I recently visited Top Hops Beer Shop in the Lower East Side for a Saturday afternoon drink. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming with an array bottles and beer merchandise serving as the décor. A few high-top tables offer seating in front along with a medium-sized bar with about a dozen stools and more than 20 beers on tap. Coolers in the back filled with beers from all over the world are available for purchase to-go or to drink at the bar for a small fee. Also, feel free to bring a growler for a refill. If you want a yummy snack to go along with your beer, the cheese platter was popular while I was there.
My friends and I ordered several beer flights and I enjoyed all the beers I sampled – I don’t remember what we drank, but do recall drinking a Daydreamer from Ithaca Beer Company. The bartenders were knowledgeable and clearly beer lovers. All of the patrons were friendly and we spent some time chatting with the table next to us. Kudos to Top Hops for playing great music; I’ve never been to a bar where I like every single song that was played.
Bottom line – I would go back to Top Hops, but would carefully choose which bartender I ask for a recommendation. While ordering, I briefly chatted with the bartender and explained that I enjoy all styles of beer but would like to try a good-quality beer that is unique to the area/shop or difficult to purchase in the area. I asked if he had anything that was running low or something that he felt was “different” that I should try. He laughed smugly and told me to look at the list of beers on the wall and then proceeded to tell me he can’t recommend anything because he doesn’t know what I like and everything is good-quality. I was in the restaurant/bar business for several years and understand that people ask “stupid” questions, but the bartender could have been a bit more helpful and friendly.
P.S. Make sure you shut the door on your way in/out! Cheers!