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Waterfront Ale House

Not Rated.
Waterfront Ale HouseWaterfront Ale House

27 Ratings
Ratings: 27
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 7.58%
Taps: 20
Bottles: 20
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

540 2nd Ave
New York, New York, 10016-8204
United States
phone: (212) 696-4104

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tainohawk
5/5  rDev +22.2%

tainohawk, May 05, 2014
Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

seanchai, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%

Vibe: This is a great neighborhood bar that I've been coming to for over a decade. The front of the place has a bar with some tables scattered around the perimeter and the back area solely consists of tables. One thing that really stands out about this bar is that they have a popcorn machine and you can go over, grab a bowl, fill it up and bring it back to where you're sitting and have something to munch on.

Quality: Beers are served in the proper glassware using a variety of glassware. I was quite happy to receive a dunkelweizen from Bavaria in a proper weizen glass.

Service: The wait staff is friendly and they usually have two waiters working the tables, which is pretty good considering that this is a small establishment. The staff was knowledgeable about the beers and was happy to offer recommendations about the beers on tap.

Selection: The bar prides itself in having 20 beers on-tap and every time I go I usually come across one or two beers that I have never tried before. If you can't find something you are interested in trying, you can always request the bottle menu since you can never go wrong with having a Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Food: The regular menu consists of regular pub fare but I like coming here for lunch and dinner because they have daily specials that are usually good. One of the daily specials always consists of a burger made with meats such as buffalo, kangaroo, ostrich or venison and is served with their homemade catsup. There's also a couple of appetizer and entrée specials.

Value: Prices for beer and food seem to be rather reasonable compared to other places in Manhattan. They always have a special "Beer of the Week" for about $5. There are also happy hour specials.

metter98, Jul 19, 2013
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.68/5  rDev -10%

The wife and I decided to spend a Saturday out in Williamsburg, but guess what? There is no L train. So we boarded a ferry back to Manhattan and, walking on Second Avenue after landing, we decided to stop at the not-quite-Waterfront Ale House.

This is one of those beer-rich Manhattan destinations I have heard a lot about but have never actually visited. Inside, the place looks divey in a good way- neighborhoody and cozy. Not too crowded on a Saturday evening, with a crowd of locals, old couples and some young folks.

19 taps and nothing crazy. Founders Centennial, Southampton Grand Cru, Avery White Rascal, Brooklyn Brewmaster, Harpoon Leviathan... I expected more, but it isn't bad. Their bottle selection is better, divided by styles and with some gems like Brooklyn Monster, Goose Island Bourbon and some weird British ales like Skull Splitter and Heather Ebulum.

The bartender was nice, pleasant to look at and just plain good. Food is pretty mediocre (bar food, burgers and shit) with some exceptions: a great wild-boar terrine and great smoked-garlic mashed potatoes. Also some cool specials like honey-and-chili cured bacon.

Prices were a little high all around- $9 for my snifter or Harpoon Leviathan barleywine! But $12 for the terrine plate is not too bad. I should have gone for the $10 bottle of Bourbon County.

After two beers, two small dishes and a $45 bill, I can tell you I won't be back here anytime soon. But if you live in the East Side, why not...

DoubleSimcoe, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%

A very low key place, this establishment generally has an impressive draft list and excellent food. It is a moderately sized placed for Murray Hill area of New York but can get quite crowded at meal times on the weekend.

The burgers are top notch and they often have some really good specials (including a daily special burger which often features a game meat). The food selection is good - nothing too exotic - but always well prepared and delicious. The desserts are also very good.

The selection and quality of the beers served here are really good, I almost have never come here and not found at least one beer that I had been really wanting to try or have again. Beers are generally served at the proper temperature and in the proper glassware.

Servers tend to be very pleasant and attentive but never overbearing. They are knowledgeable about the beer and the food and seem to really enjoy the neighborhood feel to the place.

I have been coming here for probably close to 10 years and have never been disappointed.

dbrauneis, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of jjboesen
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%

What we have in the Waterfront Ale House is an unpretentious and rather homey saloon in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. While it is not a large place, it is not small enough to be uncomfortable: in front, on the right, there is a moderately sized bar at which you can perch yourself, or simply grab one of the tables along the windows and glance out at the street life. Unlike many of the pubs, bars and venues that currently run a swath along this portion of Second Avenue, the Waterfront attracts a good portion of thirsty regulars and hungry families, all of whom consist of actual adult-type persons. (No obnoxious Bud-swilling fratboy horndogs in backwards baseball caps here!)

The beer selection will not impress those seeking yet another “Big Beer” or the trendy beer for this month. It will please those who simply wish something fresh, well poured and palatable. Waterfront does manage to provide a decent array of the local crafts; such as Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, Sixpoint Brownstone and Chelsea Hop Angel, the latter being on cask. Not bad at all, I must say. Of course, since there is no printed beer menu, those cyber drones attached to electronic gizmos must avert their pasty faces away from texting to read the chalkboard hanging above the bar.

The food is well above pub grub; it is fresh, filling and worth the price. I settled for the Texas chili and it went down real well. Not spicy at all – though spicy chili is certainly not bad either. However, the service was not as attentive as I would have liked – and I am deducting points for the failing the Water Test. We shall not dwell on this.

All in all, Waterfront Ale House is a pleasant place to hang out should you find yourself in this part of town. (After all, you can’t spend all day at Rattle N Hum, can you?) Incidentally, there is also a sister location on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

jjboesen, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of BARFLYB
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%

Went here after having some beers at Rattle and Hum.

On a corner in NYC, waterfront ale house is not on the waterfront at all, it's not even near the water. The feel is of a classic pub with wood making up for alot of the decor but it's not deer hunter rustic. Classic. Some tables to the left for couples and groups and a bar area, bathrooms downstairs.

Quality was nice, this place is very clean and the beer tasted clean so no problems about dirty lines. Nice clean and proper glassware and fancy branded glasses used when you order a bottle. About 10-12 taps, did not see a handpump. Some NY locals, avery some other beers, nothing extravagent, but good enough for a pint or two. I had an Avery Pilsner that hit the spot after walking forever. I had great service from a very nice bartenderess.

Like said the selection is not killer, but the bottle list had some semi gems on it at reasonable prices for NYC i guess. A nice food selection, the mexican soup called posole was great, (im sorry I ate it all Gleason, I was hungry) All and all, I would come back here.

BARFLYB, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of Mosstrooper
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%

I stopped in here today for lunch with my girlfriend.

Vibe-wise, the place was pretty nice- basically a classic pub atmosphere. A bar up front, with a few tables near that, then a "back room" with only tables. They have chalkboards listing the food specials and the on-tap beer list, which changes. I was in there from about 2pm to 3:15 and it wasn't very crowded.

As far as their selection, they have a very nice list of bottles and had eighteen beers on-tap. When I went, I didn't see anything super special on-tap, but since the taps change I would expect that the beer selection changes. The bottle list has a lot of good stuff, especially a nice list of Belgian and Belgian-style brews, and most of these are very reasonably priced. The on-tap list runs for $6.50/pint unless otherwise noted- one beer on the list was $9, a few others were $7, and then they had a "beer of the week" which was $5.

As far as food, there isn't a whole lot on their menu, but what they do have is good. I ended up getting the Texas dip sandwich- being a transplant Texan, I wanted some good Texas food. While the sandwich wasn't as good as what I could have gotten in Texas, it was still very good for Manhattan, and that's saying a lot. My girlfriend bought some veggie sandwich and really liked it. Price wise, things aren't too bad, but they have lunch specials Monday through Friday where for $10.95 you can get a mug of beer, the soup of the day, and an entrée (which is what I did)- a very, very good deal considering the usual Manhattan prices. The fact that they also have free all-you-can-eat movie theater popcorn is a huge plus too (though, I would make sure your palate is cleansed well after eating this if you're having a good beer!).

I like this place, and I'll be back- to me, it's a good place to either have lunch and a beer, or to go basically whenever and have a beer. I would recommend it. As a note, the beers I had here were a mug of Ommegang Hennepin with my lunch, and a bottle of Unibroue Maudite after I finished my food.

Mosstrooper, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of morebeergood
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

This was stop number two of my Wednesday NYC pub crawl. Met three friends here and sat at the bar. Nice looking place inside. Bar up front, with more table seating in the back. Huge chalkboards above the bar with food and draft list. Great selection of American craft beers. No crap on tap here. Had pints of Kelso Saison, Brooklyn Weisse, Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale, and the bartender hooked the last two of us up with a free pint of Butternuts Brutus DIPA. The one thing I noticed was that there were no stouts or porters on tap amongst all the tap handles. All ales, lagers, and wheats. Food was good, we all ate and liked it. I had the Cuban sandwich and my friend loved his wurst plate. Four beers and a sandwich only cost me $35, so this was a great place to hang out for a while. Side note: this place sells their own homemade hot sauce. I tried some with dinner, and it was great.

morebeergood, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of mltobin
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%

Located on 2nd avenue, I had walked right past the Waterfront Alehouse on many occasions and had seen their ads in print.
The place is dark inside, a mix of regulars and tourists. The focus is on the taps, I believe they had 16. Mostly american craft beers: stoudts, brooklyn, blue point, and a couple euros. I was a little disappointed on the specific selections, but maybe that is because I had already drank nearly every one of them in the past. I did not have any food, so check the other reviews for that. The prices are a bit high for the neighborhood. But, Waterfront has been here for some time and I am sure they will continue to do well.

mltobin, May 02, 2009
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Waterfront Ale House in New York, NY
91 out of 100 based on 27 ratings.