I can’t say that I have always been a fan of sports bars. That’s not necessarily a judgment of sports bars as a whole but more of the ones I was choosing to go to. It seems that’s where I made my mistake.
I prefer not to be pressed between two strangers, having beer spilled on me, barely being able to get a glimpse of a TV screen. Then, of course, there are other times, when it’s great.
Like in 2003 when Aaron Boone hit the homerun in extra innings of game 7 that sent the Yankees past the Red Sox. Other than at the stadium itself, there was no place I would have rather been than sharing the moment with other Yankees fans. But my opinion of not like sports bars has changed drastically in the past few years, thanks in large part, to places like the .
If you haven’t been, Dram Shop on Ninth Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, is more than just a mere sports bar. Sure there’s several televisions, a pool table and dart board in back, board games you can bring to your table and a shuffleboard, but the food is what separates it from the ordinary sports bar.
So much so that at certain times it can be seen as and serve the same purpose as a restaurant—it’s a “gastropub,” if you will. I have been to Dram Shop many times, not to drink or watch a game, but just to eat. Especially, with the few recent menu tweaks they’ve made recently.
While it’s not a new item, when you talk about the food at Dram Shop, you must mention their burger. After several very favorable mentions in New York Magazine, the burger has become one of Brooklyn’s most revered burgers. It’s a 60-year-old recipe that the owners brought with them from Dallas, Texas.
Other excellent and unique already existing items include their deep-fried mac and cheese, meaty chicken wings and Miss McGrath’s Irish Nachos (fries smothered in cheese, bacon, sour cream and pickled jalapenos).
The new menu items include several variations on crispy chicken fingers, all made with Murray’s organic, free-range chicken. Their twist is that they are crusted in matzah, which takes its crispiness to insane levels.
You can get them on their fried chicken salad with, grape tomatoes, red onion and roasted corn ($12); on a sandwich with chipotle mayo ($12) and by their lonesome with a choice of dipping sauce ($9).
Of these choices, the most surprising is the salad. It reads and even looks like nothing special, but the addition of sweet roasted corn, takes it from good to gold.
There is also a Wisconsin Beer Brat, made from a house recipe of Berkshire pork and roasted peppers and onions. Like the burger, the sausage is served in a basket with fries.
While the basket works for the burger, it makes this sandwich much harder to eat. First, the size of the all-important peppers and onions are too big and continued to fall off the bun on each bite attempt.
Trying to use a knife and fork was no help either unfortunately, being that the basket cannot support the weight of trying to cut into the sandwich.
However, it was tasty nonetheless. If you want to avoid this problem but still want the brat, it appears in their Texconsin Bar Board with sliced granny smith apple and homemade pimento cheese ($11).
While Dram Shop is probably not the best place for a date being that volume levels can and usually do rival a Mötley Crüe show, even on a weekday afternoon, that’s part of the charm of the place.
And plus, the food is well worth it.
The Dram Shop Bar, 339 Ninth Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, (718) 788-1444, dramshopbrooklyn.com