508 Greenwich St
New York, New York
Visited on March 18, 2014
There seems to be a bit of a dearth of brewpubs in downtown Manhattan, likely because the overhead is so insanely high it prohibits small spots from starting up on a shoestring budget. Enter already established restaurants look to stand out, which is the history that I bet 508 Restaurant & Bar has.
What an elegant spot. Everything from the tables and chairs to the decorations to the lighting was spot on. I’d feel comfortable coming here on a first date or a 20th anniversary, or even by myself with a book, as was the case on this evening. And I’m not alone on the reverence for the vibe; the guy sitting next to me was putting down a deposit on the place for his engagement party.
I’ll let some pictures do the talking for the location and move on to the food and booze, both of which I also found fantastic. Torn between homemade pasta and decadent burgers, I went with the latter to provide a better base on which to drink. A sizable chunk of cow comes perfectly cooked on a Portuguese muffin – whatever the hell that is – adorned by… actually… I don’t remember. But it was juicy and damned good.
Next to the excellent burger came some obviously hand-battered onion rings. Crisp on the outside with excellent flavor, they embodied my preference in O-ring style, though the breading fell off pretty readily after a single bite.
On to the beer.
I didn’t expect much, as this place is a nanobrewery at best. I’m not even sure they produce a barrel at a time. Working on such small equipment, I expected the brews to taste like homebrew. But they didn’t. Everything was clear and crisp, and the number of different beers was astounding for the small operation. I think they had ten of their own brews on tap that night.
Since the beers change basically on a nightly basis, I don’t know that it makes any sense to talk about my favorites as they likely won’t be there should you ever decide to check the place out yourself. But there was one of note – a “donut stout” infused with coffee and perfect for dipping carbohydrates. The keg blew on that one before I got through the sampler, however, so I went with a Belgian dubbel, which was spot-on in my opinion.
Finally, the bartender was awesome. She knew when to chat and when to tend bar, always kept my drinks full, and gave knowledgeable recommendations. She’s clearly been at it a long time, both at 508 and other locations. A real pro, which I really appreciate.