Bernheim and Schwartz, the new restaurant and beer hall that has replaced Havana Central near 114th Street and Broadway, proved that it’s really trying to win our hearts on its opening night on Tuesday, when it drew a substantial crowd.
Seating is plentiful and divided into two sections: A bar and more communal tables comprise the section near the entrance, while more intimate, formal dinner seating choices are located toward the back. There is also a back room that serves as a beer hall and there are a number of seats outside, ideal for the increasingly sparse warm evenings.
Spacious and high-ceilinged, the interior evokes a saloon at the turn of the last century. The color scheme is a sensual mix of chocolate and dark green. Wooden tables and floors, an embossed tin ceiling, and faux gas lamps complement a handsome, wooden bar, made with antique wood.
[Related: Bernheim and Schwartz to bring brewing history to Morningside]
Bernheim and Schwartz’s beer selection comes from its own Brooklyn brewery and is available in small, medium, and large sizes for $6, $8, and $16 respectively. The Munich malt-based Red Ale was tangy and sharp, with one of those finishes that is hard to pinpoint because it changes with every gulp—sometimes delightfully nutty, other times dark and fruity.
We also tried the Oktoberfest, which was advertised as spicy, with sweet caramel notes and a clean finish. This turned out to be a mellow beer, ideal for those who prefer lighter flavors. Although it didn’t taste as complex and rich as the Red Ale, it was also satisfying, with a hint of sweetness. (“Caramel notes” might have been a bit of a stretch, but then again, maybe I’m just a beer philistine.)
I would recommend both of the beers I tried, although their deliciousness only highlighted how dissatisfyingly small a half-pint serving is, especially for $6.
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