Archive for the ‘Beer’ Category

“No one questions New York’s jazz intensity,” my friend Patrick Jarenwattananon over at A Blog Supreme aptly stated in regards to this weekends attention-surplus-disordered New York Winter Jazz Fest: a two day event that showcases around 200 of the planet’s most creative jazz musicians. The same could be said about eating and drinking in New York. And the same could even be said about eating and drinking in the West Village, home to the five venues of Winter Jazz Fest, and a mecca for foodies and boozies.

As a music, food, and wine writer for Wine and Jazz Magazine, and as a former resident of the West Village, instead of listing my top music picks for Winter Jazz Fest, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite places to eat and drink in the area. Because you’ll likely at some point be standing in the back of a venue with an obstructed view, hungry, thirsty, sweating but having already shed all your layers, so let the temptation of countless West Village dinning and drinking spots win you over for a portion of the weekend.

Wilfie and Nell


Forget beers at the Blind Tiger (the last time I went no one was in sight to take my order, the only visible person appeared to be a maintenance employee changing a light bulb, and what was featured on the menu as being on cask was not available) or cocktails at Little Branch (the wait alone could be the length of an entire set), and head to Wilfie and Nell (228 West 4th Street) for stellar drafts, cocktails — designed by owner Simon Gibson — and a locavore menu.

The drafts can’t compete with the nearby Blind Tiger in numbers, but their selection is always stellar with, among others, Vicotry Prima Pilsner, Bitburger, Brooklyn seasonal, Chimay Rouge, and passionately poured Guinness. It fills up fast on the weekends but all it takes is a quick glance at a bar tender to get a drink.


The serious oeno-geek will want to make the trek to Anfora over at 34 8th Avenue. But for something closer to the action check out ‘ino (21 Bedford Street) for small Italian plates and bottles, carafes or glasses of Italian wines.


For those who want to try to fit in a serious, sit down dinner, Lupa (170 Thompson Street) is the little brother of Iron Chef Mario Batali’s Babbo. Lupa accepts walk-ins and I’ve always been able to sit and eat at the bar right away.


Rocco's Pastry Shop

Open until 1:30 A.M., Rocco’s Pastry Shop (243 Bleeker Street) has lots of space with tables, and cases and cases of pastries. For coffee drinks to-go, walk in and head right to the Barista’s counter to order.

Late Night Pizza

John’s and Joe’s have the reputations but give the guys at Bleeker Street Pizza a chance (69 7th Avenue, on the corner of Bleeker and 7th). Try the Nonna Maria slice and thank me later.


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Andy Rothman, Gerald Clayton, Diane Rothman, and John Clayton

As a follow up to JazzTimes’ October article on house concerts, I interviewed Andy Rothman — a Detroit area home-concert promoter — on his own jazz series: the Detroit Groove Society. Andy is possibly the most passionate jazz fan I have ever met. Earlier this year we hung out in New York when Andy and his wife Diane flew in (during the dead of the winter) on the day of pianist Gerald Clayton’s debut/opening night at the Village Vanguard. We met for a quick beer after the concert, and they headed back to Detroit first thing the next morning. Now that’s hardcore. The article was written for the blog at Wine and Jazz, and the full interview with Andy appears below. (more…)

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From the Road

Again, I find myself on the road, swamped with gigs and deadlines! In the mean time check out the current issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine, in which I gave an interview and talked about the most recent Hot Club of Detroit recording. And if you can’t pick up the magazine, look for the article attached to my Facebook page. The next few weeks will take me to Minneapolis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, and Los Angeles. I look forward to reporting back on lots of new wines, music, and adventures from the road. For jazz fans, I recently sat down with jazz historian Dr. Lewis Porter to give him a blind folded listening test. Check back here for the transcription of that and more in the coming weeks.   

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Ontario Wine Tasting

Check out my article on Ontario wines and Canadian sommelier Ted McIntosh, at Wine and Jazz. The Niagara wine region is a fantastic place to go taste for a few days for those of us across the country from the west coast. And Bayfield Ontario, home of Mr. McIntosh and his pub the Black Dog, is a beautiful Lake Huron resort town with some great restaurants, and definitely worth getting away to if you’re within driving distance. (See the complete interview with Ted McIntosh below.)

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Kathleen Sloane-McIntosh and Ted McIntosh


I’ve noticed lately that many of us in the blogging world are on vacation. The last couple weeks I’ve been sort of off the grid too, either touring with the Hot Club of Detroit, or relaxing with my family on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. But the latter has resulted in some cool research on Canadian wines, and people in the Canadian wine world. Check out my article on Ontario wines, and the Canadian sommelier Ted McIntosh, which will appear soon at wineandjazz.com. The full interview with Ted — a must read for any young sommelier — appears below here at It’s About That Time.

Paul Brady: How did you become interested in food and wine?

Ted McIntosh
: I always bar tended at night. And standing in front of all the alcoholic beverages I thought, I’d better learn something about this. If you want to be a salesman, you better know your product. So then I started out with the wine appreciation course I in Toronto at Sheraton College. Then I came out of that with even more questions so I moved on to course number II. Then that led me to the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) sequence, and I did a couple levels of that. And then in 1995 I decided to take the Sommelier program at George Brown. And I always worked full time too; I was a letter carrier for 27 years and I tended bar at night. Then wine sort of evolved into single malts; I had my own single malt importing business. And my wife Kathleen has been a food writer for 25 years. She does a lot of writing for Wine Access, and she’s done a cookbook, “The Wine Lover Cooks,” which is wine driven instead of food driven, with Tony Aspler, the wine writer in Toronto. (more…)

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Wine and Jazz

I’ve just begun contributing to another great blog with a similar mission: Wine and Jazz. Wine and Jazz is also a full color magazine, and will be available nationally in stores and on news stands this November. Read more at http://www.wineandjazz.com. My first piece for them, posted today, is on some cool places to eat, drink, and hear jazz in New York City. Check it out!

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After what could only be considered a smooth move of apartments from the West Village to Park Slope, I’m back with a new article on some of my favorite bars from over the years.

All seemed right last week on a beautiful Tuesday evening. The sun was going down, the temperature cooled, and we had a great table near the window at Wilfie and Nell on West 4th Street. Then it hit me: this would be my last beer at my regular bar as a resident of the West Village, and I immediately became bittersweet.

By “we” I mean my mom and I. Mom was in town to help me make the move from the West Village — where I had been for two energetic years — to Park Slope. She suggested that I blog on Wilfie and Nell, which gave me the idea to write on all my regular bars over the years. (more…)

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