On a quiet evening, my friend and I visited Randolph Beer, located on that tiny little precipice of space somewhere between Chinatown, Soho, and Little Italy, named Nolita (North of Little Italy.) Both of us had had a tough week, and we were ready to unwind with a beer before grabbing some Chinese food around the corner.
The dimly lit interior was exactly what our over-wired brains needed, and the worn wooden bar felt comfortable and inviting. We sat our cabooses down and began to survey the extensive drink menu, which, along with spirits, includes a wide variety of both seasonal and reserve beers.
It was overwhelming. Our bartender immediately sensed our paralyzing indecision, and acted accordingly. He asked us to name some beers we had enjoyed in the past, and started pouring tasters to wet our palates. By the time I ultimately I decided on the Allagash Saison, and my friend a Kelso Nut Brown Lager, we were already buzzed.
Even as we began to enjoy our picks, our bartender continued to present tiny cups filled with bubbling goodness, trying to find beers we might enjoy based on our original choices.
We liked the Triple Karmeliet beer we had sampled, and ordered just one to share, as we were already a little more tipsy than we had anticipated. Christopher (yes we were on a first name basis with the barkeep at this point) poured us two instead, and said one was on the house.
He warned us, only after the fact, that this beer was particularly boozey, at eight percent alcohol content. Yikes. Our tummies were growling, we realized we were hungry, but couldn’t abandon our full beers to go eat! Then, like magic, a plate of waffle fries appeared before us, accompanied by three dipping sauces: something sweet + spicy, something chipotle mayo-y, and something sour-cream-ish. We looked at them, awestruck, and then up at our new best friend and soulmate Christopher, who told us that the kitchen had made extra, and the fries were ours for the taking. Our hearts were his.
Finally, it was time to depart. We got our bill, a whopping $16.00 total! Needless to say, we left a hearty tip.
You may not have the luck that we were graced with at Randolph Beer, but you will find just about whatever brew you’re looking for, and you’ll feel cozy and at home while you’re at it.
Featured photo by Lauren Topor.