Top Hops is a new beer bar/store located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I had the pleasure of visiting this place this past week. They’ve only been open a little less than a week, but are already making a name for themselves in New York City as a new spot to visit for beer.
They’re located at 94 Orchard Street which is right across the street from the Tenement Museum and about 100 feet away from Delancy Street. The location may throw you off due to the area, but you will see a black and white sign for the beer store protruding from the side of the building saying “Top Hops Beer Shop”. If you see that, then you know you’re in the right spot.
When walking up to the beer store/bar, you’ll notice that the entire front of the store is glass. It looks as if this place may have been a clothing store before, but that isn’t a bad thing. Although I visited at night, I would imagine that during the day, the glass would allow a lot of sunlight to come through – something I welcome. There’s been entirely too many times I’ve sat in dark bars until sundown and felt like a vampire leaving the place. I figure that as long as the sunlight isn’t touching any of the beers or bottles, I’m fine with it.
From talking to one of the bar tenders/cashiers, they explained that the owner used to work for AB, and always wanted to find a store that served and sold his favorite beers (Not AB). When he wasn’t able to find such a place, he recognized the need and demand for it, and decided to open Top Hops.
Currently Top Hops is offering 20 beers on draft and has over 400 bottles in the fridge (soon to be 800!). You can order a beer at the bar, get a growler fill, buy bottled beer to go, or buy bottled beer to stay by paying a $2 corkage fee (or cappage fee depending on which beer you buy).
One thing I have to say is that I love the concept of the buy or take out beer store/bar. I think that it’s great because it’s more likely to keep inventory fresh. If you have it operating as a beer bar/bottle store, it’s more likely that you’ll be going through that inventory a lot faster since people will be picking up bottles to bring home and drinking some at the bar. I also feel it’s a great way to keep the actual selection fresh as well. New things come out frequently, and the new selection will keep me coming back to that bar/store.
The staff at this place seems very knowledgeable about beer and heard them giving great recommendations for those who may have been overwhelmed by the selection. However, if someone is really stubborn enough, they can still find a small section for them in the fridge containing AB products. Say what you want about having that in the fridge, but old habits die hard and some people can’t get enough of that fuzzy yellow stuff. The REAL beer drinkers can expect to find Southern Tier, Left Hand, Stillwater, Mikkeller, Goose Island, Captain Lawrence, Evil Twin, Greenport, The Bruery, Dogfish Head, Stone, Harpoon, Pretty Things, Kelso, a large assortment of imports etc. etc. etc.
I’d recommend checking this place out if you’re in the area. I was there for a few beers and had a blast.