The Best Craft Beer Bars in Manhattan

Beer has been brewed and consumed in Manhattan since the earliest European settlers touched dry land. By the time the 19th century rolled around, New York State was home to one of the largest brewing industries in the country, and Manhattan was awash with taverns and beer halls, including the massive Atlantic Gardens at the corner of Bowery and Canal Street, which accommodated nearly 1,000 people. But Prohibition hit the city hard. Following the drought, bars trying to get a jumpstart sold their souls to big breweries, who muscled their way into the market by paying for draft systems, doing buy backs and, eventually, handing out Super Bowl tickets in exchange for pouring their selections exclusively. But with the rise of America’s craft beer scene—which includes many excellent New York breweries—Manhattan has gotten its foot back in the door, and is now home to some of the most exciting beer bars in the country. —David Flaherty

  • 1

    Blind Tiger Ale House

    A visit to Blind Tiger is a must for any beer geek looking to pay their respects at the altar of craft beer. Though New York really only discovered the stuff about a decade ago, Blind Tiger has been around for 20 years serving up fantastic beer from a list that ranges from accessible session beers to the esoteric and collectible. This is Manhattan’s O.G. beer bar and still one of the city’s best.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft beer
  • 2

    Fools Gold

    Owner Patrick Donagher is a third generation Irish bar owner.  With over a decade of experience running NYC bars and beer programs—including at Midtown beer behemoth Rattle 'n’ Hum, Queens' Alewife, and The Jeffrey on the Upper East Side—Donagher recently set off on his own to open Fools Gold. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment to date, it's already become a beacon for craft beer and cocktails on the Lower East Side.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • oysters
    • lots of whiskey
  • 3

    Jimmy's No. 43

    Long before "gastropub" became a household term, Jimmy's was serving solid food with good beer in a subterranean grotto-like space run by a knowledgeable, warm staff. The bar also functions as a defacto event space, hosting everything from exclusive cider tap-takeovers to Slow Food dinners exploring lardo. So be sure to check the website to find out what's on deck.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft beer
  • 4

    One Mile House

    One Mile House is  equal parts craft cocktail and craft beer bar nestled directly next to the Bowery Ballroom, making it an excellent pre-show spot. A big, open space, the bar has plenty of seats to go around, and a gut-busting plate of gravy-drenched, egg-topped poutine.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft beer
    • craft cocktails
    • outdoors / patio
  • 5

    Proletariat

    When Jane's Sweet Buns operated out of this St. Mark's storefront several years ago, Proletariat was known humbly as the "the bar behind the bakery." Eventually, the bourbon-soaked sticky buns gave way to the growing beer list (curated by beer wunderkind, Cory Bonfiglio, formerly of Cannibal), and Proletariat replaced the bakery altogether. Pound for pound, this hole-in-the-wall, sliver of a bar can hold its own against any craft beer destination, and has become an international stop on many beer travelers' itineraries.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft beer
  • 6

    Spring Lounge

    Rough around the edges and a little grizzled, Spring Lounge is a Nolita institution. It's seen a number of incarnations over the years, and when it opened in the 1920s, it illicitly filled locals’ buckets with beer to-go.  Happily, the bones of the place haven’t changed much, but the beer program—which boasts a serious list by any standard—certainly has.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • craft beer
  • 7

    The Cannibal

    The Cannibal houses a butcher and a beer bar under one roof. Situated next to its sister restaurant, the Belgian-themed Resto, Cannibal's cozy bar, eight-seat “meat counter” and outdoor patio lie beyond an arched tunnel lined with beer fridges from which bottles can be purchased to-go. The owner, a cycling freak, named the bar after Eddy Merckx, a Belgian Grand Tour cyclist who rode in the 1960s and '70s and was nicknamed, you guessed it, “The Cannibal.”

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • full menu
    • bar food
    • craft beer
    • outdoor / patio
  • 8

    The Pony Bar (Hell's Kitchen)

    Want a glass of Belgium’s finest?  Ain’t gonna find it here. Pony Bar prides itself on serving exclusively American craft beer, and its bartenders will lead you to a Belgian-style offering made on these very shores that will blow your doors off. The entire beer program is draft-only (save for bottles of Bud and Bud Light), so everything is guaranteed to be fresh, as well as fairly priced and available in a number of glass sizes.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • full menu
    • craft beer

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FROM AROUND THE WEB
  • ….

    You don’t have The Jeffrey on here, which has one of the best, if not THE best right after Proletariat, craft beer selection in Manhattan! Definitely should add that one!

  • gitr

    One Mile House and Spring Lounge, NYC are also top beer bars in New York because spending a boozy night in a beer clubs is one of summer’s great pleasures.