You missed your train. You arrived way too early. You’re waiting for your crew. There are a variety of scenarios where you have time to kill in Grand Central Terminal. You could stand in the middle of the annoying foot traffic on the main concourse, or you could find a spot to enjoy liquid craft-beer refreshment.
Grand Central is home to a decent number of restaurants that sell beer, so if you’re blessed with a chunk of free time, you could visit the Grand Central Oyster Bar on the lower level or even Michael Jordan’s in the mezzanine — but neither sport an extensive craft-beer list. A year ago, I would’ve included the Campbell Apartment, but it closed last summer after a management change (insert multiple sad-face emojis). I suppose a Shackmeister Ale — brewed by Brooklyn Brewery — at Shake Shack is a possibility. But none of these are really the answer for craft-beer connoisseurs seeking variety. Heck, even the commissaries and beer carts weren’t selling beer during research for this column, as they have been shut down since mid-December 2016, due to an MTA probe into missing money from booze sales.
If you’ve got time to sit down and savor a good brew, a visit to the Great Northern Food Hall is your best bet. “The Bar” is a cozy, casual area, perfect for a post-work pint indulgence. The beer selection is solid — albeit tap-less, due to historical architectural constraints — and it showcases an ever-changing, varied list of around 15 choices. According to Beverage Manager Jonas Andersen, you should be on the lookout for weekday beer events featuring New York breweries that’ll take place around the time you clock out for the day.
If you’re in a hurry, there’s a tiny store directly across from Track 13 called Beer Table. What it lacks in size (seriously, it’s got just enough standing room for 2 or 3 people) it makes up for with quality products, focusing on small breweries and beers local to NYC. Beer Table also has six draft lines for fresh pints and growlers to-go, and their online tap list is always up-to-date. You’ll pay city prices, but you’ll find some gems here in bottles, can, and bombers. Don’t overlook it.