The self-described "beer geeks" at Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe work double duty, pouring brews behind the bar and helping customers select six-packs in the retail section. Made up of certified cicerone beer servers and experienced home brewers, staff members are happy to explain the difference between a lager and an ale or a wheat beer. Visitors who decide to sample a few gills—a unit referring to a quarter-pint—can also order a bite to eat off a pub menu that includes Bavarian pretzels, Polish pierogi, and bratwurst. They also offer regular events throughout the week, such as Wednesday night trivia to free brewery tastings on Thursday. In the spring and fall, the Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest comes to Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe and features beer-centric food and samples from several domestic and international breweries.
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. In 2014, Bergen.com awarded the restaurant with the titles of Best Healthy Restaurant and Best Place for Girls' Night Out.
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.
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.
At the bar, 20 beer-tap handles stand ready to tip forward and fill frosty mugs, which staffers slide alongside plates crowded with classic pub entrees. Guests can rub their molars against pulled-pork sandwiches and Cajun burgers or nibble away at Pour House sliders or cheddar nugget appetizers. Diners looking for meatless fare can graze on caesar or roasted-vegetable salads.
The attentive and knowledgeable staff members at Maratene's help each customer find the beverage of his or her dreams, an infinitely preferable experience to discovering the sulfurous, steaming goblets of their nightmares. Give a moderate nod while excessively enjoying a medium-bodied Castle Rock Pinot Noir ($10), or recite a philosophical treatise to an indifferent partygoer over a rich and complex Truchard Cabernet ($25). The chronically indecisive can sip samples at one of the shop's free Saturday wine tastings or visit owner and trained sommelier Gregg Burke's wine blog for more tips.