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.
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.
In a converted brick electrical plant where machines once hummed and pumped power to the railroad, streams of craft brews flow into glass jugs branded with the Growlers Beer Bistro logo. The New York Times-praised gastropub has earned a spot among the 31 best bars in the county, according to Westchester Magazine, and boasts an ever-changing draft list that has featured Brooklyn Brewery reserves, Two Brothers’ Midwestern suds, and Smuttynose ales. Bartenders funnel the liquid gold into pints as well as half-gallon growlers for at-home enjoyment.
Growlers’ seasonal cuisine menu is designed to harmonize with the current selection of brews and features upscale pub fare, such as the Devils on Horseback—bacon-wrapped prunes stuffed with blue cheese and featured as Westchester Magazine's Dish of the Week. The hearty fare also includes a burger of beef, pork, and veal topped with a relish of bacon, onions, and pickles.
The building's industrial past shines through with accents of exposed brick and ceiling beams, complemented by decorative additions that include a polished concrete floor, a long communal table, and reclaimed barn wood that frame an illuminated wall. Along with their Tuesday–Friday "Hoppy" Hour, the pub hosts regular events throughout the week, from Tuesday trivia nights to Friday ladies’ nights with live DJs, open only to those given the style “lady” by Queen Elizabeth II. Saturdays feature live music, and the kitchen now serves brunch on Sundays. Occasional classes douse gray matter in beer knowledge, including food-pairing advice and brewing tips, and brewery events are held the second Thursday of every month.
An enoteca-style wine shop filled with soft wood tones, Aries Wines & Spirits was founded in 1984 by wine connoisseurs Tony and Andrea Russo. To this day, Tony and Andrea travel the world in search of premium products, tasting wine after wine and returning home with cases from regions such as Argentina, Austria, France, and Greece. The bottles that meet Tony and Andrea’s standards—and the ones that sneak under their noses by wearing fake mustaches—stretch across the shelves of their temperature-controlled wine room. A multitude of other spirits fills out the rest of Tony and Andrea’s inventory, ranging from vodka and rum to champagne and cordials.
In 1936, nearly three years after the end of Prohibition, Station Plaza Wine and Spirits opened its doors. And so long as alcohol has remained legal, Station Plaza has remained on Kraft Avenue, its shop stocked with top-shelf spirits including brandy, tequila, and sambuca.
Though it has a wide selection of hard liquor, the store really specializes in wine. Its collection includes more than 2,500 hand-selected labels from around the world. Wine consultants can help narrow down a patron’s search for the perfect bottle by wine type, region, or producer, and they can even steer customers in the direction of more hard-to-find varietals or organic wines. The Station Plaza team also champions wines that rank in their top-rated category. The discerning criteria for inclusion on this list are taste and seasonality, rather than whether it stains your lips an attractive color. To learn more, check out the wine blog one of Station's owners contributes to.
Father-son restaurateurs Pasquale and Francesco Coli chose the name Massa' Italian Kitchen & Bar as a tribute to the southern Italian farmhouses, known as “masserias,” that line the countryside of their native Puglia, located on the heel of Italy. Their passion for the rustic, Old-World charm of Puglia permeates the kitchen, where chefs hand form pastas, chop local farm vegetables, and assemble housemade sausages. As a nod to Puglia's centuries-old maritime traditions, they also seek out fresh shipments of fish and seafood every day. Before diners embark on a gustatory expedition to Italy, servers suggest wine pairings from a list of more than 100 bottles, and bartenders mix signature cocktails with vodkas they infuse with vibrant fruits.
Today the restaurant continues to embrace its rustic roots, catering to diners and families who appreciate classic Italian cuisine and healthy portion sizes. The easy, dining-room evokes the feel of a rural cottage with its exposed-stone walls, floor-to-ceiling fireplace, and woodwork, which was constructed out of materials salvaged from century-old New England barns to created a relaxed dining experience. At each table, Old-World crafted entrees steam atop white plates, while families and friends breezily chatter amid the homey ambiance to the split-level dining room and wine bar.