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.
Handpicked fruit lend their sweetness to honey-hued Blue Point Blueberry Ale. A citric bite drifts from Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA, named for the quick boil that pulls bitter earthiness from the hops. Thornwood Ale House's collection of more than 60 beers includes microbrews and imports that run from sweet to hoppy, from pale Hoegaarden to roasted-black Mother's Milk. In the kitchen, which remains open until 2 a.m., chefs forge a menu of dishes designed to pair with the range of suds. Steam rises from baked mac ‘n' cheese, pouring up through panko breadcrumbs and nuggets of lobster or pulled pork. Oil crackles around beer-battered fish ‘n' chips with the comforting warm sound of a fire engulfing a scarecrow with sneaky eyes, and blenders pour milk shakes infused with sweet spirits.
Indoors, TVs and vintage sconces cast light on orange walls and a marble-topped bar, and outdoors, heels click against a slate patio beneath umbrella-covered tables. The bar fills with chatter punctuated by the sounded of toasting glasses through the week with events including trivia, karaoke, and live bands.
Proponents of the slow-food movement, Bibi'z Restaurant and Lounge's proprietors believe that meals deserve to be savored rather than scarfed down. To that end, their chefs ensure that diners have plenty to relish: they use simple techniques to bring out flavors in sustainable and wild-caught fish, grass-fed Black Angus beef, and locally sourced organic produce, dairy, and poultry. The culinary team incorporates those ingredients into dishes such as vegetarian wild-mushroom ravioli with a butternut-squash cream sauce, pan-seared duck breast with a reduction of Asian five-spice, and gluten-free braised short ribs with a parsnip puree.
Hand-selected from sustainable wineries at home and abroad, organic and biodynamic wines—more of 50 of which are available by the glass—add their own nuanced flavors to meals. Barkeeps also quench thirsts with complimentary still and sparkling water filtered in house rather than taken straight from the blowhole of a whale. Each leisurely feast unfolds on Bibi'z's airy outdoor patio or in a spacious dining room replete with a fireplace and a lounge full of comfy leather chairs.
Chappaqua Wine & Spirit Company curates a selection of small estate wines, often created in small batches. In addition to its wide-ranging wines, the shop sells glassware, corkscrews, and wine bags, plus spirits ranging from single-malt scotches to tequilas.
Armed with an extensive knowledge of fine wines and an unpretentious approach, owner Gregg Burke pairs oenophiles with their dream potables in his 75-year-old wine shop. A bottle of Truchard cabernet sauvignon ($24.99) charms palates with its full body and show-stopping tap-dance routines, and the Castle Rock pinot noir ($9.99) brings out the flavor of a sumptuous steak dinner. The store boasts an ever-expanding selection of wines from various world regions, from Italy's Paolo Scavino Vin Tavola 2010 ($15.99) to California’s Cupcake chardonnay ($9.99).