|With some of my favorite friends at my new favorite NYC beer bar!|
I wasn’t certain Manhattan needed another craft beer bar, but I was certain I wanted one. The more of them, the merrier I am! I realized, however, upon entering Arts & Crafts Beer Parlor for the first time two weeks ago, that Manhattan’s craft beer scene had been missing a certain type of establishment. Arts & Crafts was it.
Arts &Crafts opened this past spring, and the only reason I hadn’t rushed in until now was because up until the end of October, I was home in New Jersey on maternity leave. But now that I’m back at work in Manhattan, I anticipate many happy, happy hours at what I’m already certain is my new favorite NYC watering hole.
At first, I was a bit anxious about the bar’s 8th street location, since most bars in this area tend to be overrun by NYU students. No real offense—I myself just recently received my Master’s in Public Administration from NYU! It’s just that we beer judges like an atmosphere in which we can reflect on our drinks without the concern that, due to raucous overcrowding, someone less appreciative of the quality they’re consuming and more interested in letting off midterm steam will knock our order into our lap. But A&C’s basement residency makes the bar nicely incognito, and with no other bars in the very immediate vicinity, the place is protected against pub crawl chaos.
It’s no wonder that the beer is fresh, tasty, expertly poured, and served at just the right temperature—the staff are knowledgeable and dignified (without being the least bit pompous or pretentious), and the glassware, not to mention the venue as a whole, is spotless. Not everyone’s stereotypical image of a beer enthusiast is a neat freak, but anyone who has brewed at home will tell you cleanliness is key in the beer world. A&C’s attention to detail makes it apparent that this place takes its product, and its customers, very seriously.
The bar’s simple aesthetic makes it clear that no gimmicks are needed to gain a following. The 24 rotating taps of high quality craft beer, (plenty of which even I had yet to try), speak for themselves. And yet, the bar’s atmosphere is strategically inviting: The polished wooden tables’ various sizes accommodate both intimate get-togethers and larger groups, and are all just a few steps away from the long bar, which also hosts plenty of seats. The tables’ proximity to one another is close enough to accommodate intermingling, yet far enough to appease those who place a high value their personal space. The golden ambient lighting is also just right—dim enough to create a sense of cozy comfort, but not so dim that you can’t get an easy, accurate look at what it is you’re drinking.
I can always get a good sense of what to expect from a craft beer establishment by taking a look at their menu, and A&C’s descriptions of its brews are fantastic. Humorous figurative language coupled with recipe specifics and descriptive “beer speak” give beer aficionados and newbies alike an excellent idea of what to order. I recommend giving the menu a look online before you go—A&C uses BeerMenus.com, which allows viewers to get an even more in-depth look at each beer’s specifics simply by clicking on the name. Prices are standard for the location and excellent for the quality, and $5.00 select drafts are available for a daily happy hour lasting until 8:00pm.
When I first walked into Arts & Crafts I was all by my lonesome, waiting a good 20 minutes before my friends were due to arrive. But I was instantly made to feel comfortable and catered to, and from beginning to end, an excellent time was had by all. I can’t wait to go back…again, and again.