B, D, F, M at Broadway-Lafayette St.; 6 at Bleecker St.; N, R at 8th St.-NYU
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Here's an alehouse that feels like a home. Aside from murals depicting boisterously bucolic scenes penned by its namesake, Swift's pub appeal is refined to the basics. The front room is as nooked and crannied as you could desire, with a winding bar yielding several "best seats in the house" as well as a wide selection of impressively esoteric beers. An expansive yet cozy back room—aesthetically, a cross between a church (there's an actual pulpit in back, containing high-tech D.J. equipment) and a mead hall out of Beowulf—helps maintain a civilized crowd density.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.