If we had this place in NYC, it wouldn’t be quite the same, but you’ll still leave wishing we did. There are 18 local-centric craft beers rotating on draft -- each one comes with a FREE personal pizza -- and a cellar stocked with rare, aged beers from around the world. Upstairs, you’ll ride the mechanical bull in the rodeo bar and try a flight of four 5oz beers for $8 -- and, if you’re strong-like-bull, The Pilgrim (a can of Busch and a shot of Wild Turkey) -- before moving to the main floor. Once you're there, you'll park it at a long wooden communal table and dig into a 518 Burger paired with an Outrage IPA from Crossroads Brewing, then get some fresh air on the 2,500sqft beer garden that overlooks Empire State Plaza.
Done with all that? Time to hit the unmarked entrance on the side of the building to ring a buzzer for Speakeasy 518. Co-owner Kaelin Ballinger doesn’t broadcast this space, but we do: it’s got an extensive cocktail menu that uses all fresh ingredients, artisanal and local spirits, and house-made bitters. Ask for the Switchel Pig, comprised of apple cider vinegar, molasses, cold-pressed ginger, Grade B maple syrup, and Whistle Pig rye. "It’s based on switchel, a vinegary beverage sipped by Northeast farmers during colonial times,” says Ballinger.
At 9pm on a Friday or Saturday night, locals looking for a good time will unwind at this classy little jazz bar with a stiff drink. 9 Maple Ave has the largest selection of single malt Scotch whisky between New York City and Montreal, more than 250 martini concoctions, and is a boon to blues and booze lovers who would otherwise be stuck at an overcrowded college bar along Caroline St.