200 5th Ave
New York, New York
Visited on March 18, 2014
A rooftop brewpub with walls like a greenhouse in downtown Manhattan? Yup, they’ve certainly got the location part down.
Not much beats this place in terms of atmosphere and restaurant location. On the first floor is this massive Italian supermarket that also has a half-dozen small counters to buy freshly made food to eat at one of the numerous tables scattered about. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then again, I’ve never been to New York City before.
The only problem is that Birreria is a little bit difficult to find. There’s an elevator tucked into the back of the massive space if you know where to look, and I didn’t, so it took several minutes of wandering. Maybe that’s just how they whet your appetite?
Once upstairs, the views are amazing, and the beer ain’t bad either. They focus on cask ales freshly made (I believe on location) to provide the best flavor possibly. On my visit they had three of their own casks on tap – a Christmas ale, a thyme pale ale, and a chestnut brown ale. I was on an empty stomach and only tried the latter two, but both were fantastic. I give kudos to not overdoing anything and letting subtle complexities rule the beverage.
While the menu looked tempting, I had my eyes set on another gourmet prize in town, so I did not partake. That will have to come another day.
My only criticism would be that the bar area isn’t big enough for the late afternoon work crowd. Much of the restaurant was empty while the seats at the bar and standing room was densely populated. I’m sure that ratio flips during dining hours, however, so that criticism doesn’t have much to stand on.
Total: 73 (of 80)