Alewife

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

14 Reviews
AlewifeAlewife
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

514 51st Ave
Queens, New York, 11101-5879
United States

(718) 937-7494 | map
alewifequeens.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by slander on 10-05-2011

Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
PLACE STATS
Score:
92
Reviews:
14
Ratings:
32
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
8.59%
 
 
Taps:
28
Bottles/Cans:
75
Cask:
Y
Beer-to-Go:
Y
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 32
Reviews by Billolick:
Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

 792 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Spreetaper
4/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of smithj4
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of eluvah
3.98/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Quiet on a Wednesday night. Service was still slow, almost like they can't be bothered, but once you do order they are more attentive. Selection is good, wide variety of breweries, but they are very heavy on IPA's.

 214 characters

Photo of EdrickCS
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Phigg1102
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of ArkyVaughan
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Definitely worth stopping in Alewife if you are bar-hopping in NYC. Just a short ride on the G train from Torst and has a great draft selection (28 taps, I think) and the grilled cheese is excellent.

 199 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

If you're in LIC and making the rounds to different breweries, a visit here is wise. The food is slamming and the beer selection is always on point. Rarities aren't so rare here. The taplist is very well-curated and has something for every taste and for the beer noob and the beer snob.

The tvs and sports games are appreciated as is the proper glassware and friendly service. A great spot.

 392 characters

Photo of Jacobob10
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Nothing but good things to say about this place. Arrived on a Friday at 4pm and we were the first people inside. Sat down at a high-top table. There is an upstairs area which I did not check out. Vibe is laid back with some TVs scattered around, but high enough on the wall that they are not distracting. Great selection of tap beers with about 25-30 total choices. I had a Rodenbach Grand Cru and a Troegs Cultivator and each were served with care and in proper glassware. For food, I split mussels and spicy sriracha peas, both of which were delicious. Service was great. A tad on the expensive side, but that is NYC. I'd go back again anytime.

 646 characters

Photo of StoutBoi
4.61/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Photo of AlvinLin
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

18 beers on tap. Offers beer flights. Tons of bottles available as well. Friendly service. Camille and Roz are great. They also host the Hunters Point Community Service Agriculture (CSA) and offer 10% off for CSA members.

Check out the beer list on BeerMenu.

 264 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.98/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Photo of jaymo18
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of James_A
2.5/5  rDev -40.3%

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.

 1,765 characters

Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 1,990 characters

Photo of Will_Rivera
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of sunofneurot
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of JoeMans
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of markgugs
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of dtomes
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Cath
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of vfgccp
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.48/5  rDev -16.9%
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!

 4,299 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Alewife in Queens, NY
4.19 out of 5 based on 32 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!