Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits ā€” 19 April 2012
Beer Authority NYC: A Bar Spotlight

Beer Authority NYC
300 West 40th Street, Hell’s Kitchen, (212) 510-8415
Getting There: A,C,EĀ  to Port Authority 42nd Street

For far too long the neighborhood located directly next to Times Square has been misunderstood due to its checkered and relatively sketchy past. What was once a seedy area of ill repute, has been all but transformed into a land of commerce and good eats. Even the once scary Port Authority now has a spot to bowl! Times have truly changed. Another recently opened ‘Authority’ is doing their part to mold Hell’s Kitchen into a cool, distinctive destination. It’s ‘Beer Authority,’ a mega-pub located next to the bus station with which it shares its name. And this joint features some of the best craft brews and people watching in midtown.

The building Beer Authority inhabits appears to be connected to the bus station, which is directly across the street. But upon entering Beer Authority and any similarities vanish quickly. This ‘Authority’ is a sprawling bi-level pub with seating for a few hundred and two bars to serve thirsty patrons. The owners have created a craft beer bar in what was once a quality beer desert. For years it was impossible to get anything besides the fizzy yellow stuff in the area.

We decided to hit Beer Authority on a Wednesday for a little after work happy hour action. And for the middle of the week this place was packed. Most of the tables that lined the window filled walls were filled, and almost every seat at the bar was taken. But unlike other joints, ‘Authority’ is a gigantic space so even when some areas are crowed there is still plenty of room to hang out and move around. Since this place is a bi-level pub, patrons can enter on the ground floor to grab a pint of fine ale while waiting for a bus. The first floor bar isn’t large but is certainly able to accommodate a sizable crowd. Venture upstairs and you will find a long, ornately designed dark wood bar. Pull up a stool and ask one of several knowledgeable bartenders about Beer Authority’s overloaded craft beer menu featuring both bottles and drafts.

To say Beer Authority has a lot of beer is an understatement. As of right now they have 80 flowing taps of quality craft beers. This cornucopia of ales represent a wide range of styles and global locals. Prices for most of the draft beers are quite reasonable, and even below some of their craft bar brethren. In keeping with the warm weather we decided to go with wheat ale. Luckily they carry Smuttynose, one of our favorite micros in the northeast. We quickly sipped on two pints of their ‘Summer Weizen’ ($7). It’s a light yet well balanced brew, with notes of citrus.

After finishing a few of these we looked at the remaining taps and shared a like-minded look. We have a lot of work to do, and thus repeat visits are in order. It’s no surprise that Beer Authority comes from the minds behind Murray Hill’s ‘Rattle N Hum,’ another savior in the battle against bad beer.

- Jay Rubin

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