I figured since the last time I was in NYC I stopped at the location in the Empire State Building that this time I’d check out a different location, even if they have the same beer. This one is set up more like a restaurant and less like a lounge. I got a booth near the back and had some dinner that was pretty good. I enjoyed the soup quite a bit and the steak wasn’t bad. The pint of the “Indian Pale Ale” was alright as was the seasonal that was on at the time. Nothing special really. While in the bathroom I saw a sign advertising a citra hopped gluten free pale ale. I really wanted to try it to see even citra could save a gluten free beer but alas, they were out and the bartender had no idea when (or if) they would make it again. Too bad. Over all a nice place but like the other location, there is better beer nearby. Also, not sure if both places are rateable but next door (literally) is a bar with the same name that seems to operate independently of the restaurant. When I asked about buying a taster glass (it’s a miniature mug) they sent me next door where they happily sold me one… for $5.
service has always been goofy at this place back to when it was a bbq spot. decent to good brews usually priced so that you know you are in Manhattan. food is fairly solid maybe an 8 and priced as the beers. Ambiance is nice enough and probably the strong point here.
After stops at the Heartland Chophouse (next door to the left) and BXL Belgian Cafe (next door to the right) I opted for door number two and ventured in. Apparently opened in about January or February of 2009 (according to my bartender) and while having all Heartland beers on tap (and actually having two more taps than the Chophouse next door, allowing for two additional seasonals, or in this case one more plus the Empire Premium...which should be avoided), almost seeks to downplay the Heartland theme a little bit. Instead of being "Heartland Burgers", they’re HB Burgers... They do however offer a few of the same appetizers that appear elsewhere, and the fried pickles here were excellent. Decent sized lunch crowd (mostly suits) meant service wasn’t as crisp as it could have been, but it was still decent. My biggest gripe however is with the layout. Bathrooms are downstairs and require navigating some smaller aisles and such to reach from the bar area. Which during lunch meant avoiding about 5-6 servers, often with full trays, each time. Seems a bit like an Applebees, or something similar (or at least how I imagine them... can’t say I’ve been to one in about 15 years). If you’re on the street and want Heartland beers, go for it I guess. They apparently do make good burgers, though I didn’t get one so can’t speak to it personally.