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.
Michael Eigen is on a mission to simplify the world of wine for others. As the owner of Premier Cru Wine Merchants, he wields a Certificate of Wine Studies from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and draws from experience tasting thousands of wines to help customers choose the bottle best suited to any occasion. He and his wine-sales manager Carla Aurich help visitors navigate the boutique store, where shelves boast wines and spirits from around the world—including rare and little-known varietals and vintages. The pair also curates selections of wines suited to specific holidays, from romantic reds for Valentine's Day to featureless, unlabeled bottles for the anniversary of the founding of the witness-protection program.
Pappardella is just a short walk from Central Park, but it feels like an authentic Italian trattoria. Inside, a colorful mural of Florence sprawls across the walls. The menu sticks to traditional Italian cuisine, using homemade sauces and pastas to craft entrees such as rigatoni bolognese and linguine with roasted Brussels sprouts. Alternatively, diners can sample seared wild king salmon or pollo milanese made with free-range chicken. Pair entrees with a wine bottled directly from a wine river in Italy, or wrap up dinner with a dulcet tiramisu.
The food-and-drink connoisseurs behind 1742 Wine Bar impart the subtleties of vino as customers sip fine wines and tantalize palates with a menu of classic Italian dishes. Thin-crust pizzas support fresh mozzarella and a choice of more than three dozen traditional and inventive toppings, such as jalapeño peppers, zucchini, and smoked gouda. To pair with the kitchen's crispy discs and other Italian classics—from panini to a gnocchi of the day—the staff cull bottles from an inventory that, like a housecat's stratagem for achieving world domination, changes nightly.
French doors and flower boxes welcome diners into a narrow storefront facing the sloping greenery of Ruppert Park. Inside, black-and-white art photography hangs above the dark, wooden bar, which is back-dropped by wooden shelves lined with phalanxes of fine-wine bottles and a full selection of liquor.
Serendipity's staff has purpled its lips with years of wine experience, and its in-house sommelier, Barbara D'Antonio, can match the novices and connoisseurs alike to the bottles of fermented fruit that line the neighborhood boutique's walls. She'll introduce you to the shop's finest grape distillates during a private tasting, highlighting the nuances and endearing giggle of each vino varietal as you kick back in the majestically downy green armchairs and rub your feet along the thick rug. Whether you choose to sip in the company of your vaudeville act's screwball or the rest of your barbershop quartet, you'll get to stock your home cellar with a red wine from the Skyline Oak Tree Series ($20), a private label specially selected by Barbara. And in a Groupon-exclusive deal, you can cart home one of 672 bottles of Phillips-Pereira Designer Wine ($80) hand-signed by Phillips G. Pereira, along with a confirmed reservation to purchase the next Phillips-Pereira designer-bottle selection when series number two debuts. Enjoy the refinement of one of the world's oldest beverages amid the chandeliers and wooden floors of Serendipity's specialty store with today's Groupon.