Little Town NYC unabashedly hearts New York. Of its three restaurants, two are located in iconic Manhattan spots: one in Union Square, the other on Theater District’s Restaurant Row. Little Town’s fancy for the Empire State shines through on the menu, too, with homestyle dishes such as the Adirondack chicken pesto and an Angus beef burger topped with crispy Berkshire bacon. The Suburb Backyard BBQ platter is piled high with enough buffalo wings, Nathan's hot dogs, and other locally inspired fare to feed a family of four.
Little Town NYC also takes great pride in its beer list, which features more than 100 local brews, including IPAs and amber ales that hail from breweries in Long Island, Ithaca, and Saratoga Springs. At the Restaurant Row location, you can enjoy a pilsner from Coney Island while sitting in a booth constructed from the beach’s old wooden boardwalk.
TThe professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique winemaking courses take aspiring vintners through the accessible four-step process, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants then fill more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
The Castello Plan broadens sippable horizons with an array of guided tasting menus presenting guests with five half-glass pours of wine or belgian beer. Customers can dictate the theme of their tasting by choosing from one of three flight options (a $50–$75 value, depending on tastings selected). The Wine 101 tasting elucidates the fundamental differences between merlot, chardonnay, and Welch's with samples of varietally correct ambrosia. The Wines of France flight, meanwhile, dabbles in the vinous offerings of such notable regions as the Loire Valley, Burgundy, and Champagne. Beer tastings guide patrons through the hoppy labyrinth of belgian blondes and dubbels, delving into the brewing history of Trappist monks and alternative uses for waffle irons along the way.
Bitter & Esters brew maestros shepherd beer aficionados 21 and older through the basics of crafting their own libations during the two-hour introductory brewing courses. These knowledgeable instructors sprinkle their lessons with useful tidbits as their students immerse themselves in the process, communally brewing a bubbly batch of hops-laden liquid like witches on Super Bowl Sunday. Classes cover need-to-know facts about extracts, malts, grains, and yeasts as well as common trouble-shooting methods for when batches go awry. The hands on lesson includes all the necessary ingredients and reference materials required to whip up a hearty brew, with starter kits available for purchases if students want to continue fashioning beer in their home or underground speakeasies. Classes conclude with students sampling the fruits of previous home brewed labors, opening their taste buds to all the different possibilities craft beer making affords.
At Therapy Wine Bar, upscale bar fare and New World wines create the conditions for nightlife to thrive in the incubating glow of hanging lamps. Servers haul tapas and charcuterie past exposed-brick and lime-green walls en route to the bar, outdoor seating area, or private lounge area, which contains more pillows than an insomniac's trash can. A mishmash of tables and chairs populates the remaining floor space, where visitors can lounge while conversing or playing games of backgammon.
After five years managing a retail store, Ana realized she wanted to sell something else entirely: food. So she enrolled in culinary school, where she first honed the skills she now displays at Simplicity Wine Bar & Cafe. Her tapas range from spicy veggie empanadas served with pineapple-mango aioli to cayenne-spiced chocolate cupcakes. With numerous organic varietals to boot, a frequently updated selection of wine by the glass and bottle complements Ana's cuisine and confections.
When eyes aren't glued to Ana's artfully plated dishes, they're probably busy taking in Simplicity's nightly entertainment. The lineup includes plenty of café staples, such as poetry nights, open mics, and Sunday afternoon concerts by award-winning guitarist Jorge Arévalo Mateus. On weekends, live DJs convert the bar into a dancehall by spinning classic reggae and hip-hop tunes.