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Alewife

Not Rated.
AlewifeAlewife
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

20 Ratings
Ratings: 20
Reviews: 9
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 11.37%
Taps: 28
Bottles: 75
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

514 51st Ave
Long Island City (Queens), New York, 11101-5879
United States
phone: (718) 937-7494

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @alewifenyc

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: slander on 10-05-2011)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 | Reviews: 9 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Witz and Ben are off the hook on this Sunday lunching as, well, you know how they can be. Punks, yes, but I’ll catch up with them in the ‘burg in a bit, anyway. Last time out, they were all snacked up before I arrived and I was left sad, like the clown. Solo, me, early in and Queensbound for a beer(s) and bite. Parked up the block in that ‘don’t sweat Sunday’ island piece and walked it...

Kind of cavernous place opening upward to the rear for second floor action (we’ll get to that). Red painted walls with random arty prints probably not so random over black wood panel lowers and trims. Paneled windows to both sides of the front door, plank wood floorings, and exposed rafter ceilings with blended duct work, spinnys, and recessed spots.

I dropped barside; a straight stainless steel sheet topped job which morphs from bar to bar counter space towards the front, with a crazy corrugated base and piping foot rail, seating for nearly a dozen and a half. 28 taps on a looong row on the barback, with a horizontal 4x8 mirror angled above. Vertical shelving units to both sides of the taps and off the corner holding booze, glassware & bottled selections displayed. Mugs tucked below the tap row, and more glassware shelved beneath the bar, with glass front bottle coolers to both sides showing their wares. Stemmed glassware rack lined with colored holiday lighting dangles over the bar, and drop filament bulb lighting overhead. A single TV at the end of the bar. Yeah, we can put the Knicks game on. A 9L Temptation bottle sits down at the end of the bar; would not suck having that (Full).

Maybe a dozen fat wood tables; high tops mostly running front to back along the far wall and some banquets just off the bar, with drop bulbage over some of them. Upstairs, 2 dozen mostly low tables, with a lounge area to the rear, and a seasonal patio the neighbors must hate. Fireplace, freaky family portraits, and a large chandelier over the stairwell.

So, 28 taps in all. ¾ of them are American craft beer, with a 2 to 1 ratio of other time zone (North Coast Old Rasputin, Left Hand Milk Stout, Bear Republic Black Bear Stout, Bruery/Stone/Elysian La Citrueille Celeste De Citracado collaboration, 21st Amendment Bitter American, Ballast Point Sculpin, Oskar Blues Deviant Dales Pale Ale, Founders Dirty Bastard & Double Trouble, Stone Levitation, Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, Ruination IPA, & 15th Anniversary), to local/regional (Brooklyn Mary’s Maple Porter, Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, Blue Point Spring Fling Ale, Sixpoint Ich Bin Kein Berliner Weisse, Allagash White & Tripel, Victory Headwaters Pale Ale, Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA), and the other ¼ imports (Mikkeller Sorachi Ace Single Hop IPA, and 6 beers from Evil Twin; Hop Flood, Christmas Eve at a NYC Hotel Room, Monk Suffers Serious Sugar Rush on Barbados, Yin Imperial Stout, Sonderho Hipster Ale, & Nurse Pepper Porter, on the heels of an event).

Wanted the Evil Twin Nurse Pepper Porter having tasted a pinch, but it then kicked (naturally), so I settled in on the Mikkeller Sorachi Ace Single Hop IPA. It was good but it wasn’t as good as the one from the other side of the Pulaski Bridge. And another. Hey, if I could get a pinch of the Sixpoint Ich Bin Kein Berliner Weisse, please; tasty but not what I’m looking for just now. Chose instead for the Evil Twin Hipster Ale, which then kicked (sure), so no, I won’t (Hmmm, 2 Evil Twin beers kick out from under me; trying to think what I could’ve done to have been cursed by a gypsy brewer). Um, I guess the 21st Amendment Bitter American, tasty tasty.

And bottles; 54 in all. 2/5 of them are American craft beer, another 1/5 of them some nice Belgians, and the remainder some Danish play, Germs, English, etc. It’s a well thought out list.

Foodings; had been on the fence and almost soup and (grilled cheese) sandwiched, but brunch hours & lunch hours both deal the dry aged burger, 10oz dry aged short rib & brisket blend, with tickler cheddar, on a brioche bun for $15. I added grilled thick cut house cured bacon for $2, and the side salad for another $4. Coulda fritted for $3 but opted not. Salad was a small plate of Bibb (?) lettuce with a little OO, and then the burger arrived on a baby wood board papered. It stood tall, real tall, but I was determined to knock it down (Actually, I got an elbow up on it and smoooshed it down so I could get my jaw around it). It was a burger of awesome. Serious awesome.

Comfortable place. Music was all right, although someone did something unforgivably “For what it’s worth”esque (Who does that to a good Stephen song?) Good food and good drink; beer is fresh & clean, but pricey. Drafts are $7-$9 on average (2/3 of them are running $8), with a single $6 entry (Blue Point Spring Fling); steep for this boro and even the next. And I don’t love the pre-set samplers, I want to choose my own beers, D. They do promos, events, beer dinners, etc. Easily, the best tap list in Queens...

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.48/5  rDev -17.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

**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!

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Off the beaten path location (understatement)

Large room with high cielings in the main room, staircase leading up to an upstairs area. Warm and cozy athmosphere. Red paint theme. Tight bar area to the left as you enter. Multiple quality options on tap and bottles, easily one of the best lists in Queens, NY. They do ongoing events and tastings here. They were just post a Stone verticle Epic verticle tasting event when I visited.

Dont expect a "Queens pricing discount", prices relect the upscale nature of the immediate neighborhood and a Midtown NYC mindset and attitude.

Expect quality beer and food, appropriate glassware and regular rotation of the quality and interesting tap options available in the NYC area....all in Queens. Beer Advocacy in full effect at this urban outpost.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of metter98
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Vibe: This bar is located a short walk from the Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave. subway station on the No. 7 train, one stop away from Manhattan. The main room had a bar on one side with high and low wooden tables on the other side and towards the back. I counted three TVs plus one large TV projected onto a screen on the lower level. A staircase leads to seating on the upper level.

Quality: Beers were served at the proposer temperature using a variety of glassware, including chalices and snifter glasses.

Service: I came here early on a Sunday afternoon and found service to be rather prompt, despite there being one waitress working the entire restaurant.

Selection: With 28 taps, this bar has the best selection of beers in Queens and rivals some of the top bars in Manhattan. I came here the day after Zwanze Day and was treated to a nice selection of other hard-to-find sour beers.

Food: I came for brunch and tried the Irish Breakfast, which was pretty good and set a good foundation for the beers that I consumed.

Value: I found the prices to be a little higher compared to other bars in the area, but reasonable when compared to comparable places in Manhattan. They did offer a $25 all you can drink plus one entrée brunch special, but only a couple of draft beers were included.

Photo of markgugs
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of vfgccp
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of jaymo18
4.6/5  rDev +9%

Photo of dtomes
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I'm surprised this place hasn't gotten more love yet. It's a great to see a place like this open in Queens. It's comfortable, friendly service, well designed, tasty food, and has a great beer list. My only complaint, and this is sort of personal, is that I'd rather see more NY beers on tap and fewer expensive Scandinavian craft beers. Yes, they're pretty good brews, but they're not cheap and they're not typically much more amazing than what's brewed in and around NYC.

It's near the 7 & G trains, just a couple blocks north of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If the weather's nice, it's also just off the East River bike path/lane. You might even consider is a great pit stop between the Brooklyn Brewery and the Beer Gardens in Astoria.

Possibly the best craft beer bar in Queens. It could go back and forth with MexiQ over the best draft list, but Alewife easily wins on atmosphere. Check it out.

Photo of Will_Rivera
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of JoeMans
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of sunofneurot
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.75

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.

Photo of unclejazz
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I really felt that the prices reflected the quality of selection. It was nice to have the option of beer flights. The food selection was impressive and they have great french fries to go with the Belgian style beers. I am glad this is on the outskirts of my neighborhood. Good bar for winter. Some of the bottled beer was really expensive, but this means they have options for a special occasion including quads, lambics, barrel-aged small batch stuff. Also they had some great international micro-brews from Sweden and Denmark.(bonus points!!)

Photo of Cath
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of sfr26
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of bcmac983
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of James_A
2.5/5  rDev -40.8%

I really wanted to like this place. *Sigh*

My numerical rating should actually be lower, but I'm giving them a slight break because at the time of my visit, although it was several weeks after, they may still have been reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

Came in with the Mrs on a Saturday, late afternoon. There was one bartender (I believe it was the owner's wife), one customer at the bar, and one waitress setting up the tables.

We sat at the bar for an eternity with no beer list. Finally, when asked what we wanted, we asked for and received a list. We chose our beers, which were served in what were practically thimbles. Bartender disappeared again. No food menus. Starving. We finally asked the waitress if we could see a menu, and she brought two over.

I ordered a burger, the wife ordered the mussels. Burger was very average. Had to wait for any kind of employee to reappear to ask for ketchup. My wife's mussels, well, that's another story. They were fine, nothing special in the preparation, but they were fine - all eight of them. For $13. I know I don't know everything about food, but I'm pretty sure mussels cost no more than $2 per pound, so they easily could have given her a pound of mussels for $13 and still made money. But eight? That's just obnoxious.

The beer selection was okay. The menus (when we finally got them) were filthy, the bartender never engaged us - never said hello, goodbye, how is everything, how are you, nothing. Insult to injury, she ran my credit card twice. My wife noticed when the bill came in, and I had to call to have them make the adjustment, which was another whole ordeal.

This is a bar that is out of the way for me, so there is really no compelling reason to ever return.

Photo of MKanaga
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

I have been to Alewife Queens multiple times since it opened last month, and it has now become my regular beer bar. The service and selection of beers is top flight - all of the staff (bartenders, waiters, and barbacks) are extraordinarily knowledgeable about the beers they serve and are good sources for recommendations for "what to try next". The selection is really balanced across styles and geographies. The place has 28 draft lines which are being rotated at a fairly quick pace (a new beer comes online almost every day) and the cask ale selections have been good too. They also have a "Mug Club" which provides a good roadmap to trying beers from across the spectrum.

The atmosphere here is good, although it is a fairly large space and it hasn't quite picked up enough to justify all the room yet. There's always a good group drinking at the bar, though. The food is also very good, with high quality ingredients and some inventive dishes. The desserts are especially good. They just started brunch last weekend as well, which is excellent.

This place was a much needed addition to the Western Queens, NY area and provides a great alternative to the Manhattan mainstays. Also, the selection of international beers far outstrips many of those Manhattan bars, making this my go-to beer bar of choice.

Alewife in Long Island City (Queens), NY
93 out of 100 based on 20 ratings.