With its white tiled bar, fake plants, wood accents, and tribal art, The Johnsons bears little resemblance to the den of iniquity that is its Lower East Side sister. This feels more like an adult take on the tiki bar: a little funk, but no over the top kitsch.
The draw here is definitely in the space. The huge outdoor area with benches, a throwback fireplace, and a couple of those egg chairs will be a great place to hang out when it’s not 20 degrees outside. The bar itself seems to be focused on semi-private spaces, featuring four small booths, a few tables, a walled-off lounge area with a handful of leather chairs, and a pool table surrounded by bench seating.
The cocktail list is interesting, but not spectacular (though the bartender on duty did assure us that we’d be seeing some seasonal cocktails rotate through the 10-drink list). Most seemed to be twists on traditional cocktails, like the pomegranate Arizona Margarita (a steal for $5) and the Mr. Thom, a Tom Collins dressed up with plum bitters (a featured house cocktail for $9). Some, like the Foghorn (Dewars, sweet vermouth, and a float of single malt scotch), come off a little booze-heavy, but mostly the list tends toward sweet and fruity.
The beer list is negligible, since there’s no draft line. True to the original, the bottle/can list runs to the standards (Bud Light, Pacifico) and the locals (Blue Point).
Though it was pretty relaxed on the night we went, the bartender told us Friday night’s opening was slammed. If you happen to be in Bushwick for New Year’s Eve on a budget, you may want to check out their all-night happy hour: $5 cocktails, $3 for well drinks and Bud Light, and $2 cans of Lion’s Head pilsner.
The Johnsons, 369 Troutman Street, bet. Wyckoff and Irving Aves.; (718) 417-7100