In this weeks very special episode, Ginger heads north and lives the good life! -ed.
As I sat at a bar called D.B.A and listened to Carole King sing of “the sweet-tasting good life way over yonder,” I smiled knowing that I didn’t have to go in search of it. I found it this weekend in the tapestry of New York City.
Everytime I go to New York, I try to switch it up. Last summer I spend my city time in Brooklyn and Queens (actually attended an event called the JJQ…where two birthday boys, Jay and Jay cook different amount of meats corresponding to however many years they turned), over Thanksgiving it was wherever my sister and her friends wanted to live out their Sex in the City dreams–enter meat packing district, enter $15 captain and cokes (yet another reason to drink beer!)
During this particular jaunt, beer was the focus, I went in pursuit of ale throughout New York City’s best beer bars.
I headed up with Lance Romance in a snazzy limousine bus courtesy of Tom Peter’s, owner of Monks. We had a caravan headed northward– some of the Monks and Fergie’s bartenders, as well as prolific beer writer Michael Jackson. (Meeting him is the equivalent of getting a baseball signed by Hank Aaron).
We drank copious amounts of beer on the way up. By the time we got into Manhattan to attend the “Ultimate Belgian Tasting beer event,” we were spent. But apparently “spent” means you can drink yet more belgian beer. At $95 a ticket, we had to make sure we got our near Benjamin’s worth. Following the event we check into our dreamy hotel….
We ate breakfast the next day at a place in Hell’s Kitchen called Vynl. They have record sleeves as menus. Mine had John Travolta and Olivia on the cover. Food was good, but the highlight was the bathroom, slightly kitchsy albeit, but fun nonetheless. I chose the Dolly Parton bathroom where there was a glass mosiac of her and one of her tunes playing. Other options were Elvis, Cher, or Nelly.
After that we drank the day away. Starting at a French Bistro, Jules, in the East Village. This is where a theme started to develop on our New York bar crawl. That theme being…NY bar tenders suck. We went to 5 bars that day and only once did we get good service. Jules was still nice, however, because they had a live jazz/ reggae brunch. I sucked down a Champers to a Marley tribute and we were on our way.
We came across a bar called “Cheapshots” (most shots were $2). It had a little bit of a khyber/ tattooed mom’s feel to it. It ended up being a little slice of heaven on First Avenue when we found the air hockey table in the back. To the background of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys- I beat lance romance in the first match. Yes, he won the second…but I played better…He will most likely contest that last statement….Lance is very competitive.
We then carried on to DBA ( www.drinkgoodstuff.com), one of the country’s most respected beer bars. I had a beer from Goose Island out of Illinois called “Pere Jacques.” It was their Rochefort 10 clone, and it was amazing. I also tried a Cherry imperial stout from Blue Point (long island) that was especially good because the cherry wasn’t too upfront.
On to Peculier Pub (300 bottles of beer on the wall), then Blind Tiger– both fantastic bars. Blind Tiger actually had not one, but two sly Fox beers on tap. Lance Romance also bought me my one of my favorites, the Grand Cru of the Emporer Gouden Carolous 2001 Vintage.
We were such weekend warriors. It truly was one of those days with beer for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our goal was to be out of NYC by 6 pm. 6 pm turned into 11:49. And to think we saw some jazz, played air hockey, got 1/2 the Peculier Pub to sing “Got to get you into my life” by the Beatles…and drank some of the best beer available in the country.
Next time you are going up to NYC and want to check out the 5 borough beer scene feel free to drop me a line and I can point you in the right direction. But know the aforementioned “sweet-tasting good life” mostly presents itself when you are in the presence of good company.
Just make sure you split juke box credits fairly- oh and let them win at air hockey at least once…