Ratings: 26 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
4.7/5 rDev +24.7%
Slander, who pushed through the market of crazy and came out clean the other side. Elevator, operator, me to the 14th and then a flight of stairs to the 15th floor; I feel like there should be clues along the way or I should be gobbling up fruit for bonus points or something. The reception desk and the brewings behind glass, and out, but in; the rooftop enclosed...
A white marble topped bar runs a length off to the left with seating for 18ish on non-backed Randy stools. Cask box of 3 on the bar and a 10 tap tower a few feet down. 8 short barrels on their sides holding wine selections tapped on the barback split 4 & 4, with slight tiered boozings in between. Glassware tucked in there, too, and shelved below and tucked barside, with stemmed stuff hanging above. Awning piece over the bar with mounted spots, and through the slight windows atop the barback, you can see the top of the Empire State Building in all her awesomeness.
Out on the floor, there are about 5 dozen 2 seat paper placematted tables in rows, many solo and pushed together in pairs and pairs of pairs, and ½ a dozen or so larger round tables here or there. Shared benchings along the perimeter, and I see a sea of red metal chairs. Large sign letter BIRRERIA on the building side, with their 3 collaborator (Baladin, Del Borgo and DogFishHead) logos below. Lino wood looking floorings, and glass walls and roof top; some of which retract somewhat. The rear windows slide open and the rooftop, too; starting with the center panel pushed with a long pole. Hot air for a cool breeze, traded.
Phil’s BBQ at 2, I am afforded some time for a few beers and am underway sampling before Sunday sales noon. 3 house cask beers on at a time. I’ve had at all of ‘em. ‘Gina’ (Thyme Pale Ale, fantastic, amazingly quaffable, a good thyme beer), ‘Ruby’ (American Wheat with dried fig & mustard seed, very nice), and a beer called ‘Wanda’ (Chestnut Mild, good roasted nuttiness). On return visits, I’ve also had ‘Nigella’ (a highly drinkable session IPA, excellent), ‘Barista’ (Robust Porter with Guatemalan coffee, tasty), and ‘Pina’ (Brown Ale with pine nuts and honey, does not suck). Their beers are really quite good. I don’t know about $10 a pint good, but they are well done. ABV’s ranging as low as 3.5% (Nigella) and as high as 7% (Barista).
In addition to the house cask beers, they’ve got 10 drafts; a good mix of regional American craft and import fun with offerings from all 3 collaborators. Across my visits, I’ve drank the Baladin Isaac (holy fucking coriander!), and the Grado Plato Strada San Felice (roasted chestnut lager, excellent), and have sampled the Del Borgo Genziana (a saison with Gentian root, really nice), the L’Olmaia Karkade (spring Ale with hibiscus, sour but not unpleasantly so), and the Loverbeer Madamin (Italian Flanders style sour brown seemingly more full on sour than an Oud Bruin). And nearly 30 bottled selection; 1/3 of them from the house collaborators, and the remaining 2/3 a mix of 2 to 1 American craft to import ratio, plus nearly a dozen wines.
We split the meat plate for 2 ($21), the winners being Cacciatorini (spicy), and Sopressata (garlic & black peppercorn goodness), and we ordered up 3 cheeses ($11), Asiago Fresco (winner), Robiola Bosina (solid), & Provolone Madarone (did not suck); all cow with a little sheep. It came served with a hazelnut & honey accompaniment of awesome. And lest we not forget the broccoli rabe ($5), which was goddamn stellar, just amazing garlic love there.
My subsequent revisits have been all about the pork shoulder (beer & apricot braised, served with a celery, cucumber, and persimmon slaw of sorts, and a mustard vinaigrette) for a mere $19. One of the most amazing foodings of my life. This pork shoulder literally melts; I could eat it with a spoon. I had to sit back and ‘holy shit’ for a moment there. Just stellar. Was dealt 3 slices of homemade spent grain bread with a small plate of olive oil. Menu absent is the broccoli rabe; as such I am forced to slum it with the carrots (baby ones, all honeyed up). They were solid, but I feel robbed of the rabe this day.
Brucetender again; he let me try a few things, has good opinions on what’s what, and just knows his game. Great food and drink here. Pricey, but just don’t care and then don’t. It’s Sunday, and I’ve got a warm happiness rolling over me, a pretty good day this be. The drink is a sizable contributor to be sure and I’m still trippin’ from that pork shoulder. Nice breeze and good tunes rooftop today, Lots of tourists, of course, but I do like. Just 2 hours in, the place is 2/3 full, tablewise. So know that the game here is to be on their doorstep at Sunday opening, get your snack and drink on, and get out before it fills in around you, which it will.
04-10-2012 17:31:12 | More by slander
4.08/5 rDev +8.2%
La Birreria! The newest beer spot New Yorkers love to hate... :-)
I decided to check it out on a sunny hot August day. At around 2:30pm there was no wait. It is a bit difficult to get to, what with the elevator, stairs, hallways and general maze.
Loved the music, but the place looks like a cheap patio at a dive bar in Florida. Crowd was mostly European tourists, and some well-dressed locals, pretty girls and guys in suits. No beer nerds in sight.
WAY HOT! And no views whatsoever except for a tiny slice of the Empire State from the bar. The marble bar was so hot you could warm up your coffee on it. Even the servers were sweating. Enough said!
Selection: ONE house brew (Sofia, with peppercorns), one Dogfish cask (Eataly pale ale) and ten drafts, including Dogfish 120 and Raison d'Etre, Southern Tier Hop Sun, Moretti and Life&Limb. They also have wine on tap, FYI.
My Eataly Pale Ale was fine, drinkable, a hint of spice, tad boring but good for the weather. Not too casky. Had a "teku" (12 ounces) of Life&Limb, 20 cl of beer and the rest was head (bartender said that is the way they do it because it is high gravity).
Didn't try the food but would like to next time. Service was fine at the bar. Overall, I had mixed feelings about the place. Love the selection and service and music, didn't like the settings and the silly heat and the prices and the hassle to get up there.
Had the chance to chat with one of the owners and that was a nice touch. He explained how the costs of brewing on a rooftop adds up, hence the $10 tag for a pint, and also said that they are not a beer garden but a brewery on a rooftop, which makes sense to me.
Not a destination (avoid at peak times), but sure worth a visit or two, and definitely much better than the poor reviews here might have you think. I'm looking forward to the new house-brewed ales.
Note: On my most recent visit (Summer 2012) had a great Birreria Giuseppina, a "Golden IPA" brewed with decocted rigatoni and Belgian yeast strains.
09-14-2011 23:32:42 | More by DoubleSimcoe
3.93/5 rDev +4.2%
Love the space, loved the food, beer they brew is ehh, guest bottles and taps are nice but expensive.
Nice place to take folks from out of town, cuz the room is bright, airy, pleasant and impressive. Went when it was quiet, midweek for lunch at the bar, so no crowds, and no stress, can imagine prime times would get kinda hectic.
Enjoyed some anti pasta and a tasty sandwedge, along with a few of thier house brewed drafts.
Very pleasant at the bar.
Not a place I would visit on a regular basis, but nice to visit to see fine food and fine beer being intermingled, enjoyed and mostly respected.
03-17-2012 19:53:38 | More by Billolick
4.29/5 rDev +13.8%
I really enjoyed this place - it was a great place to go for dinner and beer even on a very cold evening in April. The glass roof was closed but there was still a great view of the night sky and some of the close by building through it. There is also a great view of the top of the Empire State Building through the windows by the restrooms. The decor is quite pleasant and there is a slightly exciting buzz about the place.
Beers were well poured, served at proper temperature, and in proper glassware. Beers seemed very fresh and I definitely think they were high quality.
Both the service at the bar and once we had a table for very professional and courteous. Food and drinks were delivered quickly. I would recommend making reservations if you want to eat here on a weekend or are impatient (especially when the weather is really nice).
This place actually had a very nice beer listing including casks, taps, and bottles featuring a lot of very nice Italian beers as well as some NY locals and other American craft beers. Probably about 35 beers to choose from but they are not the same beers you find at most of the other places in the city.
The food was really enjoyable - I highly recommend the beer and apricot braised pork shoulder as it was very crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth (like a pork belly) on the inside.
Prices are a little high at this place but the food and beers are top notch and you are somewhat paying for the experience.
04-05-2013 15:00:01 | More by dbrauneis
3.54/5 rDev -6.1%
A rooftop brewpub with walls like a greenhouse in downtown Manhattan? Yup, they’ve certainly got the location part down.
Not much beats this place in terms of atmosphere and restaurant location. On the first floor is this massive Italian supermarket that also has a half-dozen small counters to buy freshly made food to eat at one of the numerous tables scattered about. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then again, I’ve never been to New York City before.
The only problem is that Birreria is a little bit difficult to find. There’s an elevator tucked into the back of the massive space if you know where to look, and I didn’t, so it took several minutes of wandering. Maybe that’s just how they whet your appetite?
Once upstairs, the views are amazing, and the beer ain’t bad either. They focus on cask ales freshly made (I believe on location) to provide the best flavor possibly. On my visit they had three of their own casks on tap – a Christmas ale, a thyme pale ale, and a chestnut brown ale. I was on an empty stomach and only tried the latter two, but both were fantastic. I give kudos to not overdoing anything and letting subtle complexities rule the beverage.
While the menu looked tempting, I had my eyes set on another gourmet prize in town, so I did not partake. That will have to come another day.
My only criticism would be that the bar area isn’t big enough for the late afternoon work crowd. Much of the restaurant was empty while the seats at the bar and standing room was densely populated. I’m sure that ratio flips during dining hours, however, so that criticism doesn’t have much to stand on.
04-03-2014 18:36:20 | More by bigkingken
3.94/5 rDev +4.5%
La Birreria has only been open for about a week so I hope to update this upon future visits as it can be a bit unfair to review a place that is still working out the kinks.
To get here you must navigate the tourists at Eataly and head to the back. There you must wait on line for the elavator which brings you to the 14th floor. Once there it is up another flight of steps, past some empty kegs and the brewing equipment to the roof. Note that the line can has been very long so far especially during peak hours. If you go at an off hour you can breeze up though.
Once up on the roof there are a number of tables to the right and a bar to the left. The retractable roof allows for great city views while offering ample protection from the rain. Seated at the bar, you face north which should provide a view of the king of buildings, the Empire State but unfortunately there is only a small slit of a window offering a glimpse at the building. However at night the lights do illuminate things quite well. The rest of the view is better , especially for the Flatiron Building. My only other complaint is there is no real way to walk to the edge to have better views.
Beerwise they had a number of Dogfish head and Italian brews as well as three housemade cask offerings. As of right now they are brewed down at DFH but this will change as the brewery becomes fully productive. I had their Thyme beer as well as the Maple brown ale. The Thyme was very mild while the maple brown was a bit more bold. Both beers were solid as was an Italian Pale Ale, ReAle . Being new, everything obviously tasted fresh.
Service was good, especially for a new place. The bartenders were knowledgeable and prompt. I did not get any food this time around but a few of the items I saw other patrons eating looked good.
The major problem I found was the price of the cask beers, $10 a piece. Compared to the $7 regular tap offerings this seems a bit much. One of the bartneders said this might come down so this point could change.
All in all there are a few kinks and the view is not quite as good as what I thought it would be but the place is running smoothly. The focus on brewing real ale for consumption on a Manhattan roof top is a great idea however the crowds and the prices will probably prevent this from becoming a regular hangout.
Mind you that this review is for the very newly opened establishment and as such is limited.
06-16-2011 16:05:23 | More by sleazo
3.93/5 rDev +4.2%
Nice space on top of the roof. We got there about 11:30am and had no elevator wait, no wait for a table and the full attention of our waiter.
He had great suggestions and an honest assesment of the beers. He was very friendly and knew his beers. I had their Gina, brewed with thyme..pale ale on cask. It was very good. My girlfriend had a Sly Fox hefe and that was also very good. Food wise and beer wise....this is NOT cheap. I had their Maitake Mushrooms (2) with a pecorino cream sauce, served with asparagus and pea shoots....for $15. They give you good bread and very good olive oil for dipping. But that was lunch for me. Not a lot of food, but it was excellent and I was satisfied...not full, but it was enough. My girlfriend had the pork shoulder with beer-apricot sauce....a more substantial plate, served with kraut..it was also very good.
As we ate the place filled up....so we were glad to have been there early..I'm sure that an hour later and we would not have had the service that we had....they were slammed pretty much.
I would say that it was NYC rooftop pricing
( I'm improvising here)..but I would recommend a visit; especially if you can get there early.
09-04-2011 17:30:43 | More by Hautacam
3.58/5 rDev -5%
First off, you have to go in knowing you are walking into a tourist trap. With that, expensive prices come hand in hand. It is on the rooftop of the new Eataly establishment. The prior reviewer gave a good overview of the concept.
So, the setting is top notch. Rooftop drinking in NYC, how cool. It is not that you have a great view of anything in particular, but regardless. Good staff. I have gone twice, both times the waiters seemed to know their beers.
On my most recent trip, there was only 1 real house beer...a cask peppercorn wit. Interesting, but come on $10 a pint is asking a lot, especially for a session beer. By far, the most expensive house beer I have seen in my travels. $5 would be sufficient. they continue to promise a chestnut ale is coming, but still nothing. Most draft beers are not even served in pints, they are served in "tekus" which I have no idea what that means, but it is smaller than 16ozs for sure.
On tap, outside the new Life & Limb from DFH, it was Moretti, Sly Fox and several DFH standards. The bottles are interesting, but unless you want to shell out $16-$30 for a bottle, you are out of luck.
The food is not typical Italian/pasta fare. It is most cheeses, salads and meats. We had the 3 cheese platter for $11 which was good, but we got 3 tiny pieces.
This is a mixed review. I like it there, most for the atmosphere and uniqueness. the prices are just a bit out of hand, even for NYC. If you want to try it, just know what it is beforehand.
08-21-2011 18:10:12 | More by Nutleybeer
La Birreria in New York, NY
87 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.