Natural light is non-existent until the door opens; there is wonderful booth seating to the left as you walk in and opposite the bar, with flatscreen televisions in every corner and on almost every other bit of spare wall. If you want to watch sports, it's ideal. I didn't see any cricket in there but football (aka soccer) was in evidence. Downstairs features a pool table, dartboard and what they call the 'bathrooms'.

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.

Boko Fittleworth
Further reading:
Barrow Street Ale House
Slaughtered Lamb Pub
The Four-Faced Liar
Blind Tiger Ale House