The Black Sheep Ale House
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Ratings: 18 | Reviews: 11 | Display Reviews Only:
4.81/5 rDev +11.3%
The Black Sheep is my first review here on BA. I fear I may being doing the place an injustice, as Im hesitant to go throwing around 5's my first time out, but it has been my go to place since I found them last Christmas for an office holiday gathering.
The Beer. 25 Rotating Taps, 1 Hand Pump and more than 75 cans/bottles. I dont know the exact bottle count, but their sign tauts over 100 beers, so doing the math, Im saying 75+.
The selection is outstanding. Always quality. Always a good mix of styles, and prices are kept reasonable. Everything moves well there. Nothing sits on the lines. In fact, I don't know if this should be a complaint, of sorts, but one thing that gets me sometimes is that the hard to find stuff, that they are very adept at getting their hands on, may be gone by the time you get there. I suppose that may be my fault. They are diligent in keeping their beer list up to date on line, so Ive made a quick check part of my morning routine. Ok, and my end of day routine too.
The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, which is welcome and not all too common these these days. For some reason, if seems to be fashionable in beer bars here in NY for staff to be obnoxious. Not all places are like that, but truly too many of them seem to revel in it. Not at the Black Sheep. The staff is very cool and, as I said, well educated.
The atmosphere is relaxed, as are the patrons. Its hard to nail down an overview for the customers. Its a wide mix of ages, professions, ethnicities. In conversations with the manager, Bob, he's said their core tends to be 25-35, but they get plenty of folks outside that box. Myself included. The snob factor is also held to a minimum. Which I find refreshing as well. Again, to quote the manager, they are "beer enthusiasts, not beer snobs". They encourage folks to "drink what you like". But will also tell you that they are happy to educate (Bob says enlighten) the BMC drinker and they do take pride in their many successful converts.
I put a good score up for food. Perhaps that was a little tongue in cheek, as they dont have a kitchen. BUT, you can get a FREE hot dog there all the time. I happen to like a good dog. And they make bar pizzas, which are surprisingly good. Also, the bartender will be happy to produce a folder filled with local take out options, as they dont discourage folks from ordering in.
The owner, Vin, is a good dude, who will tell you that he has worked very hard to create a place where everyone is made to feel welcome and can come to enjoy each other and great beer.
Trivia on Wednesday nights is a blast with Liam and Sara (a winning combo behind the bar). Thursdays are good too and are when they usually do brewery nights. Sunday nights you get alot of people in the "industry" coming in after they close their places. Ive only been in on a couple Sundays, but its fun recounting stories of my own bartending days back in college. I mean to try and get in on a Sunday day sometime, as folks talk about Liam's IPA Bloodies (I know, sounds crazy, but people love them), and he does FREE bagels on Sundays. Weekends are what you would expect, or should I say hope for. Full house. Good time had by all. There really isnt a bad night to go there, but I will admit that some of my favorite times have been for Monday and Tuesday Happy Hours. I shoot over after work for a couple. They tend to be a little less busy and Bob is on the bar. Its a good time to get my geek on, enjoy a few quality brews and some good conversation about beer. Though perhaps now Ive given a away one of my previously better kept secrets about the place.
So for the guy who was criticizing members for not reviewing enough and letting folks know where the good places are, here is my first and its my favorite. I will endeavor to put up some others going forward.
06-18-2013 15:42:17 | More by BobConner
4.62/5 rDev +6.9%
Came to this place tonight due to the insistence of a friend from Long Island. I live in Manhattan, and I'll be honest, I was pretty hesitant to go schlepping out to the Island for a beer bar when I can't walk two feet without tripping over one in my own neighborhood. Well, I've known this kid since college. so what else can you do but reverse commute to Long Island on a Friday night. I frequent the best beer bars in NYC, and I had very low expectations of this Mineola spot.
As it turned out, they were celebrating the beginning of an Island-wide beer festival with a cask of a pale wheat conditioned with oranges from a local brewer. I always have to try "the Thing" any bar is spot-lighting that night, so I dove right in. Crazy good beer, super fresh tasting.
As the night went on, I had the opportunity to peruse the beer list and I must admit, it was impressive. They have beers on I haven't even seen around NYC. Oak aged Chocolate Yeti? Yes I shall, please and thank you. The bottle list goes on for miles, but I never quite got there because there were so many options on tap I had to try.
The bartenders were very nice and speedy. I usually don't need much direction in making a beer choice, so I didn't really need their attention except for each time we ordered a round, but busy as they were, they found time to check in with us and joke around which I liked. I will also admit that I had a preconceived idea of what the "Long Island Crowd" would be like. I am a little embarrassed to say I was expecting some Jersey Shore rejects, but man enough to say I was wrong. The crowd on this Friday night was very chill and down to earth, similar to the vibe of the bar itself.
The place had a definite pubby feel to it, but also not a typical old school pub look, either. It's hard to describe. Dim lighting, black painted wood, candles, really nice TVs (but not too many), nice Brewery signs and prohibition era pictures, and giant chalk boards in the men's room covered in people's random musings. Whatever music the bartenders were playing was way better than the jukebox picks, but you'd expect that. It's a free country.
I expected there to be some bar food available and was disappointed to find there was no kitchen. The bartender heard me asking my friend what the deal was with no food and he offered to supply me with some delivery menus from local spots. At that point, I didn't feel like ordering food and waiting however long for delivery, but it was a nice gesture. My friend pointed out that they have a free hot dog setup, so I just helped myself to that. It did the trick.
Overall, I had a really great time and enjoyed some top-notch brews at this bar. I would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area, and it might even be a reason to visit with my college buddy some more.
05-11-2013 05:11:26 | More by James_A
4.41/5 rDev +2.1%
Stopped in here on a Tuesday night - 5/7/13 - coming from Nassau Coliseum to celebrate an Islanders playoff victory.
Atmosphere is of a typical neighborhood bar. It's on an unassuming street corner a couple of blocks from the Mineola train station, with no other bars or restaurants in the immediate area. Laid back vibe on the weekday night I stopped in, with a few other people talking and enjoying a few beers.
As for quality, this is a top-notch craft beer bar. Without a doubt, the go-to spot in Nassau County for craft beer. The owners care about craft beer and only keep the best stuff, with an emphasis on locals, on tap.
Service was very friendly, with the bartenders being knowledgable of the beers they're pouring and more than willing to talk about craft beer.
Selection is unmatched in the area - 25 taps, all quality crafts with a nice selection of locals and hard-to-find stuff. I had a Barrier Dunegrass Double IPA, as well as a couple of drafts from Singlecut. They were pouring four Singlecut drafts on the night I was there, so I'm guessing they must have just had an event.
The one drawback to this place is there is no kitchen. It'd be a great place to stop in for dinner before or after an Islanders game (it's only 10 minutes from the Coliseum), which is really the only reason I'd find myself in the area, but without food I sadly won't have many opportunities to stop in.
05-11-2013 03:52:44 | More by MThiele360
3.93/5 rDev -9%
Seems to be the best beer bar in this area. 25 beers on tap. Decent selection of bottles. Was able to add to my collection of unique beers and it seems after my second visit that the turnover is quick. I'd rate service higher but world of diff between Tue night and Thu night bartenders ;)
05-10-2013 03:33:53 | More by ebelcherjr
4.29/5 rDev -0.7%
I am always entertained when I visit The Black Sheep Ale House of Mineola, NY because of its exceptional selection of beers, primarily of the craft/micro/local variety, and because of its versatile nature in being a relatively comfortable place to hang out with friends. I enjoy the exceptional tap line ups as well as the polite and efficient service that outshines many of the other bars in its general vicinity.
Dressed in a dark suit of black wood paneling, The Black Sheep seems to have been an old style Irish bar of another era that was purchased and renovated in the past 2 years to become a great craft beer bar within a few blocks of the Mineola LIRR train station. Sitting on a highly visible corner of Roslyn Rd and 2nd Street, it dominates the area with a subtle presence as there are no other bars or real restaurants in the immediate area. While the general parking around the bar is lacking, one quick drive around the area exposes that the side streets have plenty of room, especially when large groups descend upon the Black Sheep as I did last night with about 60 people.
Upon entering the place, one can easily slide into one of the many chairs surrounding the bar and take in a ball game or even European sports on the many televisions that encircle the perimeter of the tall ceilings. The taps are right in front of patrons and chalk board menus in the place of mirrors display the beers available by size and abv content.
One of better things about the place is that while it engages and embraces the craft beer community with special nights for brewers, cask events with full cask engines drawing pints, supports local brewers with ample tap lines, and hosts friendly events, it does not get involved with the ubiquitous "tap takeovers" that would alienate it regulars. Yes, you can find standards like Allagash White and Blue Point Hoptical Illusion among the 30+ taps, but you can also find exotic ales like the awesome "Plead the 5th" (RIS) from Dark Horse, which I tasted last night.
My only detraction about the Black Sheep is that it doesn't really serve food and hot dogs don't cut it for me. While the management seems to be very friendly with the idea of bringing food in, I think it really needs just basic menu of burgers/chicken/wings/ dogs/wraps plus chips to take to the place on par with the best LI has.
I am looking forward to returning to The Black Sheep when I am able to be in that area again.
04-04-2013 05:31:32 | More by bonbright7
4.44/5 rDev +2.8%
This place is great. The beer selection covers all styles. Always have a large selection of local beers (brooklyn brewery, port jefferson brewery, six points brewery)
Bartenders are for the most part knowledgeable about what they are serving and can recommend a new beer close to the style you enjoy.
there are 2 draw backs to this place; 1.) no food unless you count hotdogs
2.) the jukebox covers a wide range of music so you may hear a long stretch tunes you don't care for
the best part about this place is it is $4 beers for the rest of the summer
07-25-2012 21:03:36 | More by laxxx47
4.5/5 rDev +4.2%
Without a doubt the best beer bar on Long Island, bar none.... Great owners and barkeeps (they know proper glassware and know firsthand what they are serving)... Always a great selection on tap, always fresh and many hard to find local brews and great hard to find national beers also ... Why go to NYC with this hidden local treasure...A trip out to Mineola is definately worth the effort (no other bar in the area comes close).... With their new pricing the Black Sheep is an even a greater destination.
07-08-2012 20:54:18 | More by suzbillyeddie
4.38/5 rDev +1.4%
Went here for the first time on Friday, May 4th. It's a small cozy place with a very old fashioned feel and atmosphere. Dart board on the wall, tables to sit at in the back, usual bar snacks already set out, and a great selection of beers at the ready on tap in bottled. Bob Miller, the bartender, is a really nice guy and has good knowledge about beer. I was chatting with him about Burton Baton by Dogfish Head and he said, "I wouldn't serve you a bad beer, because we don't have any here." The beers are pretty reasonably priced I was paying between 6 and 7 dollars. My one complaint is that the music was a bit loud for such a small area, but other I really recommend a visit. CHEERS!
05-07-2012 02:42:26 | More by nickmorgan11
The Black Sheep Ale House in Mineola, NY
94 out of 100 based on 18 ratings.