Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 8 | Display Reviews Only:
4.11/5 rDev -4.2%
This review is about the beer. Funny how many people are solely reviewing the food aspect for a place called Alewife, but alright.
First off, our waiter/bar tender was really great. There are, however, a handful of reasons why I can't give this place more than two stars. One thing that I guess you can call a pet peeve of mine is when bars or beer store's leave sold out beers on their BeerMenu's account. My friends and I came specifically for a Cantillon beer, which was still on BeerMenu's when we took the G train to LIC and for the entire week preceding this trip. When we arrived, we saw it on their "Shhhh... it's a secret" menu as well. When asking for the beer we were told they may not have it. And they didn't. Guess what else was on this secret menu? Bell's Black Note! Guess what else they didn't have?! What a freakin' tease. I never thought I'd see the day where I "settled" for Founder's KBS. There's something to be said for having all three of these beers in the same building at one time, but this leads to the next issue I have with this place, which virtually erases the awesomeness of their beer connections: what is with these bottle prices? $55 for Sour in the Rye? Are you kidding me? I'm getting tired of getting raked over the coals for the more rare craft beers. I do not want beer culture to become wine culture. The KBS was $15. Black Note $12. These are 100-300% RETAIL PRICE mark-ups (granted, I expect a high mark-up on KBS and Black Note, but these prices are still overboard). Even if you're very wealthy, why would you pay $30 more for Sour in the Rye? You don't get or stay rich by overspending. The draft prices are pretty much on par with other NYC craft bars, mostly $7 to $8 drafts, except there's a lot of local options, and those are usually cheaper than standard drafts. Alas, not at Alewife NYC.
I'd come back here for something really exclusive (calling ahead of course), but for a night out? Not unless they lower their exorbitant prices.
08-02-2014 23:02:12 | More by ArsMoriendiOU818
3.48/5 rDev -18.9%
**An update on Alewife's food menu and service**
They used to have great food here at Alewife. Imaginative savory items and incredible desserts from a talented pastry chef with credentials. All of that is now gone. What they now have is bar food. Beware of their pizza: it taste worse than Domino's! They were out of kale and Brussels sprouts last time I visited. How sad is that? Their oysters taste like water.
Service has never been good here. Disinterested waitress who don't give a damn, bartender with an attitude, long waits... during my last visit, I had three different servers at my table. One of them brought me the wrong beer (she clearly knew nothing about brews) but still charged me for it. You get the sense that employees here couldn't care less about Alewife or beer. What a shame.
I've been to Alewife three times already, and finally got to try the food. Good stuff! Their twice-cooked fries (garlic, parmesan, truffle salt) are simple, well-priced ($5), filling and goddamn delicious. No grease at all, and they come with an aioli so good I eat it straight out.
A kale-and-spinach tart was more of a thin-crust pizza, but again addictive and yummy. Watch for the desserts- they've got a serious pastry chef here who makes avant-garde sweet creations. The sweet corn thing is worth of Alinea.
All of this (except for the fries) comes at a high price. A very high one.
It's only a five-minute subway ride from the brutality of Midtown, but it might as well be five hours away, despite the majestic skyline view. This is Hunters Point/Long Island City. Desolate. Close yet faraway. Empty and cool. Warehouses, new condos, a waterfront you can't quite access. And Alewife.
So very different from the urban-ghetto environment of Alewife Baltimore, which I used to frequent while living there... Inside it is all wood and darkness, plus some cheap gay-themed paintings on the walls and tons of thick, rustic wooden tables. Could be better/cooler/more interesting, but it is alright fine.
(Alewife was empty at 4:30 pm on a Wednesday when I visited and remained empty until I left at 5:20 pm)
Now for the beer- about 80 bottles, mostly rare and weird (sours, wild ales, Stillwater, Belgians, vintages and aged brews). Some names in this department include Emelisse, Evil Twin, Haaddbryggeriet, De Molen, Alesmith, Allagash. They are all well-chosen and pricey, ranging from around $10 to $48.
On tap you will find 28 different beers plus one cask (Mahr's Pilsner). About half of the beers are served in half-liter mugs (17 ounces), including North Coast Rasputin, Ballast Sculpin and Ithaca Flower Power. Not a bad price and serving type!
There are a lot of rarities on tap too, and these will cost you a pretty penny ($8-$10 for 12 ounces). Think Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, Geuze Tilquin, Struise/Mikkeller, Allagash Dry-Hopped Triple and more.
Also, Stone Sublimely, Bear Republic Racer 5, Left Hand Milk Stout, Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter... a good balance overall. I like it better than the list in Baltimore, which was not as exciting.
Beyond beer, they have a short-but-sweet selection of bourbon, port and other types of booze, plus a similarly short-but-enticing food menu. I didn't have any food this time but look forward to trying Fisher Island oysters (with flying-fish roe), Pork belly, the Burger (a variation of the killer patty in B'more) and Black Feather Chicken (breast, seared-leg terrine, forbidden-rice risotto).
Service was alright but not great. I honestly expected more from a place that has been around for all of three days, like some warm welcoming and maybe a freebie, you know what I mean? Instead, the staff (mostly hipsters) went about like Alewife has been open for ten years and they are sort of jaded. Whatever.
All in all, I was happy here and look forward to bring the wife and friends on a Saturday and Sunday when they open at a decent hour (12noon). Their weekday opening time of 4:30pm is rather ludicrous, no matter how sleepy that part of Long Island City is. How about 3pm or 4pm?
Prices are not terrible but I still ended paying $20.49 for TWO beers, so this ain't a place to booze up on the cheap.
I'll come back here soon. I like the Alewife concept and am intrigued by this joint and the food!
01-22-2014 18:02:40 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Alewife in Long Island City (Queens), NY
94 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.