February 5, 2020
2020 BEER BAR OF THE YEAR: THE GRAND DELANCEY, NEW YORK CITY
The bar is part of the new subterranean Market Line, a sprawling Lower East Side food hall.
By Joshua M. Bernstein - Imbibe Magazine
New York City is notoriously tough on out-of-towners. Restaurateurs mosey into the metropolis, hoping to worm into the Big Apple’s fickle heart. Many fail, the cutthroat city claiming another concept. But there are only accolades for The Grand Delancey, no epitaph—even though the bar is buried underground.
The subterranean Market Line, a sprawling Lower East Side food hall, contains the first NYC bar from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the beer-focused Washington, D.C., company behind ChurchKey and Bluejacket. Here, The Grand Delancey’s global beer list encompasses hand-pumped British cask ales, Czech pilsners topped with cappuccino-like foam, and fresh, cult-favorite IPAs from Pennsylvania’s Tired Hands and Brooklyn’s Other Half.
The 50 drafts flow through wine-grade tap lines—no unwanted aromas, flavors, or flecks of fruit purée—and are served at 42, 48, or 54 degrees in each style’s ideal, fragrance-elevating glassware. “We bring a level of passion and service to beer that makes The Grand Delancey stand apart,” says beverage director and partner Greg Engert. “We build experiences around beer.”
A visit engages every sense. The handsome corner space, styled with leather booths, cheetah-print wallpaper, and a movie marquee–style beer list—best seen from the mezzanine—abuts the hall’s restaurant collection, kitchens perfuming the air. Buy canned beer from the to-go fridge to sip while you snag charcuterie, dim sum, or pierogies, then boomerang to the bar. The setup is akin to having permanent food trucks. “The idea is to get food and eat it in the drinking establishment,” Engert says.
A well-informed staff smartly navigates customers to pinpoint beverage pairings, drawing from drafts, wines, low-and no-proof cocktails, and a reserve beer fridge filled with 50 bottled selections. They veer from standard-bearers like Saison Dupont to tough-to-get vintage Belgian lambics. You won’t find beer like this in any other food hall—or bar, if we’re being honest. “We are, in some ways, expanding the conversation about great beer again,” Engert says.