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The Best and Worst of 2015

2015 was another food-filled year. Below are three of the best and worst of 2015. If you’re looking for that place to try in 2016 or more importantly, that place to avoid, this is a good starting point to help point you in the right direction.

The Best

The Worst

  • Marleey’s – OK food, terrible lighting, incorrect spelling on their menu and waiters that didn’t understand what they were serving.
  • Treat House – Innovative Rice Crispies treats, but lacking flavor and leaving a bland taste in your mouth.
  • Joe’s Bar – Nothing overly wrong with Joe’s except they tried to outdo themselves at their grand opening. Think step and repeat and inviting D-List celebrities.
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Time for Football at Slate’s “Undefeated Sundays”

The football season officially kicked off last night and that means it’s time for wings, nachos and beer. Everyone has their favorite sports bar (check out Lansdowne Road), but if you’re looking to scope out somewhere different, check out Slate‘s new “Undefeated Sundays.” From how Slate’s describing it, this is going to be an interesting combination of football, brunch, bar food and live music from some of NYC’s top DJs. The menu at the very least looks really good.

This all kicks off on Sunday, September 13th starting at noon so if you go, let me know how it is!

Undefeated Sundays

Tickets Available for 5th Annual Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival

The Village Voice’s 5th annual Brooklyn Pour craft beer festival is coming up on Saturday, September 26th and you can snag your tickets now.

Brooklyn Pour will feature more than 100 craft brews from New York and beyond. The event will be held in Greenpoint, Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Expo Center from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., with VIP hour starting at 2 p.m. The event will host the Brooklyn Pour Game Zone with life size pong, cornhole and more, and an outdoor food court featuring Keste Pizza, Papaya King and Coney Shack, among others.

Only a limited number of tickets are available so grab yours today. More event details are outlined below.

  • DATE: Saturday, September 26th
  • TIME: 2:00-6:00PM with staggered entry as follows:
  • 2:00PM – $85 – VIP Ticketholder Doors
  • 2:30PM – $65 – Early Entry Ticketholder Doors
  • 3:00PM – $55 – General Admission Ticketholder Doors
  • VENUE: Brooklyn Expo Center | 72 Noble St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
  • TICKETS: On sale – http://bit.ly/BKPour15Tix

A Hidden Beer Garden on the Upper West Side

West End Hall – 2756 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City

A new beer hall has arrived on the Upper West Side (maybe the only one?) and I checked it out a couple weeks ago.

West End Hall NYC Interior
The interior features communal tables and awesome lighting that spill out onto Broadway

West End Hall features 30 bottled beer options and 20 draught beers and ciders on rotation. They have an eclectic menu that ranges from your more traditional beer hall sausages and bratwurst to pulled pork wontons, mussels, salads and Mediterranean spreads (think hummus, tzatziki, etc.). I can easily say that everything I tried was delicious, especially the pulled pork wontons and crab corn fritters.

West End Hall NYC Wontons
Pulled Pork Wontons
West End Hall NYC Crab Corn Fritters
Crab Corn Fritters

But what is most appealing about West End Hall is what you can’t see. There is a secret backyard garden that feels like you¹ve entered into an undiscovered hidden gem on the Upper West Side. It’s quiet, peaceful, relaxing and the perfect spot to spend a weekend afternoon hanging out with friends away from the traffic of Broadway.

West End Hall NYC Secret Garden
Secret Backyard Garden

I recommend checking out West End Hall and enjoying this “secret” backyard beer garden before the rest of the neighborhood catches on!

Industry Kitchen – Waterfront Restaurant and Bar

Industry Kitchen – 70 South Street, Manhattan, New York City

South Street Seaport’s newest waterfront restaurant and bar had it’s grand opening last week and you’re all in for a treat. Industry Kitchen is a new spot for a summer happy hour with unobstructed views of the water and Brooklyn skyline.

Industry Kitchen

Industry Kitchen Waterfront View

Aside from the food (we’ll get there), what makes this place interesting is the architecture. Industry Kitchen combines industrial sharp edges and concrete with reclaimed plank wood. The result is a mixture of industry and sea – combining both features of the area.

Industry Kitchen Older & Wiser

Executive Chef Marco Arnold focuses the menu on freshly made pizzas, grilled meats and vegetables from two large custom-made wood burning ovens. The appetizers I had were pretty good. They weren’t anything that blew me away, but for bar snacks they hit the spot. I can’t speak to some of the larger dishes – steak, salmon, pizza, etc. but judging from other reviews, these can be very hit or miss.

Aside from the food, there are some delicious, refreshing cocktails from bartenders with a strong pour. Try the Older & Wiser. You won’t regret it.

Industry Kitchen Spanish Artichoke Dip

Industry Kitchen Grilled Shrimp South Street Seaport, New York CityIndustry Kitchen is the perfect place to hit up for an after work happy hour. The views are picturesque, the bartenders are friendly and the drinks are strong. Next time I visit I’ll give the entrees a try to see how they stack up. I’m hopeful some of the negative buzz about this place is due to growing pains and they’ll get their act together in time to finish the rest of the summer strong.

Click to add a blog post for Industry Kitchen on Zomato

Horror Fiction in the East Village: Lovecraft Bar

Lovecraft – 50 Avenue B, Manhattan, New York

A steampunk-themed interior intricately detailed with water fixtures, hanging lights, tentacles and plenty more gives this East Village bar a mysterious and spooky feeling right in line with its namesake, H.P. Lovecraft.

I recently was invited in to check out Lovecraft’s new dinner menu, which debuted this spring featuring innovative items created by award-winning celebrity chef, Chris Coleman. But before we dive into the food, let me gloat again about the interior – wow. If not for anything else, stop by Lovecraft just to explore the multi-roomed interior that takes you through the strange, dark fiction of H.P. Lovecraft.

Lovecraft Bar InteriorLovecraft Bar opened last year as a cocktail bar featuring live music on its stage downstairs. It now features a full brunch and dinner menu featuring items including crisp salads, tasty appetizers and mouth-watering entrees “from the sea” and “from the land.”

Maryland Crab Cake

Maryland crab cakes come out surrounded by beads of truffle aioli. There was virtually no breading in this crab cake, with it truly being a crab cake and consisting of copious amounts of perfectly seared lump crab.

Montauk Lobster Tacos

Montauk lobster tacos come out three to a plate. Once again, Chef Coleman doesn’t shy away from liberal amounts of seafood. These tacos were bursting with lots of delicious lobster meat. The lobster is mixed with mayo and a light cream sauce and it’s all topped with pico de gallo and an avocado puree. My only recommendation would be to go a little lighter on the sauce next time. The lobster had a lot of flavor and I didn’t want the sauce to overpower that too much.

Skirt Steak

Who can say no to steak? The presentation here displayed a skirt steak sliced and stacked on top of grilled asparagus and fingerling potatoes. The steak was cooked to order and deliciously marinated.

Fresh Water Walleye

Pistachio crusted walleye was served with gorgonzola and blue cheese-infused fingerling potatoes. The fish was fresh and had a very light and refreshing taste to it. The potatoes added some more heartiness to the dish and were absolutely delicious – who wouldn’t love potatoes covered in cheese?

The Verdict

The eldritch interior design, impeccable artwork, and weekly entertainment have attracted Lovecraft fans, local art enthusiasts and live-music fanatics from all over the city. Restaurant and bar-goers now have the fabulous opportunity to enjoy Chef Coleman’s culinary talents as well. The interior is simply spectacular and the food excels as well. Kudos to Lovecraft Bar. Check it out next time you’re in the East Village!

Lovecraft Bar Lounge

Brooklyn Passport Offers 2-for-1 Drink Deals All Summer Long

What’s your plan for the summer? If it involves going on a bar crawl to check out some of Brooklyn’s most popular bars, listen up. The Brooklyn Passport, a summer-long program giving you 2-for-1 drink specials throughout bars in Brooklyn, is now available.

Brooklyn Passport

The Brooklyn Passport is $20 and deals last through Labor Day. You can check out the full list of specials as each bar is offering a different drink that’s included in this deal. Redeem each special, and a bartender will imprint their bar’s passport page with an official Brooklyn Passport stamp. Just two trips to choice local bars will cover the price of the Passport. Meanwhile, you can hop (skip and jump, too) from bar to bar trying the latest creations from bars across the borough.

The 26 participating venues are below:

  • Black Bear Bar
  • Brooklyn Public house
  • Cafe Moto
  • Chez Oskar
  • Concord Hill
  • Enid’s
  • Fabbrica Restaurant & Bar
  • The General Greene
  • Grand Ferry Tavern
  • Hanson Dry
  • Hoja Santa
  • Jify’s
  • Lake Street Bar
  • Lola BKLYN
  • Luz Restaurant
  • Moonlight Mile
  • No Name Bar
  • No. 7
  • No. 7 North
  • Over the Eight
  • Passenger Bar
  • Pequena
  • The Richardson
  • Sip
  • St. Mazie
  • Troost

Joe’s Bar

Joe’s Bar – 480 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan, New York

The Upper West Side has a new bar in town – Joe’s Bar. I checked out their grand opening last week where the alcohol was flowing (and the bartenders pour a very strong drink).

Atmosphere at the Grand Opening of Joe's Bar NYC

Joe’s bills itself as creating the ideal, uptown locale – with a relaxed, downtown feel. The interior captures the essence of simplicity – with vintage record albums lining the shelves, retro family photos along the walls, and the musical stylings of Led Zepplin and Fleetwood Mac playing in the background.

Flash Gordon's Breakfast at the Grand Opening of Joe's Bar NYC

Joe’s features a handful of craft cocktails with clever names such as Night Fever, Scooby Snack, and Flash Gordon’s Breakfast. I gave a few of these a try and they were really good and really strong. No argument from me here.

Grand Opening of Joe's Bar NYC

In a strip full of bars such as the Gin Mill, Jake’s Dilemma and Brother Jimmy’s, Joe’s Bar takes a step in the opposite direction – providing an option to grab something other than the Bud Light in a relaxed atmosphere.

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