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Taps: 16 / Bottles: 150
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
41 1st Ave
phone: (212) 475-5097
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 72 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by slander:
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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:
12-12-2013 03:15:07 |
More by BillRoth
10-18-2013 12:02:12 |
More by BfloBrewHound
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.75 | $$$
I rather like this place with with the mostly lighter wood interoir and fairly large bar space. I would forewarn anyone that is looking to try this place out that it gets quite busy on weekends including Thursday night. If you go when it is really busy you will find the service slower and it will be very difficult to get a spot at the bar or a table. The place has decent lighting (which is nie when you are wanting to really enjoy a beer and see what the appearance is like) but also gets quite noisy, to the point where it can be hard to have a conversation - not loud music just the noise of the other patrons in the smaller space. There is also a nice outdoor space when the weather is decent.
I have always had beer well poured and served in the proper glassware with the proper amount of head.
The service can be real hit or miss when visiting d.b.a. as I have had great service and horrible service (sometimes within a single visit). There are definitely bartenders that are quite professional and do a great job serving you while others that you can barely get their attention and they seem annoyed that you interrupted their conversation with a co-worker.
The selection is pretty good, the bottle list is generally always a little more impressive than the drafts. For drafts, they usually have some very nice NYC area beers and other quality craft offerings but nothing exceptionally rare. Often they have some cellared offerings that can be quite interesting.
I don't remember ever getting any food here so I'm not going to add anything to the review about it.
Prices are in line with other bars in the area, not unreasonable but a touch pricey.
06-16-2013 18:37:30 |
More by dbrauneis
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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
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d.b.a. in New York, NY
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