Seamstress and The Gilroy are two of those cocktail bars that your Upper East Side friends insist are amazing when they tell you, “No, really, we should totally hang in my neighborhood for a change. It’s cool, I swear!” You nod your head and say, “Yeah, totally, maybe when the Second Avenue subway extension opens”– at which point, let’s face it, you’re totally going to be living in L.A. Well, the next time someone tries to lure you to the Yupper East, you can just say, “Actually, they just opened a new place in Williamsburg…”
Yesterday, the folks at Qualia Hospitality opened Belle Shoals along with In Good Company, another hospitality company with venues in a neighborhood you typically avoid: Parker & Quinn, Park Avenue Tavern, Refinery Rooftop, and Winnie’s Jazz Bar are all near Bryant Park. Actually, you’re probably more familiar with their Ludlow Street spot, Libation, and their Rockaway standby, Bungalow Bar. Like the latter, Belle Shoals will have a decent-sized outdoor space (100 seats) come spring.
As you can see below, the menu is straight-up Southern comfort along the lines of neighborhood standbys like Egg, Sweet Chick, and Pies n Thighs. Except in lieu of the usual fried chicken, chef Aaron LaMonica slaps fried skate wing and fried duck leg between his biscuits slathered in bourbon butter. Question is: Can the oyster po boy go head-to-head with the one over at Loosie’s Kitchen?
There are still more Southern touches (Cheerwine, anyone?) in the cocktail menu, dreamed up by North Carolina native James “Jimbo” Palumbo (formerly of Up & Up) and beverage director Pamela Wiznitzer (Seamstress). Have a look at the Auntie Bellum, containing sherry, coconut syrup, tiki bitters, toasted marshmallows, and a mini bottle of Grand Marnier.
Of course, biscuits are a dime a dozen in Williamsburg, but Belle Shoals does offer something not easy to find elsewhere: a Wurlitzer jukebox that plays blues and soul ’45s. Just in case the words “oyster po boy” weren’t sufficient music to your ears…
Belle Shoals, 10 Hope St., bet. Grand and Hope Sts., Williamsburg