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Thursday, September 22, 2005
New York City Pub Tour : Stop #1; Stout NYC
Just a bit of background first. On Labor Day weekend, my good friends Matt and Kathleen married in the Queens/Long Island area. My wife, Patty, and I decided to take Friday off as a vacation day from work and do a pub tour through Manhattan. The list of beer bars was pared down to approximately 10-12 and we eventually made it to 7.
My next several posts will chronicle our beer tour through these Manhattan establishments. Of course, there are still places remaining on our list, but they will have to wait until the next pub tour. We started by checking into the hotel in Roslyn and taking the LIRR in from Port Washington. We started the adventure around 1:30-2:00 after arriving at Penn Station.
Anyone arriving into New York through Penn Station with a thirst for a good beer should walk less than a block to Stout on 33rd street between 6th and 7th avenues. Or, conversely, it's also a good place if you have some time to kill before catching a train leaving NYC. Of course, Penn Station is a big place with lots of exit points to the street.
But, if you come out to 6th avenue after walking the long concourse under Madison Square Garden, then you're practically there. So, on this Friday afternoon at Stout some tap highlights included Belhaven, Youngs, Brooklyn, and Blue Point. If I was ready for food at this point, I would have loved to try the special of Blue Point Oatmeal Stout and 1/2 dozen oysters for $9.99. I didn't see the quality of the oysters, but in any case it seemed like a good deal for midtown Manhattan. We started with a Brooklyn Brown Ale and a Boddington's. They were both served appropriately and up to standard.
The interior was both spacious and comfortable with a high ceiling. The decor carried both a beer and whiskey theme with Jameson, Blue Point, Brooklyn barrels, paintings, and murals. The crowd on this particular mid-Friday afternoon had a commuter feel to it. This was not too surprising given that it was a holiday weekend and the close proximity to Penn Station. But, judging by some pictures on its website, the bar looks like it attracts a decent local late-night crowd too. We'll have to explore that further on an overnight trip sometime :)
The waitstaff was pleasant without going out of their way. So, generally, I'd give Stout a solid B for decent brews on tap, pleasant decor and ambience, and average waitstaff and customers. This is a place that I was happy to go to once, will recommend it to others, but will not rush back to a second time unless I happen to be in the area.
(Perhaps I should also add that I'm a bigger fan of the more unique neighborhoods of NYC, rather than the more generic touristy midtown/Times Square area. So, that probably influences to a certain degree my opinion of Stout.)
p.s. the restrooms received an A+, for those who are interested in that kind of stuff!