Rye House: A Medieval Beer Hall All Dressed Up
As a newly-minted law student, there have been times when all I’ve wanted is a great beer, an even better burger, and enough of a scene to satisfy my need to interact with society outside of the law library. Rye House was a slam-dunk, on all counts. In essence, Rye House is really a dude’s place; it’s dark and simple with an extensive list of artisan beers, the “largest whiskey selection in NYC”, and satisfying American-style comfort food – not to mention it’s packed with a whole lot of Manhattan brosephs.
Rye House has a whole lot of swagger. It’s dark and sultry without being feminine; it’s sleek without being irritatingly trendy; it’s balanced a nostalgic vintage feel with the typical swank feel of a Flatiron joint. The front bar room is dominated by a curved dark wood bar with a granite tabletop. Long pale wood tables line one wall for either large groups or communal seating. Modern teardrop lamps shed a dim glow over the strange blend of sharply-dressed bankers from Midtown East and pseudo beer hippies from the Lower East Side. The back room is simultaneously irritatingly small and strangely cavernous. High ceilings, rough plank tables, wooden chandeliers and gangs of well-dressed men evoke a Medieval mess hall, sans the grime and court jesters of course. The overall look is self-consciously relaxed-chic, a vibe appealing to men of all stripes.
Rye House serves well-dressed American comfort food. The menu is short and simple, stocked with all sorts of nostalgic favorites. The classic grilled cheese is given an haute twist with an onslaught of truffle flakes and truffle oil; mac & cheese is fried and crisped, decadently served gooey and piping hot in a little bowl; sloppy joe sliders, the favorite of summer camps all over New England, get a face-lift with rich kobe beef and pickled jalapenos; the Rye House burger rides the gourmet burger wave with specialty beef and a selection of cheeses to choose from; even the plebeian onion tart gets all tarted-up with luscious goat cheese and flavorful pickled shallots. The classic American cuisine is surprisingly good and well-prepared. You can taste the quality of the ingredients used in every bite.
Rye House is a welcome addition to the flourishing gastropub scene in Manhattan. Following the path blazed by Spitzer’s and the Spotted Pig, a fantastic beer and cocktail selection comes paired with top-notch classic American cuisine in a relaxed yet classy-enough-for-fun-parents scene.
Perfect For: beerfests, happy hour on the expense account, dinner with colleagues, fun foodies that don’t take themselves too seriously, adults who want kid-food dressed up like adult-food