Reminiscent of a roadhouse-styled Irish sports pub, RATTLE N HUM opened for business, July 2008, and quickly became one of New York City’s premier beer-centric bars. A narrow wood-paneled, black-walled dive at a 33rd Street boutique spot with flashy banners, painted brewery insignias, strewn tap handles and other beer-related paraphernalia, Rattle N Hum is the brainchild of respected beer impresario (and original owner) Patrick Donagher. A bright green, yellow and red sign boasting Rattle N Hum New York City welcomes thirsty patrons at the wooden entrance.
Finally getting to visit this highly regarded beer haven for Happy Hour (11 AM to 7 PM weekdays) on a slushy Thursday afternoon in March ’13, I was thoroughly impressed with the magnitude of passion and commitment towards developing craft beer appreciation. Daringly parading the nifty slogan “No Crap Beer On Tap,” this relished hotspot features 40 draughts, 2 hand-pulled casks and 120-plus bottled selections. On the back of the beer menu is a thorough event listing and worthwhile ‘how to taste beer’ section. Flights of four 4-ounce beers for $10 allow customers to sample new brews they might not otherwise experience.
Sitting across the right side 15-seat bar (with four TV’s and large chalkboard listing tapped selections), my wife and I settle into the largest booth before the place gets really crowded. Several businessmen grab the front benches while a few couples sit at the rear and side community tables. Behind our heads along the wall are several hand-painted beer insignias promoting Founders, Speakeasy, Lagunitas, Boulder and BrewDog. On the rear wall, a map of the United States contains several flags denoting where today’s current tapped beers originated.
As Etta James’ eternal lovestruck ballad “At Last” plays in the background, I dive into two previously untried libations (Singlecut Billy Full Stack IPA and Bronx Black Pale Ale) while my wife sips Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss (reviews in Beer Index). We split the enormous Taco Tower appetizer and hope to try artisanal cheeses, quesidillas and sandwich wraps at a future date.
On top of the nearly religious dedication to well-crafted beers, there’s a certain intimacy prevailing over this big town Beer Mecca. Tourists, beer enthusiasts and NYC’s notorious bridge and tunnel crowd all find a home at Rattle N Hum. Just get there early ’cause it does get filled ’round dinnertime and weekend evenings.

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