February 6, 2011
New Freddy’s Bar

627 5th Ave, Brooklyn (Between 17th and 18th Streets)
Visited 11pm on a Saturday, day after public opening

Freddy’s is alive!

One night after Freddy’s officially reopened two miles from their long occupied space now in the footprint of the Atlantic Yards project, the bar managed to retain their trademark energy with their familiar activist-minded crowd and happily dancing bartenders.

Those who frequented their old location will quickly notice the roomy new digs. More space between the bar and the booths, behind the bar for the bartenders, in the back for the tables, even bigger bathrooms (with more space on the walls for sharpie messages). Bigger bar means more taps, and Freddy’s complied by increasing the number from 5 to 12, and bringing in newbies Fuller’s, Smuttynose, and Sixpoint, while keeping staples Bud, Sierra Nevada, and Guinness. On the other hand, the already small backroom was even smaller, but that should only make for louder and sweatier concerts back there.

But other than the space, much of new Freddy’s is so familiar it’s eerie. The booths and tables made the trip, as did the bar (with the chains of justice) and the swiveling wood barstools with back/arm rests. Eclectic art still adorns the place and a TV playing the videos that always seem to go with Freddy’s music. $3 Miller High Life bottles and PBR cans, $4 Buds and Bud lights, and $5-6 imports and whiskey mean the new location doesn’t mean new prices. And though Brooklyn Dodgers hats were spotted, Brooklyn Brewery brews remain unwelcome.

It’s unique to visit a bar where the bartenders are so happy to be back they often forgot drink prices and the regulars so happy to be drinking that they forgot Freddy’s cash only. Almost nothing could dampen the mood and take the smiles off everyone’s faces, except the brief look of disappointment when they noticed longtime manager and now co-owner Donald O’Finn was taking a much deserved day off. But knowing that Donald will be back behind the bar and that the spirit of Freddy’s was back quickly put smiles back on everyone’s faces.

(photo via WNYC’s Abbie Fentress Swanson)

January 25, 2011
Drinking on the Staten Island Ferry

There’s something about drinking on modes of transportation that gets me excited. Mainly because the majority of the time in New York City, there’s no drinking allowed when in transit (ie. walking, subway, driving). When you can get on a free ferry, pay only $3-4 for beers (more for the 25oz Fosters), and take in stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan, it almost makes me want to move to Staten Island.

On a 25-minute boat ride, you need to get your beer in hand early, which means an efficient embarkment and knowledge of beer vendor location. There are two main classes of ferries that run during the day, the thinner and taller Molinari-class, and the wider and shorter Barberi-class.

The Molinari-class consists of the Guy V. Molinari, the Sen. John J. Marchi, and the Spirit of America ferries, and are the newer of the two main classes of ferries. They have more floors, so when boarding, stay to the sides that take you up the set of stairs. The beer vendor will be in the middle of the ferry on the upper level.

The Barberi-class consists of the Samuel I. Newhouse and the Andrew J. Barberi (which has crashed twice). They are the highest passenger capacity ferries in the world, able to transport 6,000 passengers at a time. They are much wider, but lower. Stay in the middle of the boat when boarding to avoid staircases. Walk straight down the middle and the beer vendor will be on the middle of the entrance floor.

Once you have your beer, and perhaps a hot dog or some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the view. And take comfort in knowing you have another 25 minute return trip up ahead.

(photo from the very exhaustive siferry.com)

January 13, 2011
Kudos to the year long bar crawl

NYDrinker has to raise a pint to our friend and fellow New York Drinker, Marty Wombacher, who earlier this week just completed his year long bar crawl. His goal? To have at least three drinks at a new bar every day, for 365 days in a row. His bar list, in the order in which he visited them, full with pictures and a review of each bar, can be found here.

Some highlights:

  • Marty profanity-laden review of House of Brews, the “worst bar in the world,” as well as House of Brews owner Tony Quinn’s response.

And in the spirit of being impressed by year long bar crawls, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Dan Freeman, who hit up an astounding 1,000 bars in a year in 2005. Though he was able to take days off while he completed his journey.

January 10, 2011
The Dry January

"I’m never drinking again!"

The thought often creeps into ones head soon after the throbbing pain of the dreaded hangover is first realized. So it’s not much of a surprise that on National Hangover Day, aka New Years Day, many a drinker are driven to a commitment of a dry January.

Ten days into this year’s dry January and I’ve already been tempted with that free drink at a goodbye party, the beers at a friendly poker game, or that nightcap when suffering from insomnia. Insomnia I’m self-diagnosing as my body being unaccustomed to the change in usual evening routine involving a drink of some sort.

There are plenty of reasons a drinker decides to embark on this kind of adventure:

  • “Detoxing” after New Years Eve and a December full of holiday parties a.
  • Saving money after a free-spending holiday season.
  • Proving to yourself you can tackle the challenge.
  • Gaining perspective on just how many “unnecessary” drinks you consume on a weekly basis.

Whatever the reason is, cheers to those who chose to take on this adventure. I’ll be with you every step of the way… well, maybe only for one more week. Let’s be realistic here, there’s only so much seltzer one man can drink.

June 11, 2010
This week in bars and drinking: World Cup Edition!

NYDrinker likes soccer. Any sport that provides an excuse to start drinking in the AM can’t be bad (see Breakfast Beer Bar Crawl). We have a special section with World Cup lists, enjoy!

From NYDrinker:

Lilly Coogans, Cheap Shots, and Rum House go down
An improved Woodwork, just in time for the World Cup
Ulysses for one of the better pints of Guinness in the City

World Cup Bar Lists:

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June 9, 2010
Guinness Review: Ulysses

95 Pearl Street, Manhattan (Entrance on Stone Street)

Texture: 10/10
Perfect temperature led to a heavy Guinness with a thick head and dark color

Flavor: 10/10
Dry and bitter with a hint of chocolate, delicious

Technique and Presentation: 5/5
Three-step pour in a proper tulip glass

Overall: 25/25
Ulysses knows what it is doing when it comes to Guinness. White mustaches and an empty glass coated with foam back that up

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June 8, 2010
UPDATE: Woodwork gets taps, shades

583 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn (At Dean St.)

A few weeks after we first visited Woodwork, a self described “sexy” soccer-only bar on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, NYDrinker returned to find key improvements, making an already impressive bar even better.

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June 7, 2010
Closings: Lilly Coogans, Cheap Shots and Rum House

It’s always sad to report on bar closings, especially when there’s three in one weekend. But as they to say, whenever a door closes, a window opens, and NYDrinker will look forward to new establishments that take their place.

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June 4, 2010
This week in NY bars and drinking

NYDrinker visits…

Good Company, an “underutilized” beer garden in Williamsburg
Black Swan, a Bed-Stuy bar with great drink selection and fantastic happy hour prices
Killarney Rose, for our first of hopefully many “Guinness reviews”

In other news:

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June 3, 2010
Guinness Review: Killarney Rose

127 Pearl Street (Between Wall and Hanover St)

Texture: 7/10
Head was thick, but beer was a bit cold, which made it carbonated and light

Flavor: 7/10
Beer had deep and rich flavor, Killarney Rose pours a lot of Guinness so it was fresh, the coldness masked some taste, but not too much, it was nice and bitter

Technique and Presentation: 2/5
Was poured using a 2-part pour, but bartender used a 16 oz non-tulip pint glass. Also, tap seemed to be flowing a bit too quickly, sign of too much pressure

Overall: 16/25
A solid Guinness, if they worked on the pressure, kept the temperature a bit higher, and used an imperial tulip glass, would be perfect.

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