It was dusk. We were on the street outside the car rental’s parking garage. Our evening felt like a loss due to the break-in at Fieldwork. It was now the insurance company’s responsibility. A good meal was what we needed. A craft beer wouldn’t hurt either. Something close to our hotel would hit the spot – not in a long walk mood. Google told me there was a trendy gastropub with craft brews nearby. It was time to roll the dice on Bartlett Hall.
At surface level it appears that Bartlett Hall is a regular hotel bar with food. Take a closer look and you will notice their website teases a craft brewery. Our circumstances were such that we were looking for something close that had a decent rating. Craft beer wasn’t required, but a welcome addition. I wasn’t expecting a lot. I’d never heard of them during my pre-trip research, and they didn’t show up on brewery searches near our hotel. My guess was they underplayed the brewery side of the restaurant because they contract brewed.
My guess was wrong. Bartlett Hall has a small brewhouse tucked in the corner of their restaurant. Huge glass windows provide a full view into their small, simple system. Warm lights inside and out. Like peaking into a craftsman’s workshop. A welcome surprise.
When I hear the word gastropub, the decor of Bartlett jumps into my mind’s eye. Industrial chic, leather stools, a marble bar, and dark brown wainscot. We sat at the end of the long bar, with the entrance at our back and a view of all the action behind it. One of the many reasons I enjoy sitting at the bar is the service. A good bartender has the pulse of everyone sitting at their bar. Bartlett Hall was no different.
Another surprise was their tap list. I expected a handful of beers; there were ten listed. A few of those were sold out, but the selection was enough that I had to make decisions over which beers to drink and which to leave to my imagination. This was also one of the few places I’ve been to that listed the brewer by name on the tap list: Nick Mamere.
I had five beers total. Doesn’t Suck Black IPA, French’s Zoo Unfiltered Pale Ale, Sheltering Dingoes IPA, and Pavor Nocturnus Russian Imperial Stout. Doesn’t Suck was my favorite of the bunch, a collaboration with Magnolia that hit all the right notes. A well balanced IPA with a touch of roast adding a dry finish. The Pavor Nocturnus also stood out. Deep and boozy with dark chocolate and cherry. Sometimes it’s a struggle to finish high ABV beers, but this one went down smooth.
The Bartlett Burger was a top tier burger and fries. It’s hard to go wrong with caramelized onions, chives, and sharp cheddar. And they didn’t. The fries were ultra crispy with a pillowy interior. The way I like ’em. While we ate we discussed our experience at Fieldwork. It dampened our trip and caused us to trade several prime hours for a few stressful ones. I’m glad Bartlett Hall was waiting for us on Union Square. By the time we left we were in far better spirits than when we arrived. The beer exceeded my expectations and the burger hit the spot. If you’re in the area and looking for a meal and a drink, I recommend them.