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Vol de Nuit

Not Rated.
Vol de NuitVol de Nuit
very good

21 Ratings
Ratings: 21
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 8.44%
Taps: 8
Bottles: 32
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

148 W 4th St
New York, New York, 10012-1051
United States
phone: (212) 979-2616

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

None, yet.

(Place added by: WilliamPhilaPa)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 21 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Billolick:
Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

As you can read below, this place takes a little more effort to find, but its worth it. The entrence is next to the diner on the downtown side of the street. A few tables in front and up the stairs to the dark and athmospheric main area and bar. All the well known macro Belgians on draft, tasty mussells in a variety of sauces/flavors available. Good place for a date, drinks and appetizers. Frites were greasy and soggy. Lots of women, students,tourists,hipsters etc seemed to make up the crowd. Worth a visit.

Billolick, Aug 26, 2004
More User Reviews:
Photo of BethanyB
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%

The kind of place where I can't decide if its semi-dilapidated state is charming, or sad. The location is nice, being right by Washington Square Park, and it's somewhat romantic in that it's tucked away from the street with a small, yet secluded patio in front...the indoor space is even smaller. And very dark.

Belgian beers are the specialty here, and as a Belgian beer fan, you'd think that would excite me. But the selection isn't that big and is also pretty standard (St. Bernardus, Leffe Blond, Rochefort, etc.), and the prices are pretty high up there, even for this more expensive set.

Service is fine, and the staff seem knowledgeable enough. They know how to pour, at least. But I've had a few bad beers here, most recently an INCREDIBLY phenolic St. Bernardus Abt. 12 that made me want to cry, it was so bad. I've had bad beers at this place from both bottle, and tap. Also, the menu doesn't cite the beer styles, which is a pet peeve of mine. Fortunately, all the beers on the list are pretty familiar to any beer enthusiast, so I don't need much of a guide, but I think listing styles help people just getting into beer to figure out what they like or don't like, so I think this is a must for any serious beer menu.

I've had the pomme frites, and they're mighty good, but also mighty pricey.

Overall, this is a fine place for a small group or a person on their own who happens to have a little extra spending money on them at the time.

BethanyB, Sep 11, 2013
Photo of flagmantho
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%

A couple of friends took me and my wife to Vol de Nuit for some good beers after dinner this week. Walking past it on the street, I might not even notice it.

The layout is interesting, with a quasi-outdoor seating area in front and a dark back room where the bar itself is located. It's not terribly big, but we were able to find a table at 8 PM midweek (though it got busier later).

The beers they had on tap were good, although nothing really exotic. About 12 taps were present, and the selection was limited to almost exclusively beers you can find in a good grocery store (Duvel, Lindemans, Chimay, Delirium Tremens). The bottle list was bigger, but still without much exotic on it.

Prices were a bit high, but you're paying for the location as well as the product, I suppose. I don't see myself going out of my way to hit Vol de Nuit, but if I'm in the neighborhood I might hit them up again for a quick Tripel Karmeliet on draft.

flagmantho, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of medic25
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Out walking with my wife heading towards Blind Tiger when we noticed this spot hidden down a back alley. The interior of the bar was incredibly dark, primarily lit by red lights giving it a slightly seedy (in a good way) feel. We opted to have a drink outside in the small courtyard, which had a nice atmosphere. The tap offerings were reasonable; all Belgian, all tasty if not too unique (Chimay, Corsendonk, Delirium Tremens, etc), along with a 1-2 page bottle selection.
Service was so-so; we were told that it was table service outside, and after a bit of a wait we finally saw the waiter. He didn't seem thrilled about my wife's water order (sorry, she's pregnant!), but the Chimay I ordered was served in a reasonable time in the correct glassware ($9.00 for a 250ml glass). Didn't try the food; seemed like a decent place overall, which could be improved with some more unique offerings on draught.

medic25, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SkunkWorks
3.79/5  rDev 0%

Stopped here for the second stop of my birthday bar crawl. I was recommended this place by a friend and it was down the street from the Blind Tiger, so I figured it would be worth a shot for a round. Got here at opening at 4PM on a Saturday and stayed for about an hour.

This place is very hard to find. We walked right by it at first because there's really no sign. Once we found it, it opens with a cool, European feeling atrium and leads to a really dark bar. I ordered our beers at the bar and we sat outside to enjoy them. The atmosphere really felt like what I imagine drinking beer in Belgium must be like, though I've never been there so I can't say for sure. The bathroom felt a bit dungeon like.

There were some good offerings, many of which I was unfamiliar with, and some decent things on tap. I didn't pay much attention to the bottles since I usually try to drink taps when I'm out and bottles at home. I ended up going with a La Chouff, served in the brewery's glassware, which was nice.

The staff were fairly nice and really laid off talking to us, which I didn't mind.

Overall, a pretty cool little place for a quick round if you're in the area. Cheers!

SkunkWorks, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of Mosstrooper
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Re-Review: I have since been back and was less intoxicated.

So, let's begin with the atmosphere. The bar is a bit of a hole in the wall and can be quite difficult to find- the first time I went a friend who had already been there led me, but the next time I went I passed by it about two or three times before figuring out where it was. Walking in, it does feel very "European"- there is sort of an atrium with some tables outside before actually walking into the bar itself. The atmosphere inside still feels European and old- with bricked and plaster walls giving it a feel that it is very old, as many buildings and establishments are in Europe. However, there is little lighting and it is made stranger by lots of red lights around the bar- if they just went with candles and dim lights it would be much better. Then, there is the music- it's not really house music, but it's some sort of dance music which does not fit the product or the overall atmosphere before the music. There is one small restroom that has tons of graffiti (somebody wrote "PUNK" on the soap dispenser, which makes no sense because I couldn't see a punk paying $8 for one on-tap beer). Being in the vincinity of NYU, the crowd is younger and kind of "hipster"; I keep to myself and my friends so I didn't mind, but some may. The bar has a nice feel, but a few things about the atmosphere are kind of confusing.

I have no extensive experience with the service, but I have had no problems. They did let one of my friends taste a beer before deciding if she wanted it, so that was good.

Selection-wise, there is plenty for any beer lover and all of the beers are actually Belgian: on-tap they have Leffe, Hoegaarden, Duvel Green, Lindemans Framboise, Corsendonk, and Delirium Tremens among a few others. There is an extensive bottle selection with beers such as Saison Dupont, Orval, Chimay, Duvel, Corsendonk, and a variety of others. Prices range from only $6 for a glass of Hoegaarden from the tap to $9 for a Duvel Green from the tap, I have not had any bottles so I am not sure of the prices of those. It is a bit expensive, but not overly so. There are also a few wines if that interests anybody.

But, the best part of this bar is the food. They only have fries or mussels. I had the fries both times I went which I shared with friends and they are absolutely incredible. You are also given a choice of a sauce and I really enjoy the garlic sauce with those fries. Seriously, the beer is good, but the fries are something to get excited about.

Overall, this is a good bar, but I can't exactly say it's the greatest. But those fries...my God.

Mosstrooper, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%

I think that the name Vol de Nuit (night flight) is quite appropriate as this place seems more like a lounge than a bar. I could easily see a small dance floor put in - except that there's no space for it. It has the vibe of a night club though. And although I do kind of like the red glow that it has, I wasn't really comfortable enjoying beer here. Keep in mind, I was just out for a beer with a friend, and perhaps something to eat. If I was there to meet women, great, I'd have loved it - and to be honest, what's so bad about college kids drinking Chimay while trying to hook up? I'd rather see them drinking good beer than swill, even if it is kind of wasted on them at the moment. They're learning.

Anyway, although we'd planned to have a bite to eat, and were actually out to find some mussels, we passed. It was 8:30 on a Saturday night and it was already pretty full and loud, and I couldn't have imagined eating there. One or maybe two beers, OK, but I don't think I could have enjoyed a meal with a bunch of college kids reaching around me on both sides to get beers.

Which brings me to service. It was so-so, as in "I have 5 seconds for you right now and I'll be back". A suggestion was made, but then what we ordered was out. OK, that's the nature of the place. Sooo....

... what about the beers? They have a better than usual selection but nothing special. Usual prices for the area. That said, there are plenty of better places to get good Belgian beers, but not too many in the direct vicinity (except perhaps 123 Rabbit Club). Overall though, it's not about the beers, it's about the space and the lighting and the crowd.

NeroFiddled, May 05, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%

Was taken here by someone on a whim on a Saturday night. Lo' and behold, I've never been before.

Dark and loud. Chill enough atmosphere. Loads of dumb drunk chicks (no...not women...chicks) and equally toasted jackasses. But hey, it's Saturday and all the morons are out then. Quality was fine. However. We ordered a La Chouffe and I know we got a Troubador Blond (in a Saison Dupont glass?). We ordered a Chimay and it wasn't even close to the 25cl line. If I'm paying $8 for a beer, it should be filled appropriately. And I don't want to have to get up out of the couch and walk through 20 people to get to the bar to make it right. Then the second Chimay we ordered was fully foggy after the first one was pretty much clear. If it's a keg issue, it's easily fixed by giving her a little whirl to make sure it's mixed up appropriately. So consistency, attention to detail, and looking out or the customers best interest? No. Service was okay I guess besides that. It's busy, they're working slinging drinks, and interupting us every 5 minutes to grab an empty glass. Hey guys. Could you figure a way to be more courteous when you're grabbing empty glasses. I don't want to be dealing with you every 5 minutes. "Excuse me. Could you hand me that glass? Excuse me. Are you done with that? Excuse me. Could you drink your beer faster?"

Overall, why bother going here. They don't need beer nerd business as they're packed with kids who are just there because hey it's a Belgian beer bar (and it's a great way to get completely ripped). The Blind Tiger is a few blocks away with a more mature crowd, more mature service (even when it's completely packed), and an amazing selection to boot. And Spuyten Duyvil isn't really that hard to get to from here if you want a load of Belgian brews. (F train up to 14th Street, transfer to L, 4 stops over to Brooklyn and a short walk)

RblWthACoz, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of fl0w
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%

I wont bother describing this place since everyone else has hit it right on the head: It's dark, it looks old in a good way, the selection is OK, but nothing really special. Service is fast and they get the glassware right, but can come off as a bit too cool for school.

It's getting more and more popular. Expect this place to be pretty packed thursday-saturday nights, and pretty full all other nights. Then again, few places aren't in this neighborhood anymore.
I do like the dark atmosphere. Definitely a mixed crowd here as well, but thankfully the younger crowd here respects beer, unlike many, many other places nearby.
The Blind Tiger is like 2 or 3 blocks away, and I prefer it there. But for a change of scenery, I could definitely hang out at Vol De Nuit.

fl0w, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
3.79/5  rDev 0%

You know it's a sign of changing times when a Belgian beer bar like this can only be considered "okay" in terms of selection. There are many Belgian beer bars countrywide that offer more obsucre, seasonal, and off-the-beaten-path beers than Vol De Nuit. This very welcoming bar (which conveniently neighbors the absolutely amazing Vegetarian's Paradise restaurant) offers standard Belgian beers, which means VERY GOOD beers, of course...but for experienced connoiseurs, it's simply a nice watering hole and not a holy grail destination.

The dark atmosphere is nice, with stools at the bar, some small counters built into the walls, a long table for larger parties (or getting cozy with strangers), and even a beer garden that you need to talk through in the front even to enter the place. Cool. Very authentic Belgian atmosphere, with just a few well-placed beer signs here and there. Nothing overdone or gaudy. The music was okay on my visit, modern techno-pop and mainstream world-music type stuff.

The selection was decent: Obscura, Saison DuPont, Delirium Tremens, Westmalle, Trappistes Rochefort, Chimay, Duvel, DeKonick, Kwak, Lindemans, and others. Like I said, nothing crazy like Fantome or Flemish Primitive or Gageleer, but I found plenty of delicious liquid on my visit, no doubt. Sitting at the bar, I was taking a very unscientific survey of how much Stella Artois and Hoegaarden were being tapped vs. everything else. I'd say it was about 50% Stella/Hoegaarden to the 50% everything else. Crazy (well, the people ordering Stella were crazy).

Service was okay, but typical of many NYC establishments. Quick and competent, but with short or disinterested attitudes. I was also a bit bummed about the glasses. In a bar of this sort, you don't expect to get your Obscura in a Saison DuPont glass, and you don't expect to Get your Delirium Tremens in a LaChouffe tulip glass. Maybe that's beer-nerd stuff, but hey, that bar's been set higher by other establishments.

Very nice place, no question, but I still prefer The Ginger Man, which remains the finest beer bar I've found in NYC.

Metalmonk, Jul 31, 2007
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Vol de Nuit in New York, NY
87 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.