Hooray, Beer 

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Beer Table
427 B Seventh Ave, Park Slope
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“Beer is central to the concept,” Beer Table co-founder and former beer importer Justin Phillips revealed in a sympathetic Times article on the Park Slope beer bar’s liquor license limbo. And, indeed, as a recent visit revealed, beer truly is central to the concept at Beer Table. The bar features three taps and a cask, rotating through gourmet beers familiar only to subscribers of niche magazines, and wide varieties of similarly select bottles, ranging in price from $5 to more than I’m accustomed to spending on a 24-pack. (There’s also a small selection of wine, whiskey and sake, but going to a place called Beer Table and ordering something other than beer is a bit like going to the International House of Pancakes and ordering something other than pancakes, innit? And speaking of food, there are also cheese platters available to nibble at delicately, mouselike.) The menu uses the taster’s language to describe probably made-up beers like Piccolo Birrificio Seson-ette (“juniper, chinotto peel, coriander, white wine”) and Grado Plato Strada San Felice (“chestnuts, dry, bark, nutty sweetness”).

This menu is printed out daily, while the current kegs and cask are listed above the bar on a brown paper scroll looking not unlike a Torah, down to the hand-lettering (in watercolor, it appears). Phillips was manning the bar himself during our weeknight sojourn, personally introducing himself to each customer and talking knowledgeably about beers in the manner of someone who is very knowledgeable about beers. Though one should never expect the personal touch to last much past a new venue’s customary post-opening survival panic, Beer Table’s space is very conducive to it — it’s a small room, big enough for three kitchen-counter-like tables, with hardwood floors and ceilings.

Said tables were reasonably full during the post-dinner hour, with the clientele primarily Park Slope professionals stepping out for a quiet one with friends within the confines of their cozy residential neighborhood. The lighting is low and warm, and there are no games and only an inconspicuous, lightly indie iPod for background, so it’s a bit like a library, minus the foxy bespectacled chicks telling you to shush. The emphasis, then, is on creating an intimate, woodsy room conducive to civil conversation with a respected friend or two — you might even say it’s central to the concept.

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