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.
At each Vintner’s Circle location, staffers guide customers through the roughly seven-week process of mixing, fermenting, and bottling their own wines. Each aspiring winemaker starts with a choice of 80 pre-pressed juices sourced from vineyards around the world and ends up with 28 bottles emblazoned with personalized labels and filled with their own unique vintage. Vintner’s Circle staff also guide wine tasting classes, sangria-making parties, and other beverage-related activities.
Villa Milagro Vineyard is more than a spot for the creation of fine wines. It's also a protective habitat for native species, a culinary school, and a bastion of organic and sustainable agricultural practices. On winery tours, guests stroll down lanes surrounded by vines that are grown without pesticides or herbicides. You can sign up for cooking or wine-tasting classes, or simply sit down with the vintners for dinner. Tastings let you sample the vineyard's output, and bottles are for sale once you find something you like.
Planted by hand in 1990, 56,000 special seedlings spiral toward the sun, spawning bundles of grapes that wait to be plucked and transformed into casks of delicious libations. The owners of the elegant winery and castle welcome guests to meander through the scenic vineyard or delve into the cool, climate-controlled cellar to sample wine or rifle through Dionysus’s old storage boxes. Large tasting rooms and an outdoor pavilion can also host private events on the regal grounds.
When Joan Schaming and Ronald Williams opened Balic of Clinton in 2004, they wanted to make sure their clientele understood the importance of sampling wines before they commit to a bottle. In their shop, they hold daily tastings of their rotating selection of reds, whites, dessert wines, and specialty potables, which they recommend to pair with selections from their inventory of gourmet foods and chocolates.