Being before 5pm I was, for the first ten minutes, the only customer. Perched on a bar stool I ordered Lagunitas IPA at $7 and 6%. The selection of 'craft beer' (as our transatlantic cousins call their version of real ale) wasn't terribly inspiring but the Lagunitas - a beer I would have again many times in various places during my sojourn in the Big Apple - was very good indeed. They do some awfully good IPAs over there and they are jolly well obsessed with hops!
I ate in there once, wolfing down a 'Strip Steak' and fries. I had imagined something along the lines of a steak sliced into strips but I was wrong. Strip steak is close to what we would call sirloin! It was bally superb and only the equivalent of around £8. I should have had two!
From there I sauntered along West 4th Street to the Slaughtered Lamb. For those of you who have seen the terrific horror film, An American Werewolf in London, you'll know why I was keen to nip in. Sadly the first time I went in the uninterested, surly barmaid and poor beer selection proved somewhat of a disappointment; four beer taps had plastic glasses hanging on them so I had to settle for a Magic Hat #9, a beer I subsequently chose to avoid. One aspect that rather caught my eye was a surprising amount of cricket-themed memorabilia. One piece featured the carved wooden faces of cricketing legends, some as far back as W.G. Grace and even Mr Fuller Pilch (one for the cricket historians). Despite a disappointing first visit, I did return and found that a much more pleasant experience.
Just a short biff up the road from the 'Lamb is the oddly-named Four-Faced Liar. This is the bar/pub in NYC that most reminded me of a UK pub, although it calls itself an 'Irish pub'. Full-sized UK pints are sold, which made a welcome change. They call them 20oz glasses, the usual size in NYC bars being 16oz. Again the beer choice wasn't huge but the air-conditioning was a relief from Manhattan's late summer mugginess and there are tables outside at the front so you can watch the varied social life of the West Village go by.
I have however been saving the best until last. Just around the corner from the Four- Faced Liar is the Blind Tiger on Bleeker Street. The 'Tiger is very possibly my favourite bar in NYC. Twenty-eight craft beers, two of which were draught(very unusual in the USA) and on one visit I even saw a draught cider (even more unusual). With such a huge choice, most over 5%, the 'Tiger was busy every time I ventured in.
My first pint in the 'Tiger was Victory Hop Devil at $6.50 and 6.7%. My second was the Buster Braun Brown at $8 and 4.8%. Both were jolly tasty but as you would expect, the first was supremely hoppy and the other was a darker beer without a vicious assault of hops that our American cousins so relish. Food is also available and after having Chicken Wings as a prelude to visiting the fish restaurant across the road, as had been recommended by the friendly, knowledgeable barmaid, we decided to stay in the 'Tiger and share a platter of meats and cheeses. The wings and platter were both excellent. I returned to the 'Tiger a number of times - be sure to pop in if you get the chance.