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Taps: 16 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
41 1st Ave
phone: (212) 475-5097
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Reviews by slander:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Mike the Fool (his actual name) and I used to play at Peculier in our early days of beer, truth be known. But one night, we just ditched class and opted instead for d.b.a. I'm pretty sure it was on the heels of seeing an ad in the Ale Street News. We're talking early '95, the place had only been open few months. Geez, look at that tap list, I've never heard of like any of this, and what is, what's that, cask ale, yeah, what's that about? Hours later in the wee wandering down to Houston Street, the neons still blazing at Katz's Deli, can they still be open at this hour, I wonder (Pastrami on rye, fries, all sours, and a Dr. Brown's black cherry soda at 2 AM, oh yeah!) and Peculier was done with from there on in...
Old "L" shaped wood bar seating a dozen and a separate piece further along that was not always there seating another 6. Stacked glassware & tiered booze on the barback counter, and cupboards with small stained glass chalices above mirror panels well hidden below. Large angled boards up high listing bottled selections (54 US and about twice that Belgian & France combined, some German, some English). I wonder if they're sitting on any more of those secret Still Nacht Reserves (you'll remember Billy the Rhino pulled one at the BA crawl back in like '03). Also up there, boards showing a very good bourbon selection and a not so shabby tequila list (hooray!). I see they still have the Cuervo Family Reserva for a reasonable $15. Below, a single malt board on one side & a draft beer board showing tap dates on the other and smaller wines and port boards, too. Flatscreens in the front & back corners of the bar and a big photo collage on the barback that hasn't changed forever.
Mustard colored metal & cement walls with crown molding. 6 copper topped tables adjacent to the bar from the front windows back and then some bar counter space seating 6 (look for the Sunday bagels here). Past the bar bend, a table Space Invaders game below a mounted vintage handpump system from somewhere ago on the wall, and a booth or two across from Earth's most fucked up bathrooms to the rear. Low lighting throughout, but you get small glass candles on the bar and bar counter. Juke box, yes, but I don't think I've ever heard anything playing from it, they're generally playing light jazz or Cocteau Twins or something.
16 taps in a row on the bar and 2 handpumps on the end. I've always felt the annoying standards (Guinness, Boddingtons and Old Speckled Hen) to be tap space wasters here but whatever; you generally get some nice stuff otherwise, from Liefman's Goudenband to Fuller's London Pride to Samichlaus. A recent visit found me on the fence between the De Ranke XX Bitter and the DuPont Foret (I went with the Foret, it's a wonderful beer). The handpumps were armed and operational (Cask Clipper City Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale & Bluepoint ESB), the Guineess replaced with O'Hara's Celtic Stout, and Boddingtons replaced with Belhaven Scottish Ale.
There's a great beer garden in the little backyard where you can just chill and have a few. 9 mix & match tables, mostly squares, some plastic, some marble, plus 2 orange wood pic-a-nic tables, one at each end under a framed awning. Spinning fans and hanging flowering plants above, dangling wind chimes from the framing and elsewhere, a planter on the back window, and vininess climbing potted plants. During the winter months, they throw on the plastic walls to the patio and turn the heaters on. I was there last night buggin' in the beer garden and you'd have never known it was mid-Winter. Another 10 roundy tables or so run an "L" around the deck to the rear and side over gravel below. It's comfortably nice beneath the trees, always been so.
It's best there early early early afternoon on a weekend (bagels and fixins'). They play good tunes and you can sit comfortably inside. The bartenders know their beers and will let you try stuff if you're not sure what you want. A good joint overall with a very bad bathroom situation.
02-23-2003 15:12:37 |
More by slander
More User Reviews:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This place is great, right up my alley. Low key quiet and great atmosphere. Awesome selection of beer and not too pricey. Service was very great. Was a little disappointed they didn't have a live jazz band like the one in Williamsburg but all and all still a really great place. The outside back park encased in glass is awesome as well. Love a bar with an outside to sit.
03-17-2013 22:28:50 |
More by Mr27
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2 | service: 1 | selection: 3 | $$$
Of all the beer bars in NYC area that I've been to this is the ONLY one that I could actually give a bad review...
I've been to approximately 25-30 hotspots for beer in the city and I was very dissapointed in my experience at DBA because I'd consistently seen the bar on people's list of best beer bars.
First the service was really really bad. If you look around on Yelp and other rating sites you'll find a myriad of ppl complaining about the service. The tales are true. The bartenders really dont care if you get a drink or not, theyll ignore you, theyll take breaks and walk around cleaning stuff, they are not at all professional.
Second, the beer menu is broad but not impressive. Typically most beer bars have beers that are somewhat hard to get and or highly sought after. They have pretty much anything you can get in your average store plus a few above average offerings, not many standard Belgians like Rochefort etc. (not that Rochefort is criteria for variety, but you get the point)
Their draft list is probably a bit above average considering the number of drafts available but if you can get served, then you cant really enjoy the beers.
Dont waste your time at this place, Blind Tiger and Against the Grain are both much better in terms of variety and service.
If you end up at DBA, dont say I (Jason and Todd) didnt warn you!
Highly NOT NOT NOT Reccommended
02-16-2011 17:30:30 |
More by beenitty
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
I've been to this bar a few times and definitely like it a lot. There is always at least one, often two, beers on draft and a great selection of those. The bartenders are knowledgable and the service is also very good.
The bottle selection is outstanding. However, the draft selection is not as good as it could be. Not too many obscure beers and not a huge number. Not like Rattle & Hum, Ginger Man or Blind Tiger. However, the bottle selection is one of the best in the city.
Haven't tried the food.
01-28-2010 21:14:23 |
More by david18
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I loved this place when I went. It was very nice inside. It can be a very crowded on the weekend. We went really late and it was not too crowded. I sat at the bar. The attractive bar tender did not know anything about beer but the selection was good so I didn't care. They had the Goose Island Bourbon county on draft. Amazing. I love this place and will go back anytime I am in NY. They have a wide variety of scotch's as well. I met some very interesting people as well as an old movie star. Go here!
11-15-2009 17:15:47 |
More by franklymyrhett
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Visited on a Sunday afternoon and had a pleasant experience here. I fear that a return visit or two will yield an experience similar to others I read here on Beerfly.
Chalkboard overhead indicated the taps and the server was very generous in offering samples without having to ask. She was a bit older than most servers, and was very polite and attentive. We never had an empty pint glass more than a minute or so.
Prices were about the same as other beer bars in NYC. Atmosphere was mellow with oldies music in the background, though the bathroom was a bit sketchy.
11-13-2009 04:15:38 |
More by yemenmocha
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
I was rather surprised to read the Alstrom brothers reviews of this place. They have some points about the service and the bathroom, but give me a break. Most NYC bar bathrooms are horrifying, and despite what they say this place is not a dive, but rather pretty average in terms of Lower East Side bar atmosphere. Also, if you lived on the lower east side, like I did for several years, you'd have a chance to know this place a little better.
That said, I like the atmosphere of the place, except one thing about it is that it seems to attract a lot of out of towners who've heard that this is the place to go on the Lower East Side.
Beer selection is great and so is quality. Service is about average for bars in the area, though sometimes clueless and lackadaisical.
Overall, I like the place and recommend it if only for their great selection of beers.
08-29-2009 20:11:58 |
More by sbe1
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$$
A- I stopped in during off hours, so I can't really comment on this seems like it could be a pretty good spot, decent size bar area, with a few tables and a pacman machine. There is an outdoor garden with tables and covering.
Q- They list the date that each beer was tapped, thats pretty good quality in my book
S- The bartenders could have been a little more chatty, I was the only one in there at the time, didn't give the most informed discription when i asked about some beers
S- about 15 taps, mostly from US (5), UK (3), Germany (4), Belgium (3). and (2) cask lines. Bottle list is pretty extensive from all over.
F- they don't serve food here, but do offer free cheese on Monday's and allow you to bring food in.
V- beers were $6 during happy hour (nothing happy about that) $7 regular hours, a lot of beers on tap were 10oz pours (lame)
Overall, I don't think i would go out of my way to head back here, but who knows maybe for their sunday brunch thats about it, its not a destination
05-01-2009 14:00:59 |
More by bonbini26
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited d.b.a. in east village on my NYC trip. This place is great, it has a great selection. The best part about this bar is that it's somewhat casual, and local. I went there on a friday afternoon expecting the place to be packed but it wasn't too busy, I was able to find a couple seats for me and the lady at the bar. The service was good but they were a bit understaffed as the place started to fill up so it took a while to get a drink. I didn't ask them any questions about the beers but I saw some other people and it seemed like at least one bartender was able to say something about the beers. Another good thing was the prices, it wasn't nearly as expensive as other bars in NYC.
The thing that I liked most about this place was the local crowd, I chatted it up with some fellows who were really nice. We bought each other a couple of rounds and b.s.ed.
The only down side was they had a pretty big tap selection but no printed menus, and I was unable to read the chalk board. No big deal tho. The other thing that i didn't like was that they ran out of beer glasses. So one of my beers was served in a water glass, again nothing major.
03-21-2009 23:56:50 |
More by brow1901
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
beer bar on the lower east side. has a great selection of bottle and about 12 taps. when i was there each time it seems like about a third of the clientele orders mixed drinks, and this was on a thursday. so not a lot of beer drinkers here. a bit of yuppies, art types, and punks. been here a handful of times. service is always different. its been quite shotty and quite good. the bartenders are nice at time. crows a great guy. and not at others. they seem to ignore you more so than some bars but that may be because of the inconsistent beer drinking clientele. prices are great on some stuff and not so much on others. unibroue is a bit pricey for NYC. although i had a 750ml of Brasserie de Blaugies - Bière Darbyste for 16 bucks. great place during the week with friends for sure. selection is good but most of the great beer is down stair and there list can be a bit off.
11-25-2008 03:06:42 |
More by rtepiak
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d.b.a. in New York, NY