Monday, April 13, 2009

Props to some Manhattan watering holes

On Friday, along with R, checked out some gin mills we've never been to. After chowing down on some massive (and I mean MASSIVE) oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, we hit:

The Campbell Apartment. If you've never been here, you have to check it out. The back story is that it was at one time the office/party space of some wealthy banker back in the 30's or so. Left unused for a while, it was finally converted into one of the most impressive bars you'll ever enjoy a drink in. You really have to see the place for yourself. With a ceiling at least 20 feet high, and beautifully decorated, they're really not lying on the web site when they tell you that it's luxurious.

The specialties there are the cocktails. R had two Prohibition Punches, which were tasty and deceptively strong (like most good cocktails). The beer list is really not much of a list. Pilsner Urquell, Amstel or Heineken (can't remember which), and Kasteel Cru, which caught my eye. Kasteel Cru claims to be a French "lager brewed with Champagne yeast". This phrase may not make much sense to American beer geeks since Champagne yeast is not bottom fermenting, but when you consider that in the Europen sense, "lager" more commonly means that it's an aged or cold-conditioned beer, you get the picture. So I polished off one of those, a bourbon (neat), and a Pilsner. Not the most mind blowing of beer experiences, sure, but we could have spent the entire day there studying the incredible detail in that room.

The Waterfront Ale House. This place has been here a while, and perhaps I should be somewhat embarassed to cop to never having been there before. But I'm just not in the area of 30th St and Second Avenue that often any more. So sue me.

Now here we would find an interesting beer list. Not massive, but some really interesting selections. Definitely quality over quantity, which is well appreciated these days when there are a lot of mega-tap-system bars popping up that just aren't doing anything all that exciting with the space they have. Ramstein Maibock, Goose Island Mild, and Schlenkerla Lentenbier were my selections. Without going all beer geek review on you, let me just say that all three hit the spot on a day when I was feeling more malty than hoppy. The awkward public feud between the bartender and the waitress aside, the Waterfront Ale House did us just right on a gloomy Friday evening. All that plus free popcorn!

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