ales: One beer engine, ever changing. Look out for good value 'Kick the Cask' evenings.
Other ales: 17 taps and good bottles.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours: Opens at 4pm in the week, noon Saturdays, and 3pm Sundays.

Stout

[MAP]
Address: 127-135 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001-2903.
Telephone: 1 212 629 6191.
Nearest stations: 34th Street - Herald Square (B/D/F/N/R/V/W trains), 3-4 minutes walk; 34th Street - Penn Station (1/2/3 trains), 4-5 minutes walk; 34th Street - Penn Station (A/C/E trains), 7-8 minutes walk.
Directions: Situated halfway between 6th and 7th Avenues, one block east of Madison Square Garden.
Cask ales: Two beer engines.
Other ales: 22 beers on tap of varying quality. Impressive bottled selection includes many UK microbrews.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

Waterfront Ale House

[MAP]
Address: 136 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201-6729.
Telephone: 1 718 522 3794.
Nearest stations: Borough Hall/Court Street (2, 3, 4, 5, M, R trains), 6-8 minutes walk; Bergen Street (F/G trains), 8-10 minutes walk.
Directions: From Borough Hall, down a few blocks to Atlantic Avenue, then one block west. From Bergen Street, north a few blocks to Atlantic Avenue, then three blocks west.
Cask ales: One beer engine.
Other ales: 18 taps, mostly good microbrews and imports.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:


***COMING SOON WITH BEER ENGINES***:
Atlantic Chip Shop, Cork & Cask, The Dive Bar, Dram Shop, Grace Bar & Restaurant (replacing a 'fake' line).

BARS WITH GRAVITY CASK ALE (PART TIME/WEEKLY CASK)

(Note - others may have gravity casks occasionally, see further down)

Bar Great Harry

[MAP]

Address: 280 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231-4741.
Telephone: .
Nearest station: Carroll Street (F, G trains).
Directions: From the Carroll Street subway station, walk north along Smith Street.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: 12 taps, 70 bottles.
Food:
Opening hours:

The Diamond

[MAP]

Address: 43 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222-2053.
Telephone: 1 718 383 5030.
Nearest station: Nassau Avenue or Greenpoint Avenue (G train).
Directions: From Nassau Avenue subway, head south-west along Nassau Avenue (passing Lorimer, Guernsey, and Dobbin Streets), turn right on North 15th Street, then immediately veer right on Banker Street. Continue until Calyer Street, then make two immediate sharp left turns.
From Greenpoint Avenue subway, head west along Greenpoint Avenue for one block, then turn left on Franklin Street.
Cask ales: Usually weekly (Thursdays) but call ahead for availability.
Other ales: A good range of taps and bottles.
Food:
Opening hours:

The Gate

[MAP]

Address: 321 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215-2808.
Telephone: 1 718 768 4329.
Nearest station: Union Street (M, R trains).
Directions: From the subway, head east along Union Street for one block, turn left along 5th Avenue and continue down for about 1/3 mile.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability (usually Wednesdays onwards).
Other ales: A good number of craft beers on tap.
Food: No.
Opening hours: From 4pm Mon-Thurs, from 3pm Fri, from 1pm weekends.

K & M Bar

[MAP]

Address: 225 North 8th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211-2068.
Telephone: 1 718 388 3088.
Nearest station: Bedford Avenue (L train).
Directions: From the subway, head east for one/two blocks to Roebling Street, turn left for one block.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: Several good taps and bottles.
Food: Pierogis.
Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays 5pm to 2am, Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to 4am.

The Mark Bar

[MAP]

Address: 1025 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222-5803.
Telephone: 1 718 349 2340.
Nearest station: Greenpoint Avenue (G train).
Directions: From the subway, head north along Manhattan Avenue.
Cask ales: A cask is tapped Fridays but call ahead for availability.
Other ales: Several good taps and bottles.
Food: Bar snacks.
Opening hours: 4pm to 4am daily (12 noon to 4am winter Sundays).

Waterfront Ale House

[MAP]
Address: 540 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016-8204.
Telephone: 1 212 696 4104.
Nearest station: 28th Street (6 trains), 6-8 minutes walk.
Directions: From the subway at 28th Street and Park Avenue, head north for two short blocks. Then turn right along 30th Street for three blocks.
Cask ales: One weekly gravity cask, usually tapped on Thursdays.
Other ales: Plenty.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:


BARS WITH GRAVITY CASK ALE (OCCASIONAL/IRREGULAR)

[These are not currently counted in The National Cask Database's tally of real ale outlets.]

CB Six Bar

[MAP]

Address: 252 East 51st Street,New York, NY 10022-6518.
Telephone: 1 212 888 2453.
Nearest station: 51st Street (6 trains).
Directions: From the subway, head east for under two blocks.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales:A decent number of good taps and bottles.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours: From 3pm weekdays, from 4pm weekends.

Downtown Bar & Grill

[MAP]

Address: 160 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-6244.
Telephone: 1 718 625 2835.
Nearest station: Bergen Street (F, G trains).
Directions: From the Bergen Street subway station (north exit), walk north along Smith Street and turn left on Dean Street, continue to the next block.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: Several good taps, 750(!!!!!) bottles.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

Rebar @ Retreat

[MAP]

Address: 147 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-1154.
Telephone: 1 718 797 2322.
Nearest station: York Street (F train).
Directions:
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: 15 craft beers on tap, 15 craft bottles.
Food:
Opening hours: From 1pm daily.

The Soda Bar

[MAP]

Address: 629 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238-3805.
Telephone: 1 718 230 8393.
Nearest station: Grand Army Plaza (2, 3 trains) or 7th Avenue (B, Q trains).
Directions: From either subway station, head east along Park Place or Sterling Place, then turn left on Vanderbilt Avenue.
Cask ales: Call ahead for availability.
Other ales: Several craft beers on tap.
Food: Yes.
Opening hours:

Also with gravity casks occasionally: Atlantic Chip Shop, Brooklyn Brewery, Casellula Cheese and Wine Cafe, Chelsea Brewery, Fresh Salt, Marshall Stack, Professor Thom's, and others...

U.K. Brewing Supplies - Suppliers of genuine cask ale equipment.
U.K. BREWING SUPPLIES
Suppliers of genuine cask ale equipment.
Please quote ALEX HALL in correspondence.


To find cask-conditioned ale in other parts of the USA and Canada, CLICK HERE.


Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for any errors or changes to the above information. Real ale is not guaranteed to always be available in any of these outlets (especially in the summer).

© Alex Hall / The Gotham Imbiber, 2007.
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