Just to set the record straight. I’ve never been to San Francisco, so if you’re looking for some insightful commentary on how this bar “really draws on the West Coast” vibe, I can’t help you. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic bar. Settled on the somewhat barren strip of 4th Avenue, right down the street from the massive Uhaul center where I dropped off the van I moved to New York in, is the new-ish Mission Dolores Bar.
Dubbed a beer garden, cause New Yorkers consider any bar with at least one skylight a “beer garden”, it has an unusual half-indoor and half-outdoor layout. Having not lived in the hood, I was late on the bandwagon since it’s opening in April. But I believe every new bar should have a grace period where it can smooth out any kinks and establish a regular crowd. Despite it being a Thursday night, I was happy to discover it wasn’t packed to the brim with people. It’s spaced out enough where you can usually grab a seat at one of the many long communal tables and even bring your pup along as well. Go later to avoid “family hour” and enjoy the old-school pinball machines and well-stocked jukebox.
Given the male to female ratio, there’s no mistake this is a beer bar. Being a big beer drinker myself, I struggled to choose from one of the 21 beers on tap or even their special cask ale. Their selection is great and you don’t feel overwhelmed with choices like at a giant German beer bar where there’s 50 beers to choose from, all in the mother tongue. There’s plenty of local stand-by’s like Captain Lawrence, Ommegang, and Kelso. And some Cali-based breweries as well. If you’re just looking for something that’s cold and alcoholic, and low on funds (when are you not?), there’s some Genesee Cream Ale and Yuengling for $4 a pint. I wish I could still drink Yuengling, but after consuming gallons of it throughout high school out of ice-filled bathtubs, I’ve officially reached my quota. Despite many of the mixed feelings on Yelp on their mixed drinks, there were no complaints from my party.
Besides being an oasis for pet-lovers and smokers alike, one of the best things about the Mission is, it doesn’t feel like you’re in Park Slope. Not to say that PS is some kind of cesspool, it’s just the pitfall of many newer neighborhood bars that start to look and feel the same after a while (I’m looking at you Lady Jay’s). Mission Delores features a nice mixed crowd of young and old with no pretension to be found. While I half expected to see a taco truck parked outside given its size, there is food menu so you’re free to bring in whatever food you like or start ordering giant pizzas and mozzarella sticks with hungry abandon. Did I mention those drinks are strong? While it’s certainly no dive bar, their prices are reasonable and they have a daily happy hour. And since I can’t afford a ticket to SF anytime soon, I can certainly afford to ride the G Train and enjoy the open air at this new watering hole.
Mission Dolores Bar
249 4th Ave
Between Carroll & President St [Park Slope]