Friday, September 14, 2012

Bronx Week Part IV: Where to Drink Near Van Cortlandt Park

As I said yesterday, without any plan on my part this week turned into Bronx week. Since it's Friday, I figured I would end the week with something on the less serious side.
Van Cortlandt Park, New York City's 4th largest at 1,146 acres, is a runner's paradise. With its miles of trails, famed cross country course, and a full-size track, there's plenty to keep runners happy. Of course, all good runs must come to an end and what better way to end a run than with a beer or two (or three, or four). You've got plenty of choices in the area so here are four of my favorites:

Taps at the Bronx Ale House
Name: The Bronx Alehouse
Location: W 238th St and Review Place
Why it's worth checking out: First, they have an awesome beer selection. This was the first, and probably still the only, real craft beer bar in the Bronx. It gets pretty packed in the evenings but they just expanded so there's a little more breathing room. Another great feature? Free popcorn! And for those of you who are veg-heads like me, the Daily News recently names the Bronx Ale House veggie burger one of the best in the city. Only problem? If you're like me, with so many good beers to choose from you won't be able to stop at one or two.

Name:An Beal Bocht Cafe
Location: 216 W 238th St (b/t Waldo and Greystone Ave)
Why it's worth checking out: Although A Beal Bocht pours a mean Guinness, their drinks aren't the reason to schlep up a steap flight of stairs to Riverdale. Why go so far out of your way? For the great live music! An Beal Bocht features live music almost every weekend night plus with amble seating indoors and outdoors this is a bar that's just as much fun on sunny afternoon as in the wee hours of the morning (not that I would know...)  

An Beal Bocht's weekly line-up.
Name: The Punch Bowl
Location: W 238th St and Broadway

Why it's worth checking out: The Punch Bowl is a dive bar in the best sense. There is ZERO pretension here but the folks are all longtime Bronx locals. Sit down at the bar and you're almost guaranteed to strike up a conversation with someone who's been boozing since before you were born. This is the kind of spot you go to do shots or drink cheap beer so don't try ordering any fancy cocktails. If you really want to live life to the fullest, go on a Friday when Dawn (possibly my new best friend) is hosting karaoke.  You may regret everything you do once you get here, but you probably won't remember enough to feel that bad about it.

Name:Mr McGoo's Pub
Location: Broadway and W 231st Street
Why it's worth checking out: If the Punch Bowl is a dive, this is a double-dog-dive. Seriously, I'm not sure I would recommend this place at all except it's so unbelievably cheap. The problem with that, though, is that the clientele are cheap too. Also, I think this is where underage kids from Manhattan College (just a short walk away) go to drink because everyone in here seemed to be around 18. On second thought, I don't recommend this place at all.

Okay, so by now maybe you've realized that this is simply the pub crawl I did on my birthday (minus the pubs I went to when I got back to Manhattan). I'm surprised I have such a good recollection of my escapades given all the cheap sh*t I drank territory I covered.

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