Welcome to Houston Hall, the first proper beer hall in Manhattan since, well, the good old days! The rain gods brought me there, seeking shelter from a sudden downpour. It’s located on Houston Street, across from the Film Forum, and it proved to be a pleasant surprise.
The place is massive, yet with a nice vibe. There are two giant screens (I caught the second half of the Audi Cup final) and plenty of seating at rustic communal tables. The bar is lovely, with that old-world look and feel. The ceiling is high – cavernous – with several skylights to brighten the space.
The food was good. I enjoyed a tasty burger and homemade chips. The menu is more gastropub than beer hall. In fact, there wasn’t even a bratwurst on it.
The beer was good, too. I started with the IPA and then tried their Pale Ale R&D, which was a little smoother. They are brewed by Greenpoint Beer Works, which apparently has done contract work for Heartland, Six Points, Blue Point, and Southampton in addition to its own line of KelSo.
I hear the place gets packed during peak hours, and its success has already prompted the opening of a smaller sister establishment: Flatiron Hall. But since I refuse to wait in line for anything in this city (too many options to wait for one), I certainly won’t become a regular. Though it was interesting to see that they do take reservations. And I imagine it’s a good place to grab drinks and/or eats after the Film Forum or Pier 40. Or, better yet, meeting friends to watch some mid-week Champions League or Europa League action!