Thursday, 16 January 2014

Foodie Abroad: Third Avenue Alehouse

Given that we were going to be in New York for New Year, we initially pondered the possibility of going the whole hog and spending it in Times Square.  We were quickly disabused of this notion.  It’s horrible, we were told.  You arrive at five, you’re not allowed to carry liquids, you can’t leave to go to the loo, it’s cold, it’s crowded, it’s unpleasant.  I think that we were both secretly quite pleased to let go of the scheme and resolved to spend the evening in a warm bar instead, watching the ball drop on the TV.  And we went to see the spike that the ball would be on.  So that counts for something.

 The Third Avenue Alehouse did not look like anything special from the outside but it was a couple of blocks away from our hotel, and we popped in on the way back from a long day of museums not expecting anything in particular.  But by a very happy accident, as sometimes happens on holiday, it turned out to be one of our favourite locations and somewhere that we already talk of in wistful tones.  It may be the wrong city, but everyone secretly wants to find a Cheers when they go to America, don’t they?  You know, a bar where everybody knows your name?  Third Avenue Alehouse was ours. 

It wasn’t just the fact that it served an excellent range of artisan ales (D particularly enjoyed the coffee porter).  Or the fact that I spied one of my favourite wines, Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc, lurking in the fridge the first time I hopped up onto one of the comfy bar stools.  Or the range of whiskies that would put many a Scottish bar to shame.  Or the friendly staff who were happy to chat and laugh at the English girl who didn’t have a clue about American football (“But why do they throw it backwards?”).    Or the to die for, truffle and rosemary popcorn (I’m quite upset that I didn’t get round to sampling the mac and cheese pie).  It was all of these things in conjunction with the fact that it so quickly felt like a little bolthole in a bewilderingly large and frantic city. 

So, New Years Eve 2013 found us propping up in the bar in our home away from home, astonishing Louis the barman with our drinking “fortitude” (he was so impressed that he gave us a free drink when we rolled in the next evening!)  It may not be quite as iconic as Times Square, but I couldn’t have asked for a nicer corner of New York, nor better company, to enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. That's just so English (well, British really). You go abroad, you find a local. I've done it several times and often think back to the good ones. Well done you!!

    Lesley x