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Good beer stores in NYC?


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Check with New Beer Distributors on Chrystie St. north of Delancey.

There is a store on 1st Avenue called Dowal (or some variation thereof) - it's between 5th & 6th on the west side of the street - you walk down a couple of steps to get in - they have quite a large selection of beer.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Thank you. Am a bit surprised at the discrepancy between what you can find on tap at a Blind Tiger or a Hop Devil vs. what you see in the stores around the city. Then again, I figured I may just not be looking in the right places.

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If I lived in Manhattan, I would be so depressed by the beer selection in stores.

New Beer and the Pioneer Supermarket on the Upper West Side are about the only two decent places I have found, and neither of them is great.

Why is NYC so far behind the rest of the country when it comes to craft beer?

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I'd not say Manhattan is pathetic in it's beer options... I've picked up all kinds of amazing stuff (e.g. New Glarus beers, Jolly Pumpkins, various obscure Belgians, etc) from the corner bodega nearest where I stay when I'm in town. It is a crap shoot, however. Nowhere consistently has a huge selection of beers, or even a consistent selection... but the good stuff is there... you just have to luck into it.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I do get the sense that it's a Manhattan-specific problem, as I frequently hear about a wide retail selection in other boroughs. And yes, I've visited the wine/beer/liquor emporiums in other cities and am looking for a similar selection in New York. That's probably a little unrealistic though. But again, something beyond Brooklyn Brewery and the occasional Dogfish Head would be nice.

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Brent, I think Pioneer on Columbus qualifies as great. I've been buying beer there for about 25 years (yes, I was way underage at the time, but it was a different time) and the selection has always been diverse and interesting. Plus they sell everything as single bottles, which is a real pleasure. Most people I take in there are pretty impressed.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
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Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Brent, I think Pioneer on Columbus qualifies as great. I've been buying beer there for about 25 years (yes, I was way underage at the time, but it was a different time) and the selection has always been diverse and interesting. Plus they sell everything as single bottles, which is a real pleasure. Most people I take in there are pretty impressed.

My brother lives on the Upper West Side so I have been to Pioneer half a dozen times in the past three years. I like the fact that they sell singles as I rarely buy six packs.

However, I don't think their selection is great by any stretch. Their European selection is weak, with very few quality Belgian, German and English beers. They also are weak in the bomber category, as most of their shelf space is devoted to 12 oz. bottles.

I can think of places in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Durham that all have better selections than Pioneer and New Beer, for that matter. I can tell you of stores in Blacksburg, VA and Winston-Salem, NC (where I work) that have selections better than Pioneer by a factor of at least three.

I just don't understand why you can get just about anything you want somewhere in Manhattan except for a store with a truly great beer selection.

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I just don't understand why you can get just about anything you want somewhere in Manhattan except for a store with a truly great beer selection.

Probably due to constraints on space, inventory and what the vendors think will bring them in the most profit!!!

However, there is a very nice selection of beers, both draught and in bottles, at quite a few bars in Manhattan.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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  • 1 year later...

There are two major elements to the dearth of truly great beer stores in NYC.

First is the fact that liquor and wine stores are not allowed to sell beer. So, unless someone wants to open a beer-only store (not likely in Manhattan), the beer inventory is competing with other inventory, and probably being stocked by someone who is not a major beer fanatic.

Second is the price of real estate. Storage costs money. The greater the number of brands you stock, the more rent you have to pay. NYC already has very few stores with a decent selection of liquor, and liquor has the advantage over beer of (1) having more profit per square foot of storage space; and (2) being nonperishable so that you can keep a less-popular bottle of booze around for years without having it go bad.

I agree that Pioneer has a pretty good selection of beers, especially for NYC. But I also acknowledge that it's a pretty pathetic selection of beers compared to most any large liquor store in other cities. The reality is that you could probably replace every single liquor store on the island of Manhattan with the Spec's Warehouse Store in Houston, and end up with better selection of just about everything alcoholic.

--

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Coincidentally, I just happened to be in the area today, but was over in Brooklyn and visited Bierkraft in Park Slope. They don't have a lot of space, but what they do have is a great selection.

Since my previous post, Whole Foods has moved up and Pioneer has gone down. New Beer has remained consistent. Still, I really like the atmosphere in Bierkraft and wonder why in the whole island of Manhattan, there is not a store like that.

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Coincidentally, I just happened to be in the area today, but was over in Brooklyn and visited Bierkraft in Park Slope.  They don't have a lot of space, but what they do have is a great selection.

Since my previous post, Whole Foods has moved up and Pioneer has gone down.  New Beer has remained consistent.  Still, I really like the atmosphere in Bierkraft and wonder why in the whole island of Manhattan, there is not a store like that.

Well, rents in Park Slope ain't cheap, but neither are they Manhattan level. Plus, while the selection at Bierkraft is pretty phenomenal, the prices are not.

Christopher

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You might want to check out Spuyten Duyvil Grocery in Williamsburg. It's run by the same guys who run Spuyten Duyvil, the bar (and Fette Sau). It's small, but the focus is on great craft ales from the USA and beyond. It is a shop, not a bar, in Bedford Cheese's old location on Bedford.

I realize this is not in Manhattan, but hey, it's just one stop!

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There are two major elements to the dearth of truly great beer stores in NYC.

First is the fact that liquor and wine stores are not allowed to sell beer.  So, unless someone wants to open a beer-only store (not likely in Manhattan), the beer inventory is competing with other inventory, and probably being stocked by someone who is not a major beer fanatic.[...]

Yeah, it's really strange. Supermarkets and just plain convenience stores can sell beer but not wine, but until you mentioned it, I hadn't thought about the fact that liquor stores can't sell beer. Do you know how that state of affairs came about?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
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