It’s no surprise that New York City never gets mentioned among the great American brewing towns—crazy real estate prices and tight quarters make it tough to support as many upstart producers as cities like San Diego, Denver, and Portland. But it is undoubtedly one of the best places to be a beer drinker, balancing a burgeoning local brew scene (including players from Long Island and upstate New York) with access to some of the best-stocked bars in the country.
These days, you can find a standout IPA at your corner bodega, and even gritty dives are bound to have at least a couple craft taps in their lineup. To find the really good stuff, though, you’ve got to seek out the city’s true stars—from O.G. taprooms that were serving Sierra Nevada back when most people had never even heard of hops, to new temples of beer nerdery that use state-of-the-art draft systems rather than football to draw in punters.
While there are countless great places to hoist a pint in NYC, these five bars are the ones we find ourselves going back to time and again.