Winter is no longer coming.
It’s here. It’s lingering. And February is still in its early snow-induced coma.
My blood runs Floridian so my natural instinct insists that all roads lead to hibernation. I’m not the kind to argue with naturally bred logic so I’ve been holed up in my NYC apartment for three weeks straight binge watching Netflix, wondering who the f*** killed Teresa Halbach, and writing about last month’s travel adventures.
Copious amounts of food may or may not have also been involved.
I was totally fine with these life choices until Saturday rolled around and my roommate reminded me that it was my last weekend home before hitting the road again. Did I really want to spend it acting like a sloth? Looks like the time had come to do something about my self-imposed house arrest.
GPSmyCity is an app that features self-guided walking tours in over 470 cities around the world. Each city map presents a number of options that covers everything from popular attractions to hidden gems to local bars and restaurants. You can even custom make your own walk. There’s a fun outing for everyone and at the end of this post I’ll tell you how you can win a promo code for a free map of the city of your choice!
So with my New York iPhone map in hand, I flipped through different itineraries including SoHo guides, architecture walks, antique shopping tours, Greenwich music excursions, and museum hops. Then I noticed an off-the-beaten path beer crawl itinerary. And with that, I looked at my roommate Meagan and said, “Put on your most hipsterish boots, we’re going to Brooklyn.”
A Brooklyn Beer Crawl
Growing up on a tiny peninsula in the so-called “Redneck Riviera” of Florida, I’m no stranger to beer. Only it’s the kind that comes in cans where words like Bud, Natural, Miller, Coors, and Keystone precede the word Lite.
Trendy craft beer? Not my speciality.
Although a bit more culturally refined than me, Meagan wasn’t all that knowledgeable either so we brought in reinforcements to better our education – my roommate’s boyfriend Steve – because universal guy code dictates that all boyfriends must be serious about their brews.
Together we hopped into an uber and made our way to the first place on the list – Brouwerij Lane.
Brouwerij Lane is in the so-up-and-coming-it’s-already-super-trendy neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. We arrived around 6pm and seeing as how it’s the complete definition of a chill bar, it was harmoniously agreed upon that it was the perfect jumping off point for the app-led walking tour.
The place was small and man-cavish with exposed brick walls blending in with the mounted taps spewing forth the local Greenpoint draft we ordered. Glass-doored fridges were stocked with a broad selection of bottled brews and an old coal fireplace sat crackling in the back.
Much like a friend’s basement, this low-key establishment is a simple place where people come to hangout. A hipster sat at one of the bench-like hightop tables reading his ironic novel, two plaid-shirted girls chatted in the far corner, residents flitted in to refill their growlers, and a group of friends didn’t let a little thing like having an infant daughter keep them from enjoying their Saturday night.
I leaned over to make a comment to Steve about how seeing a baby in a bar brought me back to my Southern roots but he cut me off with a comment of his own – “Let me take a ‘before’ photo so you’ll have some memory of this night to put into your blog.”
Clearly Meagan had been telling him stories of previous bar crawls. Is nothing sacred anymore?
My commitment phobic heart doesn’t believe in love at first sight but if it did, boy would I have been in trouble at the second bar on the list.
From the moment I walked in the door, I saw a future with Diamond. A long one full of date-filled nights, high fives around the shuffleboard table, and whispered conversations in the cornered window nook. I was enraptured by its old school juke box, unpretentious atmosphere, and all-around neighborhoody vibe. Personify the bar and he would be the boy-next-door.
My lust-induced haze was interrupted by Steve asking what I wanted to drink. I turned to Meagan to see what she was getting because that’s just what girls do. She indicated to the text on the menu that read Off Color Scurry and stated, “I probably won’t like it but the name sounds cool.”
And so goes the female logic.
I turned helplessly back to Steve who sighed before saying “How drunk do you want to get?” and then ordered me a double IPA without waiting for my answer.
After swigging down the final dregs of my ten percent ABV beverage, we made our way toward our third stop – d.b.a.
I had drummed up massive expectations for d.b.a. after texting our beer tour itinerary to a good friend of mine who lives in Greenpoint (the same friend who once showed me around Red Hook). She had gushed on and on about both Diamond and d.b.a.
Seeing as how Diamond was now officially my new boyfriend, I could only imagine what my future man-on-the-side would be like.
Sadly, we’ll never know. Turns out d.b.a. had recently passed away closed. So goes the plight of many a New York bar. One minute they’re there and the next they’re gone only to be replaced by the next ‘new thing.’
So we ducked into Torst instead.
Torst is a Danish bar and restaurant whose vibe seemed more Manhattan than Brooklyn. Marble and reclaimed wood embellish this craft beer joint and – as rumor dictates – it’s home to the most sophisticated equipment that’s used to ensure every dispensed beer is at its optimal taste level.
I perused the menu and started to order a Molotov Cocktail (because how could I not) but spoilsport Steve interjected and switched it to a Falco, a Brooklyn brewed IPA. Forgetting that I was the one who wanted him along to further my beer education in the first place, I oh-so-maturely threw him the stink eye before winning a small victory when the waiter defied convention and served our beer in wine glasses.
Mugs Ale House
One more Falco and a cheeseboard later, we consulted the GPSmyCity app and saw that Mugs Ale House was next up on our Brooklyn beer crawl.
Despite the fact that cheese is vital to my survival, the fancy platter didn’t leave me (or any of us) all that satisfied. You see, there’s a reason beer and greasy finger foods marry together in wedded bliss – because it’s f****** delicious.
So we slid into a booth by the window, ordered a round of…umm…something (my diligent notetaking had worn off by this point) and went for a side of nachos and wings.
As if we weren’t having enough fun, we inadvertently scored front row seats to a free reality show taking place right outside our window. I think it was called Idiot Parks on Massive Pile of Snow Then Decides it Was a Bad Idea but Gets Stuck Trying to Pull Back Out Onto the Street.
Something catchy like that.
Our eyes were glued to the drama for about 25 minutes as we watched each passenger take his turn trying to get the driver out of his predicament. Bets were placed on which car he’d bump into first – the one in front or behind him (for those keeping score, it was the one behind him). The wheels kept spinning as he ping-ponged back and forth with zero progress. He finally threw his hands up in frustration and caught me staring so I lifted my glass up in a silent good luck gesture.
He then entered the bar and we applauded his smart decision to get drunk before attempting to move it again.
After pretty much relegating myself to a dry January, the beer went straight to my bloodstream and I was feeling nice and toasty by the time we got to bar number 5 on the Brooklyn beer crawl – Barcade.
Yes, the bar is exactly as the name suggests – an arcade filled with classics like Pac Man, Asteroids, and Tetris where you can exchange bills for tokens and play to your hearts content as long as you’ve been aged for at least 21 years.
I couldn’t even begin to guess which beer I had ordered at this point in the night so it’s probably safe to assume I reverted back to my Miller Lite days because you can take the girl out of the South and all that.
Disappointingly, skee ball and basketball (where my true skill sets lie) were noticeably absent. I had to settle with racing Steve in a stationary motorized vehicle where I found that my driving abilities were just as atrocious on a fictional racetrack as they are on a nonfictional highway.
There was only one more beer hall to go to after this. Spuyten Duyvil.
But then this happened…
That black ice will get you every time. Even if there’s a giant white warning sign pointing directly to it.
It was time to call it a night.
Using the GPSmyCity app led to an incredible night, even in a place I’ve been loosely calling home for 5 years. I was able to explore new neighborhoods and bars I had previously never heard of and I discovered that I truly do enjoy a good craft beer (thanks for always placing my order Steve).
Now for the fun part – A giveaway just for you, my readers!!
Want to partake in your own self-guided city tour? GPSmyCity has tons of options all over the world and I’m sitting here with Promo codes for 20 full version maps that will allow you to use it FOR FREE!
How to Enter the Giveaway (and the Boring Terms and Conditions)
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know which city you’d like to explore – and why.
- The first 20 people will recieve a free full version GPSmyCity Map of that particular city. You must leave your comment by February 21, 2016.
- Please use a valid email address when commenting as you’ll receive the promo code via that email address.
- Most major cities have maps but if you’d like to check if your city is on there, you can consult the full city list here: http://www.gpsmycity.
- This is only available to those with iOS and Android devices and each promo code is only valid for ONE city (cities normally cost $4.99 each).
Well, what are you waiting for?! Everyone likes free stuff so get commenting!
This post was brought to you by GPSmyCity. Much like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar, I can’t verbalize (or even write down) a single lie so that’s proof that all content, opinions, and bad puns are sincerely my own.
Why Suffer From FOMO When You Don’t Have To?
Taking on the classic “round-the-world” route, the next Travel Dispatch journey kicks off Nov 15 as I travel east to west, looping the globe over a period of 12 months with $25,000. Now’s your chance to get in on it from the very beginning!