NYC’s Best Bar: Houston Hall?
As Metro’s spirits editor, T. Michelle Murphy hits a lot of bars. In this new column, in various states of sobriety, she offers her take on New York City’s finest — and foulest — alcohol-proffering establishments.
222 W. Houston St.
Neighborhood: West Village
Ambience: (Thursday, 5 p.m.) Like a beer garden but indoors, the space is busy without being packed and bustling without being noisy because it’s freaking huge. (What is the rent there?? We haven’t had our daily cry.) It’s a safe bet for getting a table with all of your friends — but beware, you have to take turns hitting the bar, because there’s not table service.
Bartenders: Rumor has it that Greg can carry 12 full beer steins at once without spilling them. (You can make him prove it or challenge his title on Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. — it’s a Tuesday, don’t act like you have something better to do.) We thought about ordering 13 and then moving all the way across the room because we believe that people should always be improving. But we were too
Cocktails: The manager suggested the Apricot Ale; it was fruity enough for a girl but manly enough for anyone who cares about this sentence. We also tried the Summer Dreams and Rye Not ($13 each).
Food: We were heading to dinner soon, so we split a Classic with a Twist (grilled cheese with pickled onion for $8.95). You have to pay separately for spicy chips — we did, and regretted it. Wish we’d gotten a Giant Warm Pretzel after it wafted past our bar stools. Or just maybe two sandwiches. Next time.
Price: ($$) No matter how delicious, $9 is never going to be OK for a grilled cheese sandwich WITHOUT ANY FRIES. Cocktails are $13, which is fair; but be warned, they’re not strong for the price.
Specials: Happy Hour is Monday to Thursday, 5-7 p.m. Try $6 beers (crafted at Greenpoint Beer Works) and $5 wine, even if you’re just strolling around SoHo and get a bit thirsty.
Drunkenness: (++) On an empty stomach, getting your own sandwich and/or giant soft pretzel is highly recommended.