T.J. Finley’s

Friday night we went out for barbecue, as we have been apt to do for the past month or so.  Usually we head out to a place in Smithtown called Famous Dave’s, and last week we went out to BobbiQue ( a joint that will get it’s own post here one of these days).  This week, however, we tried Smokin’ Al’s in Bayshore for a change.

As far as BBQ goes, we like Famous Dave’s a whole bunch.  Nothing extraordinary, but everything tastes really good.  BobbiQue has decent ribs, but I’m not a fan of their brisket and the smoked sausage has been up and down.  The big difference between both of those two places is the atmosphere and the beer.  Dave’s is a national chain and it feels like a TGIF.  And the beer selection sucks.  Standard run of the mill crap.  BobbiQue, on the other hand, is all about the beer.  Check out the beer menu on their site…it’s awesome!  And it helps make up for their slightly inferior BBQ.

So we wanted BBQ and good beer Friday, but we had just been to BobbiQue and we didn’t feel like driving all the way to Patchogue.  So we settled on Smokin’ Al’s in Bayshore instead.  As soon as we got there we realized we may have made a mistake.  The beer selection was roughly the same as Famous Dave’s.  Crap, in other words.  The BBQ was hit and miss.  The hits were the spare ribs and smoked sausage.  The misses were the beef ribs (too much work for not enough meat), baby back ribs (the sauce was too sweet) and the chopped brisket (same sauce as the baby backs).

So while our tummys were full, our experience was just so-so.  We really needed a good beer or two.

Good thing that T.J. Finley’s is only about a block away.  T.J. Finley’s is a part of Drew Dvorkin’s growing empire of good beer bars that includes The Dead Poet and George Keeley in Manhattan.  It’s doesn’t have quite the selection that George Keeley boasts, but it’s pretty damn good.  Especially for Long Island.

Gia started with an Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout on cask while I went with a Lucky lager in the funky bottle. Felt like something light after that big meal and we love the kids over at Lucky.  The Imperial Stout was a bit heavy for me (duh), but Gia loved it’s smoky flavor.  Nothing on the draft board really inspired me and I was really in the mood for an IPA next so I went with a safe choice, Magic Hat’s Lucky Kat.

The atmosphere of the joint was decent.  The place looked great and there was a nice, young-ish crowd there.  The music, however, was a bit loud for my liking.  Good beer is best accompanied by good conversation.  Loud music can sometimes hinder that, but at least they were playing good stuff.

Overall, I would highly recommend the joint.  And not only because we personally know Drew (who is a great guy, by the way).  If you happen to be hanging out on the South Shore of Long Island, you probably won’t find a better beer bar west of Patchogue.  Give it a go.