Bar, Eatery

41 1st Ave
New York, New York, 10003-9426
United States

(212) 475-5097 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 73 | Ratings: 81 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JoeMans:
Photo of JoeMans
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Noelito76
5/5  rDev +26.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of thundersnow
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

Photo of almostjay
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of banger7
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I've been several times while enjoying the sights and sounds of NYC. It can get a little crowded if you're here during peak hours. Service has always been prompt and polite. There are a variety of drafts from which to choose, as well as a really nice selection of single malt scotches and tequilas. No food available, but you can bring in your own (there are pizza and Mexican restaurants on the same street). The outdoor seating in the back is especially pleasant. Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

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Photo of seanchai
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of BfloBrewHound
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.87/5  rDev -2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75

I rather like this place with with the mostly lighter wood interoir and fairly large bar space. I would forewarn anyone that is looking to try this place out that it gets quite busy on weekends including Thursday night. If you go when it is really busy you will find the service slower and it will be very difficult to get a spot at the bar or a table. The place has decent lighting (which is nie when you are wanting to really enjoy a beer and see what the appearance is like) but also gets quite noisy, to the point where it can be hard to have a conversation - not loud music just the noise of the other patrons in the smaller space. There is also a nice outdoor space when the weather is decent.

I have always had beer well poured and served in the proper glassware with the proper amount of head.

The service can be real hit or miss when visiting d.b.a. as I have had great service and horrible service (sometimes within a single visit). There are definitely bartenders that are quite professional and do a great job serving you while others that you can barely get their attention and they seem annoyed that you interrupted their conversation with a co-worker.

The selection is pretty good, the bottle list is generally always a little more impressive than the drafts. For drafts, they usually have some very nice NYC area beers and other quality craft offerings but nothing exceptionally rare. Often they have some cellared offerings that can be quite interesting.

I don't remember ever getting any food here so I'm not going to add anything to the review about it.

Prices are in line with other bars in the area, not unreasonable but a touch pricey.

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Photo of Mr27
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This place is great, right up my alley. Low key quiet and great atmosphere. Awesome selection of beer and not too pricey. Service was very great. Was a little disappointed they didn't have a live jazz band like the one in Williamsburg but all and all still a really great place. The outside back park encased in glass is awesome as well. Love a bar with an outside to sit.

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Photo of beenitty
2.06/5  rDev -47.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3

Of all the beer bars in NYC area that I've been to this is the ONLY one that I could actually give a bad review...

I've been to approximately 25-30 hotspots for beer in the city and I was very dissapointed in my experience at DBA because I'd consistently seen the bar on people's list of best beer bars.

First the service was really really bad. If you look around on Yelp and other rating sites you'll find a myriad of ppl complaining about the service. The tales are true. The bartenders really dont care if you get a drink or not, theyll ignore you, theyll take breaks and walk around cleaning stuff, they are not at all professional.

Second, the beer menu is broad but not impressive. Typically most beer bars have beers that are somewhat hard to get and or highly sought after. They have pretty much anything you can get in your average store plus a few above average offerings, not many standard Belgians like Rochefort etc. (not that Rochefort is criteria for variety, but you get the point)

Their draft list is probably a bit above average considering the number of drafts available but if you can get served, then you cant really enjoy the beers.

Dont waste your time at this place, Blind Tiger and Against the Grain are both much better in terms of variety and service.

If you end up at DBA, dont say I (Jason and Todd) didnt warn you!

Highly NOT NOT NOT Reccommended

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

I've been to this bar a few times and definitely like it a lot. There is always at least one, often two, beers on draft and a great selection of those. The bartenders are knowledgable and the service is also very good.

The bottle selection is outstanding. However, the draft selection is not as good as it could be. Not too many obscure beers and not a huge number. Not like Rattle & Hum, Ginger Man or Blind Tiger. However, the bottle selection is one of the best in the city.

Haven't tried the food.

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Photo of franklymyrhett
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

I loved this place when I went. It was very nice inside. It can be a very crowded on the weekend. We went really late and it was not too crowded. I sat at the bar. The attractive bar tender did not know anything about beer but the selection was good so I didn't care. They had the Goose Island Bourbon county on draft. Amazing. I love this place and will go back anytime I am in NY. They have a wide variety of scotch's as well. I met some very interesting people as well as an old movie star. Go here!

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Visited on a Sunday afternoon and had a pleasant experience here. I fear that a return visit or two will yield an experience similar to others I read here on Beerfly.

Chalkboard overhead indicated the taps and the server was very generous in offering samples without having to ask. She was a bit older than most servers, and was very polite and attentive. We never had an empty pint glass more than a minute or so.

Prices were about the same as other beer bars in NYC. Atmosphere was mellow with oldies music in the background, though the bathroom was a bit sketchy.

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Photo of sbe1
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I was rather surprised to read the Alstrom brothers reviews of this place. They have some points about the service and the bathroom, but give me a break. Most NYC bar bathrooms are horrifying, and despite what they say this place is not a dive, but rather pretty average in terms of Lower East Side bar atmosphere. Also, if you lived on the lower east side, like I did for several years, you'd have a chance to know this place a little better.

That said, I like the atmosphere of the place, except one thing about it is that it seems to attract a lot of out of towners who've heard that this is the place to go on the Lower East Side.

Beer selection is great and so is quality. Service is about average for bars in the area, though sometimes clueless and lackadaisical.

Overall, I like the place and recommend it if only for their great selection of beers.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

A- I stopped in during off hours, so I can't really comment on this seems like it could be a pretty good spot, decent size bar area, with a few tables and a pacman machine. There is an outdoor garden with tables and covering.
Q- They list the date that each beer was tapped, thats pretty good quality in my book
S- The bartenders could have been a little more chatty, I was the only one in there at the time, didn't give the most informed discription when i asked about some beers
S- about 15 taps, mostly from US (5), UK (3), Germany (4), Belgium (3). and (2) cask lines. Bottle list is pretty extensive from all over.
F- they don't serve food here, but do offer free cheese on Monday's and allow you to bring food in.
V- beers were $6 during happy hour (nothing happy about that) $7 regular hours, a lot of beers on tap were 10oz pours (lame)

Overall, I don't think i would go out of my way to head back here, but who knows maybe for their sunday brunch thats about it, its not a destination

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Photo of brow1901
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Visited d.b.a. in east village on my NYC trip. This place is great, it has a great selection. The best part about this bar is that it's somewhat casual, and local. I went there on a friday afternoon expecting the place to be packed but it wasn't too busy, I was able to find a couple seats for me and the lady at the bar. The service was good but they were a bit understaffed as the place started to fill up so it took a while to get a drink. I didn't ask them any questions about the beers but I saw some other people and it seemed like at least one bartender was able to say something about the beers. Another good thing was the prices, it wasn't nearly as expensive as other bars in NYC.

The thing that I liked most about this place was the local crowd, I chatted it up with some fellows who were really nice. We bought each other a couple of rounds and b.s.ed.

The only down side was they had a pretty big tap selection but no printed menus, and I was unable to read the chalk board. No big deal tho. The other thing that i didn't like was that they ran out of beer glasses. So one of my beers was served in a water glass, again nothing major.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

beer bar on the lower east side. has a great selection of bottle and about 12 taps. when i was there each time it seems like about a third of the clientele orders mixed drinks, and this was on a thursday. so not a lot of beer drinkers here. a bit of yuppies, art types, and punks. been here a handful of times. service is always different. its been quite shotty and quite good. the bartenders are nice at time. crows a great guy. and not at others. they seem to ignore you more so than some bars but that may be because of the inconsistent beer drinking clientele. prices are great on some stuff and not so much on others. unibroue is a bit pricey for NYC. although i had a 750ml of Brasserie de Blaugies - Bière Darbyste for 16 bucks. great place during the week with friends for sure. selection is good but most of the great beer is down stair and there list can be a bit off.

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Photo of biegaman
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

August 2008:

With its long stretched bar congested and its benched walls and table sets stuffed, the place was no doubt busy on this Friday evening, but I wouldn't go so fas as to say too crowded. There was no line to get in, nor to use the washroom, and it didn't take me too long to get a drink. Finding a place to sit was a minor difficulty, someone would eventually offer up a chair and we nestled a spot at one corner of the bar, resting our drinks on an old Ms. Pac-Man machine.

Directly behind us lay one of the coolest things I'd see in New York. It was a sort of voodoo shrine to the Yankees. There were years worth of newspaper clippings - headlines about the team and its progress - stamped to this small carving in the wall. There were vigil candles with the names of players lit next to their bobble heads. A small doll with New Orleans beads and Carnival mask stayed guard of the shrine. It might be more humorous elsewhere, but take into account the baseball culture in NYC and it is equally fascinating. Don't miss it!

There was also an outside patio area that seemed it could easily fit another 25 or more people. There were tables and chairs dropped amongst hanging flowers, candles, and vines. It is the kind of patio you would dream of having a good beer on. I myself would have loved to, however it was closed, due to that afternoon's rain I can only assume.

The draught selection is quite simply solid. With around 15 or so taps, as well as two hand drawn casks, you will have no problem finding a beer of nearly any style to satisfy your thirst. There is a high turnaround rate and so the taps are not only fresh, but constantly changing as well. Not to mention the only five or seven dollars a round which makes their prices not only reasonable, but among the lowest of Manhattan's great beer bars.

Perhaps even more impressive would be their bottle menu. Spread in tiny writing across many chalkboards I was not able to count the number of offerings, but did make note of the many Belgian and American essentials they offered. It had range in both styles and producing countries. I'd recommend a good look at what's on draught first, not only can the selection be otherwise overwhelming, but the dim lighting can also make perusing the chalkboards a bit of a strain on the eyes at night.

Unlike some of the other great beer stops in NYC, this bar also stocks full varieties of whiskeys, tequilas, rums, sakes, vodkas, aperitifs, and wines. I know nothing about scotches or tequilas but their selection seemed fit for those of more attuned tastes. They will also do cocktails and more generic mixed drinks. All in all, it can be said that d.b.a is a place for those who enjoy a good drink, whatever that drink may be.

I saw a sign advertising a new opening location of theirs in Brooklyn, which along with the existing one in New Orleans, might mean we can consider d.b.a to be a chain. Regardless, I liked the atmosphere at d.b.a. and its aura seemed every bit as authentic as anywhere else we stopped. This was a hip place to be on a Friday night in Manhattan and more than just its beer list made me glad I'd stopped in.

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Photo of leftmindedrighty
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

This was stop #3 on the Philly Does New York pub crawl, and our first stop in Manhattan.

Upon walking in, you're hit with numerous chalk boards detailing their alcoholic offerings. Huge lists of Tequila, Bourbon, Whiskey, and of course, beer. The beer list wasn't the biggest, but it was quality. Of note they had on tap: Goose Island IPA, Jever Pils, Sierra Nevada Porter (For some reason, you rarely see this on tap in Philly), and Troubador.

We sat out on the "patio" and talked and threw back some awesome beers for a while. Pretty good atmosphere, but crowded, as you might expect on a Saturday in Manhattan.

I really liked d.b.a., but would love to come back here and sample their Bourbon and Whiskey selection.

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Photo of Nickls
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Edit: I've since re-visited and need to up the score a bit. I know that my previous review was a little harsh, but will let most of it stand as a couter-example.

I've had the opportunity to visit d.b.a. on a number of occassions, most recently over this past weekend.

The bottle list is pretty extensive, and you can find a good number of interesting brews on draught. Draught, like most places, tends to be the best value. I'm a huge fan of the outdoor seating, but the overall atmosphere is nothing special. It's a great place for an early afternoon beer or two, but after that it gets pretty packed and loud. Not necessarily the time you get to contemplate a beer.

The service can be a bit slow at times if it is busy, and not all that accomodating if you ask for something off the bottle list. They often have to obtain it from the cellar downstairs, and on a couple of occassions, I've gotten a bottle past its prime. Specifically, I ordered a 750ml of San Coulettes to split with a buddy and it tasted funny. I turned it around to check the date and it was well past it's prime.

Upon politely (it really was polite...not a beer I normally see out and I can appreciate the difficulty of having it there) alerting the bartender about this and our desire to switch out, we got a very poor response. Instead we got two cheaper (comparatively) draughts and the difference was not paid back to us.

It won't stop me from going back b/c it's rare to find a good beer and a chill place outside to drink it in NYC, but just know that it can be a hit or miss at times on several fronts.

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Photo of mltobin
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Went here on an early afternoon one day and enjoyed a couple nice pints. Since it is the summer, I enjoyed the area in the back with the outdoor seating. The quality and service of d.b.a. are better than average. The selection of brews is good and the chalkboard is not exactly unique in a beer bar, but always fun to see instead of some laminated menu. The food I did not have, so I cannot comment on and the prices are reasonable for the New York City market.
Overall, a fun place with a good staff and good selection that is worth checking out.

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Photo of sholland119
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

A good beer bar with a great bottle list.

Atmosphere inside is just ok but the outside patio is pretty nice. There was a solid crowd at 6pm and complete mayhem at 11 when we went back.

Tap list is kind of small but generally pretty high quality. The bottle list is extensive and excellent but all written on chalk boards in tiny print.

Service is just ok. You can usually get a refill within 10 minutes or so of having an empty glass.

I'd go back if I could sit outside on a comfortable summer afternoon but probably not otherwise.


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Photo of morebeergood
3.44/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Second stop on my NYC pub tour. Came in here kind late around 11pm on a Saturday, and it was packed. Pretty dark in here, so can't really give the place points for decor. Squeezed our way up to the bar to try to read the chalkboard menu. Man, can they write the beers any smaller? You need binoculars to make out the handwriting. Decided to stick with draughts, as at least I can see the tap handles. Decided to go with a Dark Star Expresso stout cask pint. Great taste, weak in the body. Managed to grab a table, but were a few seats short, so I stood. They had some old 90's hip hop rocking the sound system. Made it kinda hard to yell over someone's head the the bar to the bartender to take an order. Place got too crowded to properly enjoy, so we just just had one and done. Would have liked to check this place out on a slower night to get a better feeling for it, as I am sure that the beer selection could have kept me entertained given the chance.

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d.b.a. in New York, NY
Place rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 81 ratings