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Trendlet: A Case to Go, and a Pint to Stay

Multiple-personality beer stores take the drudgery out of stocking up.

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The next time you go on a beer run, it might just take you all day. That’s the hazard of patronizing an added-value beer shop, the new breed of cozily rusticated emporium popping up around town that invites you to pull up a chair, sample a flight of whatever’s fresh and local on draft, and munch on a Bavarian pretzel or cheese plate before you refill your growler and maybe grab a jar of artisanal pickles on the way out. Park Slope’s Bierkraft pioneered the trend almost a decade ago, but the business model has become increasingly common, with Beer Table Pantry debuting this week in Grand Central Terminal and a venture called Top Hops currently hashing out a lease on the Lower East Side. These establishments are less utilitarian package store than—depending on how they’re licensed—gourmet deli and sandwich shop, esoterically curated general store, low-key (if brightly lit) beer bar, and, in the case of The Cannibal (113 E. 29th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-686-5480), opening this weekend adjacent to Belgian restaurant Resto, multi-hyphenated takeout-shop-small-plates-restaurant-butcher-shop-beer-store. What might seem like a schizophrenic retail concept strikes Cannibal owner Christian Pappanicholas as perfectly natural. Resto is all about its beer and nose-to-tail meat programs; the Cannibal tidily packages the whole lusty experience for home consumption. During the day, sandwiches like the MLT (mutton, lettuce, tomato) and the pig’s-head Cuban will be available to stay or go; at night, small plates include lamb-neck terrine, smoked-bluefish rillettes, and a steak tartare inspired by a pilgrimage to cult butcher Dario Cecchini’s shop in Tuscany. And then, of course, there’s beer—350 by the bottle and ten on tap, to drink there or bring home. But really, why leave?


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