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Blind Tiger Ale House

Not Rated.
Blind Tiger Ale HouseBlind Tiger Ale House
BA SCORE
96
world-class

69 Ratings
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 69
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.37%
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

518 Hudson Street
New York, New York, 10014
United States
phone: (212) 675-3848
// CLOSED //



Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 69 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Rumrunner:
Photo of Rumrunner
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%

The Blind Tiger is what it is and nothing that it is not. What it is is a great neighborhood beer bar.

We stopped in on a Tuesday night. The place was dimly lit but the lighting gives a warming glow that makes a patron feel welcome. A small wooden bar and wooden booths along the back wall are it for seating in this small tavern. Plenty of swag on the walls. Step carefully down the stairs to the 'unique' restrooms. Some might call this a dive bar. Not me. It is just a simple beer bar. A great neighborhood stop for a couple pints and some conversation with friends.

Service was good. Not being a crowded night we were well attended to. Our glasses were kept full and the bartenders were pleasant and knowledgable about beer.

The Blind Tiger may be a simple neighborhood bar but the beer list is very complex with plenty of variety. A very good mix on the taps and in the bottle from local, across the country to imported. They have a cask and what they call 'special guest beers.' I guess the special guest beers are hard to get beers. It sure was nice to try some east coast beers on tap. Weyerbacher being one and Southhampton being another.

Next time I am in New York I will definately stop by the Blind Tiger. A simple ale house without an ounce of pretention and a great selection of beers. A beer drinker can't go wrong here. If you don't like the atmosphere, blind fold yourself.

Rumrunner, Nov 10, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%

made the pilgrimage, for the first and last time, last night. situated on a busy west village corner, this bar looks very unassuming from the exterior. typical nyc irish pub look from the outside, "knob creek" neon in the window.

walked into a pile of people as i entered through the door. five or six wooden box booths on the left, a long bar on the right, and a couple of tables in the back along with the doors to the fabled bathrooms. some support pillars scattered among the center 'standing area' with drink tables fashioned around them. medium sized, but lots of grungy, knicked dark cherry wood and beer neon. the walls are covered with framed beer ads and things of the like. place kinda smells a bit.. the smell of a bar that once allowed smoking and spills alot of beer on the floor. that smell. endearing, i guess.

above the bar is the tap list on a set of thin chalkboards.. all magnificent choices (20) and no bmc crap here. bottle list is also up on the chalkboard and boasted beauties like peche mortel, 2000 world wide stout and belgian winter beers. half of the people in here (on a pub crawl) were drinking amstel light. everyone at the bar was appreciating craft beer in a low-key yet social circle. sat next to an older gentleman with white hair and a beard who waxed poetic on his discovery of great new beers over the years during his visits here.

service was only one young lady, working harder than i've ever seen a bartender work at a beer bar. pouring 3 beers at a time nonstop, she still had a minute to crack a joke or shoot the shit with the bar regulars. initial beer was a bit tough, but once i got a seat at the bar, my glass was always full. didn't test her knowledge of beer, but i don't think this place needs a beer scholar behind it. she freely poured samples, and that's frankly all i need to know before i order something.

selection of drafts, as i said, was amazing with several rare choices including limited batches from southampton, goose island, dogfish head and brooklyn. vintage barleywine on tap! (gnarlywine 2003). i drank the three best beers i've had in a while here, and they were the only 3 things i ordered. beers were perhaps a little cold but served in proper glassware. oh, there was a handpump but i didn't drink the weird spruce beer they had on it.

food.. i dont think there is any. someone ordered a pizza and had it delivered here ala moan and dove. whatever.. there are tons of restaurants in the area within jumping distance.

a landmark.. now i see why. an isolated beer community in a large, crazy city. a beer bar for lovers of classic bars. an establishment that truly respects beer, and one that will surely be missed. i'd surely go again if the opportunity arises in the next couple weeks.

goodbyeohio, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of BillyB
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%

This is an excellent beer bar. I went on a weekday afternoon so it wasn't crowded. They had 24 different taps including; Victory Storm King, Weyerbacher, Anchor, Yuengling and Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. They had Brooklyn Brown on hand-pulled cask. I tried the Stone IPA on tap. It was a very hoppy beer with a nice citrusy zest. I also tried the Penn St. Nick Bock on tap. This had a strong alcohol aroma and flavor with some dark fruit flavors. Very nice kick! I also tried the Ridgeway Santa's Butt Porter. This tasted more like a winter warmer with a spicyness and a warming alcohol effect. They had several Ridgeway winter beers on tap and a very impressive bottle selection as well. They offer 1/2 pints for $3.50 so if you want to sample a few different beers you won't get totally smashed(or broke).

BillyB, Dec 07, 2005
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%

Man, did coming in here on Sa, 03 December 2005 bring back memories. I used to make it in here a good bit and then my one friend moved to Brooklyn and suddenly, this place fell off of my radar. I felt compelled to come in one last time.

"Bring on da music, bring on da funk" should have been this place's motto. The funk in this place is prevasive and unique. The faux tin ceiling is deceptive, but definitely plastic. The space was so overcrowded as to have patrons spilling over one another.

The place is an inverted "V"-shape, culminating in a short fireplace and mantel, on which a carcass of bagels and cream cheese still rested that evening after having been put out at opening time. Yow! The right-hand of the V is created by the packed bar and the left-hand by an bank of rough-hewn wooden tables. Coming to think of rough-hewn, the whole place falls under that descriptor.

There are a couple of exposed ducts flanking the interior with one of them acting as the base for four nicotine-coated lamps hanging above the bar. Ugh. A deep breath later and I was feeling nauseous. This leads me to the faux pine shingles that pave the way down a steep fight of stairs into the one-banger that acts as the Men's. I think that I remember this bog in the movie, "Trainspotting."

Returning to the bar area, there is a big mirror to the left of the bar with a couple of chalkboards flanking it in the overhead. Twelve drafts, which is impressive. I took a gander into the entryway to the Womens' and noted a series of brass plaques commemorating who knows what and a Sherrif's Department jacket with no name, again denoting WTF.

Bukowski would have loved this place, but I am getting older and less enamored of such things. Cheers! It was nice knowing you and I hope that you are able to resurface elsewhere.

woodychandler, Dec 07, 2005
Photo of Nay
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%

Still stinky, after all these years. This most recent visit, my third visit spread out over five years at different days of the week and times of day, found Blind Tiger stinky as usual. I'm not complaining about the sour beer smell from the pints that fall off the wobbly, uneven tables, I mean the cleaning agents they use. Even on a crowded Saturday night it's the main stank in the place. The first two times I went the group I was with wouldn't even sit down in the place because of the stink. It's weird, the stink, because of all the bars I've been to, this is the worst smelling place. I guess the owner(s) have grown numb to it. Too bad.

And the anti-beeradvocate graffiti in the "bathroom" is really charming. I'll heed its advice and stay away from this place in the future. There are just too many other great beer bars nearby that don't stink to bother with BT.

Nay, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of scooter231
3.73/5  rDev -14.1%

I constantly have mixed feelings about this place. It's small, quite small. Tiny bar, a few wooden booths with tables that all seem to be wobbly- that's right, beware moving the table, your beer may suffer a fatal fall. Bathrooms are a bit scary- the guy's is down a flight of steep, narrow stairs- not good at all among drunks- and the girl's bathroom sort of doesn't lock, it's tiny, and often dirty.

The selection of beer itself is usually pretty good- not a lot of quantity, but the quality is always right up there. Service, however, is different. Always, always slow. And when I ask about certain beers, they seem to know what they're talking about- and then I taste the beer. And it's radically different. For instance- "it's a super sweet beer." No, it's not. It was bitter and hoppy. Incorrect information really annoys me.

The place is usually hopping, stuffed, on the weekend. But if you go on a quieter night, it's a pleasant place to sit and have a few. Wednesday they have good events going on- and cheese, good cheese- so it's worth checking out.

Ultimately, a good beer bar, but not one I want to frequent all the time.

scooter231, Oct 28, 2005
Photo of GnomeKing
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%

I love this dump. Exposed wiring. Tables made of unvarnished wood. Beer signs that aren't working. Plywood covering parts of the walls. Two buckets sitting on the floor. A men's room that's tagged to hell with not only the usual bathroom messages (like the one endorsing a particular method of rocking out), but also with disses like "Anam Cara Sucks" and "'Anam Cara' means I want to be the Blind Tiger". Hey, Anam Cara is great, but it's all just for fun and I like the spirit of having a slam war between two beer bars in different cities. If you haven't been to the Blind Tiger, you can't appreciate that these elements of atmosphere are all good things and that the place makes you want to hang around all day. It's small and cozy, so you might end up making some new friends.

The beer selection isn't large, but size isn't everything. The taps are well-chosen and there's a great mix of styles. Some local stuff, some imports. The bottle list isn't extensive either, but it, too, offers nice variety and terrific quality.

The service was friendly, funny, and knowledgeable. Ask about a beer, and you'll get a spot-on description of its malt character.

There's no food here, but as my buddy said, "If they served food, would you eat it?" Dunno. There is a free bagel brunch on Saturday afternoons from 1-4, but don't expect much. I had a bagel just to fill my tummy so that I could absorb more beer, sweet beer.

GnomeKing, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%

I seem to have more fun at the Blind Tiger than any other bar I go to. One of the reasons I love this place is the beer, of course. About 24 taps, and there is usually a beer on cask. Most of the taps are quite good, and none are bad. There are always several Brooklyn beers. Wednesdays often feature a theme, devoted to a brewery, style, region, etc. These events are always a lot of fun, and feature great beer. I especially enjoyed Southampton night. My most recent visit was shortly after a German beer event. I enjoyed several beers from Mahrs.

Another great aspect of the Blind Tiger is the atmosphere. It's dark and cozy. It's a great place to come with friends, sit at a dark table, and enjoy great beers for several hours. There's no food served, other than cheese at events and bagels on weekend afternoons. I think they let you bring your own food in.

The best place for beer in Manhattan.

beveragecaptain, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%

UPDATE 10-16-2005

I've made many visits to the BT since my first review and I still love the place. It has become a tradition of mine to head there immediately after I arrive in the City. The service is usually what I would call good, but on one particular visit, it was above and beyond exceptional. Therefore, I've upped the service rating. Also, I just don't think the selection is as great as it used to be. Still wonderful no doubt, but the last couple of times that I have been there nothing really jumped out and wow'd me. So, unfortunately, I'm dropping the selection rating a bit. All that said, as long as the Blind Tiger remains open, it will always be my first stop after I arrive in NYC.

10-07-2003

A friend of mine and I set out to find the Blind Tiger on the one day that I had to spend in the City. Of course, I remembered the address wrong so we ended up just walking down Hudson hoping to stumble across it. Just as I was starting to get frustrated, I turned and, lo and behold, I was standing right infront of it. That old, dark "Blind Tiger Ale House" sign shining like a beacon and calling me home.

This is definitely a cozy little bar. It's small and not much to look at in the light, but it is quaint and homey. Everyone is friendly and enjoying great beer, so the atmosphere is very nice. We shared our table with two seperate groups of patrons and had a great time. We met some really nice people.

Out of all the places that I visited while in New York, the selection here had me the most confused as to what to order next. There were so many great beers that I had a hell of a time making up my mind. Beers that I had only heard mentioned before from breweries that I had only read about, they were all there. And mine for the drinking! And like every other place that I went to while in New York, they were served in the appropriate glassware (I love that).

The service was good, but with the amount of people that were there, there could have been at least one more person behind the bar.

Nothing will be able to keep me away from the Blind Tiger on my next visit into the Village.

Quaffer, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%

I've been here a couple times now so I figured it's my duty to share what I've learned.
First off, avoid this place on weekend nights if at all possible. The place is very small relative to its popularity. Friday and Saturday nights the place is crazy crowded, often with people standing outside waiting to get in.
On quieter nights this is a cool place to go to.
The bathroom is a bit scary; down a flight of stairs, only one toilet per bathroom (no stall) and no lock on the men's room door.
A couple of the tables there are dangerously wobbly. There's no point in leaving your glass on the table... unless that point is to catapult your glass into someone's face.
There is almost a divy tinge to the atmosphere, which I happen to enjoy. This place is well worn in (eg, the ever so wobbly table). The music on the juke was good classic rock.
The beer selection is solid to quite good. You're apt to get some of the more unusual Brooklyn brews there and they often carry Southampton stuff on tap. Bottle selection is solid... the beers themselves were apparently stored properly with clean tap lines.
The service was good enough; the bartender was able to answer questions I posed, which is more than I can say for some other beer bars I've been to.
Overall a good place... nothing terribly stunning or impressive to me, but definately worth a try.

ommegangpbr, Sep 15, 2005
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Blind Tiger Ale House in New York, NY
96 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.