So, the first round of #BARchmadness is complete with more than 15,000 people participating in voting for their favorite bars in NYC.
How did the Bitch do on my bracket? Not too shabby. I won’t win a million dollars because I wasn’t perfect, and in one case I was sadly disappointed (Adobe Blues didn’t pull off an upset, despite being in the lead for most of the voting). But I did pretty well, if I do say so myself. I’m moving on to Round 2, however, and may the best bar win!
Round 2: The West Side
#1 The Pony Bar v. #5 The Owl Farm
I am engaging a bit in fuzzy math here, as I voted for The Owl Farm but really thought it would be Queens Kickshaw winning by a nose. In fact the competition for both these bars were pretty much non-existent in the first round; neither bar ever lost the lead once the voting really got underway.
For Round 2, I expect a closer fight, but I believe The Owl Farm is both a better bar and will have more fans voting for Brooklyn
My vote: The Owl Farm My pick: The Owl Farm
#2 The Gingerman v. #6 Jimmy’s No. 43
This is not going to be the most brutal battle of Round 2, but it’s sure to be among the more interesting. I think it will really come down to beer geeks v. casual bar lovers. Jimmy’s No. 43 doesn’t serve liquor and it’s not really known as “a bar”. But for beer lovers, it’s among a handful of truly important craft beer bars in the city. That said, I think it will come down to the wire and The Gingerman will pull it out at the end. But this reminds me of the six-division NHL, where the third best team in the conference gets seeded fourth, ending up playing their division rival in Round 2 when both should be in the conference finals. I would love to see Jimmy’s No. 43 in the Sweet 16, but this may be a time when Goliath simply wears down David to limp off for Round 3.
My vote: Jimmy’s No. 43 My pick: The Gingerman
#3 Alewife v. #10 The Gate
Technically, I probably don’t get to vote on this one, since I didn’t choose Alewife. I think this will be another close race, but I’m going to go for the more interesting bar of the two and probably lose this round… again!
My vote: The Gate My pick: The Gate
#4 The Jeffrey v. #9 Astoria Bier & Cheese
I said somebody would make it out of Astoria in the first round (in fact, two Astoria establishments did), but I didn’t vote Astoria Bier & Cheese the first time, and I think this time The Jeffrey will knock them out cold.
My vote: The Jeffrey My pick: The Jeffrey
Round 2: The East Side
This was the only bracket that didn’t cause me problems (I did think that 124 Old Rabbit Hole wouldn’t get the upset, but I did vote for them).
#1 Rattle-N-Hum v. #5 Bierkraft
This is why my brackets always get messed up during March Madness; I’m just too much of a fan girl. I love Bierkraft, and I want it to win. I voted for it. But honestly, I think Rattle-N-Hum has a much larger fan base. And you don’t have to take the G-train to get there.
My vote: Bierkraft My pick: Rattle-N-Hum
#2 Tørst v. #6 The Double Windsor
I think this is going to be a great match-up, but I believe the “coolness” of Tørst gets old after awhile. Not to mention that—much like Jimmy’s No. 43—Tørst is exclusively a beer bar (and unlike Jimmy’s No. 43 they don’t even offer wine). That fact, combined with The Double Windsor’s cadre of beer + wine + spirits lovers, should be enough to get them into Round 3.
My vote: Tørst My pick: The Double Windsor
#4 Good Beer v. #9 Fourth Avenue Pub
Growler shops did very well in Round 1, but just as some of the beer bars are going to fall short on the “bar” part of the measurement, so will these bottle shops. At some point, you want to sit down with a meal, invite some whiskey drinking friends, and enjoy a full bar experience. Not to mention Fourth Avenue Pub is one hell of a great bar.
My vote: Fourth Avenue Pub My pick: Fourth Avenue Pub
#7 Proletariat v. #14 124 Old Rabbit Club
124 Old Rabbit Club pulled off the biggest upset of Round 1, and you can expect the West Village to triumph over the East Village in this round.
My vote: 124 Old Rabbit Club My pick: 124 Old Rabbit Club
Round 2: Downtown
#1 Blind Tiger v. #5 Mugs Alehouse
Okay, well, this is the race to watch, mark my words. I think it’ll be back and forth up until the last vote. But I’ll plead my case for Mugs taking this round: Unlike Dave Brodrick, Ed Berestecki is still involved in day-to-day operations. Mugs was cool when Brooklyn wasn’t, and it’s going on 22 years of riding a tide of craft beer change in the city. Finally, you can actually sit down in the place, bring your kids, and enjoy your beer without having to take a pill to combat claustrophobia. The old school beer drinkers will have to choose between the old school beer bars, and I think Mugs will be the sentimental favorite. (And yes, I do realize that this goes against my thinking Round 1that Blind Tiger would meet Mission Dolores for the Division title.)
My vote: Mugs Alehouse My pick: Mugs Alehouse
#2 Top Hops v. #11 Bohemian Hall
Okay, so maybe there’s room for one bottle shop to get through to the second round. And since I didn’t vote for Bohemian Hall in the first round, I kinda gotta stick to eligible entries on my bracket. Fair is fair.
My vote: Top Hops My pick: Top Hops
#3 One Mile House v. #10 Coopers Craft & Kitchen
Coopers Craft upset Sunswick 35/35 and I admitted to not knowing anything about One Mile House. One of the cool things about an activity such as #BARchmadness is that it brings to one’s attention establishments of note. I’ve since heard a lot about One Mile House, so I look forward to taking up a bar stool soon. And since I did blindly pick them in Round 1, I gotta stick to my existing bracket.
My vote: One Mile House My pick: One Mile House
#4 Mission Dolores v. #9 Buddha Beer Bar
I’m not sure how Buddha Beer Bar gets in a “Downtown” division, but the Washington Heights bar pleasantly surprised me when it got out of Round 1. That said, it won’t get past Mission Dolores, as this is one of the more lopsided fights in Round 2.
My vote: Mission Dolores My pick: Mission Dolores
Round 2: Uptown
#1 The Pony Bar UES v. #12 Dive Bar
Another surprising upset from Round 1 was Dive Bar’s victory. I voted for them in Round 2, but since I have to stick with the bracket, I’ll choose The Pony Bar’s Upper East Side bar for my pick.
My vote: Dive Bar My pick: The Pony Bar UES
#2 Barcade v. #11 ABC Beer Company
It pays to be #2 in #BARchmadness. Barcade should win handily over a bar that barely eeked a win from Spuyten Duyvil and its “absence of presence” on the Internet. I hate to say, “I told you so,” but…
My vote: Barcade My pick: Barcade
#4 Idle Hands v. #8 Singlecut Beersmiths
This should be another tight race between two master marketers with very different establishments. Since I didn’t vote for Singlecut in Round 1, I’m stuck with Idle Hands in Round 2. No pun intended.
My vote: Idle Hands My pick: Idle Hands
#7 Bronx Alehouse v. #14 Spring Lounge
Speaking of “I told you so…” Woot woot and then some, that Spring Lounge pulled off its upset, which I think will continue. Bronx Alehouse is going down! Er… up. Er… you know what I mean.
My vote: Spring Lounge My pick: Spring Lounge
The Bitch has spoken! Round 3 starts Thursday, March 27th, at noon.