Packed to the gills on a Friday evening in late November 2012, Upper East Side Manhattan watering hole, THE PONY BAR, is a diminutive one-room saloon on the corner of 75th and 1st (with a second site in Hell’s Kitchen). Three rounded orange-colored Pony Bar insignias welcome the large contingent of post-collegiate minions to the front entrance as the Pac-10 football championship between Stanford and UCLA plays on the two TV’s sidling the left bar this cold winter’s eve.
Hanging growler lamps dimly light the 20-stool bar area where dozens of local denizens find space to get one of the limited edition or hard-to-find American indie brews served from 20 rotating draught lines. Two illuminating boards above the bar list tonight’s featured beers. Though failing to get the collaborative Bruery/ Elysian/ Stone Citrueilli Amber Ale one-shot, two tartly fruited libations were imbibed for the first time during my one-hour stopover.
A Latino waiter with a ‘Fuck Imports” t-shirt (celebrating this establishments’ commitment to American ales) clears the community table at the front window where I’ll be sipping some suds. Some pro-pot enthusiasts must run the operation since Happy Hour begins at the inauspicious time of 4:20 PM. Burgers, chicken, pulled pork, ribs and deep-fried pickles are available for the dinner crowd but at this witching hour all customers onhand are strictly drinking.
Though the tentative Lakefront Rendezvous Biere De Garde seemed a bit underwhelming with its murky fruit esters and tart IPA-like citric-peeled bittering, serviceable Bear Republic Wine Country Wheat co-mingled hefeweizen (tart banana), Berliner Weiss (salty coriander) and American wheat ale (lemon-rotted apricot and orange) stylings quite effectively. (Full reviews are in Beer Index)
Within walking distance of the larger David Copperfield’s House Of Beer, The Pony Bar’s one of the coziest pubs in New York City. Connoisseurs will appreciate the swiftly revolving draught choices and enjoy the friendly young-at-heart atmosphere.
During two-hour stopover with wife, Karen, March 2013, had soft pretzels with spicy farmhouse mustard alongside Goose Island’s Naughty Goose English Brown Ale and Bourbon County Coffee Stout as well as Chelsea Bourbon Barrel Blackhole Stout and Green Flash East Village Pils. Hung out with Stuart, host of
On a rainy April ’14 springtime jaunt, shared mouthwatering Tartine (honeyed pizza bianca with black-peppered ricotta and dried fig) with wife while quaffing three ‘big’ Uinta brews and 21st Amendment/ Elysian He Said Pumpkin Porter (a rich hybridized Baltic porter placing dried-fruited mocha malts above pumpkin pie-spiced anise, stewed prune, fig, caraway and cinnamon).
As for the Uinta triage, Detour Double IPA boasted orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple bittering as well as sticky pine resinous pungency to contrast sweet pear-peach-apple tang. Similarly styled Anniversary Barleywine tossed tangy dry-hopped IPA fruiting at syrupy piney spruce sapping. And approachable beechwood-smoked Tinder Rauchbier brought Band-Aid astringency and black-peppered peat malt to apple-candied glazed ham sweetness. (All fully reviewed in Beer Index)

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