In this review I will be discussing the bars themselves as well as the beer I imbibed while at each one. The beer reviews will be brief compared to my normal reviews.
Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the restaurants or the beers (except one). So I will just throw in a couple of pictures from Central Park and the one beer I did take a pic of... ;)
Bill's Bar and Burger
Rockefeller Center (West 51st St and 5th Ave)
New York City
Bill's was very close to my hotel, so it was easy to swing over there for dinner on a couple of nights. I had checked it out on the web pre trip and was somewhat expecting a small establishment. Boy was I wrong... Bill's is a large two story restaurant with a bar upstairs and downstairs. The first time I went there was for lunch and was seated at the downstairs bar. The bartender was on it and funny, and the service at the bar was quick. In fact a couple of people from a nearby table moved to the bar to get served as the table service they experienced was very slow. I ordered the Bacon and Cheddar Burger and a side of Regular Steak Fries ($13.50 before tax...not cheap, but it is NYC...). The burger was good, could have had more flavor to the meat...would have been mediocre at best without the bacon to give it some flavor. The fries could have been a bit more done, I know this is a personal thing, but I like my fries to be a little crisp and not floppy. The following evening I went to Bill's to grab a beer or two and watch the tail end of the Green Bay/Seattle game (what an ending!...). I went to the ground floor bar as it was completely open with a seat right in front of a TV. The bartender watched me walk over and sit down and then took ~ 5 minutes to ask what I wanted to drink (there were 4 total people at a bar that could seat 20). Once I finished my first beer, it took him at least 10 minutes to notice and then informed me that it was last call because the game was over! So lets just say...downstairs lunch bartender great...ground floor evening bartender very bad...
On to the beer!
Six Point Bengali Tiger
Six Point is a brewery I have been wanting to try for a while. We don't get it here in San Diego and I have read quite a few reviews that have given it high marks.
The Bengali Tiger poured a clear light copper color. The inital taste was smooth with a very bitter finish and aftertaste. The bitterness was grapefruity and really lingered. They describe the Tiger as having a pine aroma, I didn't smell it, but it could have been the surroundings.
I liked it a lot but the seriously bitter finish could put some people off.
Blue Point Brewing Oktoberfest
I hadn't heard of Blue Point before seeing on the menu at Bill's.
My brief review...malty and sweet. Smooth but a bit heavy mouthfeel. What I would consider a classic Octoberfest brew.
The Stag's Head
252 East 51st St
New York City
I found the Stag's Head from searching the web for craft beer bars in NYC. Seeing that it was only about a 15 minute walk from my hotel, I decided that would be an easy place to hit for lunch on one day. That turned out to be the right choice as they have a nice lunch special from 11am-4pm every weekday. For $10 you can get a choice of several menu items/sides and a 1/2 pint of beer! Instead of diving straight into a lunch special, I got an appetizer I have never seen on a menu anywhere before....Potato chips and onion dip...mmmmmm...reminds me of home. The potato chips were warm, thinly sliced, crunchy and not too greasy. The onion dip was nice and thick. This was a great warmup to the lunch special of the LaFrieda Burger with Pepper Jack cheese and a side salad. The burger meat had a ton of flavor and was nice and juicy. The salad was good but the only dressing available was malt vinegar.
The Stag's Head is a small two story restaurant and bar. I only went to the bar downstairs so I am not sure how big the upstairs might be.
On to the beer!
Dogfish Head Brewery
This was the first beer I had when I sat down and this was after taking a long walk from my hotel through a good portion of Central Park, so I was hoping for something that was light and refreshing...I wasn't disappointed.
This beer pours a clear light straw color. On first sip it is smooth with hints of peach and a slight bitterness. Dogfish Head categorize this as a Berliner Weisse, which is typically sour. I did not detect much if any sourness here.
Headwaters Pale Ale
I had a couple of the these before leaving...impressed with the flavor.
This beer pours a clear light copper. It has a nice citrusy pop with a bitter finish. Was a very nice compliment to the burger.