I'll have to give them another chance. The one time I was there I had the worst bartender I've ever had (and I have been to a few bars in my day). Normally when I sit at the bar I get a little faster service than at a table, but not with this guy. My first three choices from the cask menu were out (ha had to check with a server to find this out on each request) so I decided to get a sampler of 4 small glasses. 20 minutes later and he only had three of the four. I think he was stoned or hung over or otherwise unable to remember simple tasks, like glance at a customer on occasion.
My wife and I are going to Philly and NYC for a few days. I'm looking forward to some beer/pub research.
I was in NYC last weekend. The local homebrewers (a great bunch, BTW) met me at Rattle N Hum near The Empire State Building. I think it was on 33rd between 5th and Madison. They have a web site.
Great selection! They had an IPA festival recently, so many were still on tap. They had 5 gravity casks and 2 hand pumps, plus something like 40 taps. I didn't have food while there, but what I saw looked great (like a proper English breakfast).
Two big thumbs up if you're in midtown.
My favorite pub in Manhattan is Blind Tiger in the W. Village.
Philly has too many favorite pubs. What a great beer town.
(Quoting my own post here as a follow-up). I had lunch and a few beers at Rattle and Hum today in NYC. Service was polite and prompt and the beer and food were excellent. There was only one cask available, a Belgian Quad, I think, but I opted for some other draughts. A very good experience this time. My first visit there was when they were only just opened and now 3 years later, they have their act completely together. My server was a certified Cicerone.
In Philly Saturday I had lunch and a flight of beers at Kraftwork in Fishtown. The beer can chicken sandwich was awesome.