Beer Boutique Offers Haven for Craft-brew Lovers
There are two kinds of beer-lovers: those who enjoy pounding back cans of Bud Light with their buddies, and those who enjoy sipping on pints of imported draft beer.
The latter group is the one that David Cichowicz cares about. Last November, Cichowicz opened Good Beer NYC, a craft beer shop in the East Village that has quickly become a favorite for people who enjoy a hearty brew.
“People that come in here respect craft beer, “ said Cichowicz, 37. “It’s not a power-drinking kind of crowd. They have a pint or two, drink it, and enjoy it.”
Good Beer is difficult to define. On the one hand, it’s a retail store, where one can spend an hour or so poking through the refrigerators, shopping for a good lager. On the other hand, it’s a café that serves beer instead of coffee, inviting customers to sit with laptops or friends and enjoy a cold one from the tap — located right next to the cash register. There’s also the option of combining the two.
“Shopping is more fun when you’re able to drink!” said Cichowicz.
But Cichowicz is careful to keep his store just that — a store for beer-lovers, and not a late-night bar for those who simply want to get tanked. To avoid rowdy frat boys and bar-hoppers, Cichowicz keeps retail hours; he closes at 7 pm on Sundays, and at 10 pm every other day of the week.
“Once you go past 10 pm, it starts getting into nightlife,” said Cichowicz. “I really wanted to keep it separate. It’s supposed to be a shopping experience.”
Steven Kaplan, who was a regular of Good Beer before becoming an employee, agrees.
“I really hate going to absurdly loud bars and bumping into everybody,” he said. “This is a place where friends can just meet up.”
Good Beer has the atmosphere of a local shop rather than a dark and dingy pub. The room is brightly lit, and the walls are covered with fully-stocked refrigerators boasting everything from a fine Belgian ale to a Minnesota IPA; Cichowicz said that 80% of his beers are American craft, and the remaining 20% come from Germany, Belgium and the UK — “basically the countries that invented every beer style,” he said. And the staff know a thing or two about good drinking.
“The selection is unbeatable,” said Kaplan. “I’ve been able to try beers that I never would have been able to try otherwise.”
All of the customers love beer, too. Cichowicz said that he has plenty of regulars who he knows on a first-name basis; when they walk in, he automatically knows what to recommend them. In the days before Hurricane Irene, he said, the place was packed with locals buying his beer.
“It was my third-biggest revenue day ever,” said Cichowicz, laughing. “People were just stocking up for the Armageddon!”
For the craft-savvy subculture of New York beer-lovers, Good Beer NYC is a haven. And how does the beer actually taste? Well, it’s all in the name.