It used to be that throwback drinking meant quaffing Prohibition-era cocktails and Hemingway sippers. But these days, we’re seeing an emphasis on even older traditions, and a resurgence of traditional techniques that have long fallen out of use. Mead, the fermented honey drink that was made as early as 7000 BC in China and was drunk in North Europe during the Bronze Age, is making a comeback that started in the homebrew community and grew outward. And in just a few short months, Williamsburg will be home to one of the largest mead brewing operations in the country.
Already mourning the loss of the Palisades? Well don’t worry, because everything that’s wonderful is probably going to close down at some point anyway (sorry, sometimes NYC real estate pessimism gets the best of us).
But for now, we’ve got a new one on deck: the Footlight Bar has opened its doors in Ridgewood in order to fill the rock ‘n’ roll-shaped hole in your heart. And with the long-awaited addition of a full liquor-service tonight, the venue will be celebrating with a packed lineup and a pop-up kitchen from I Like Food, a venture helmed by Chef Fernando Strohmeyer (he’s done similar foody one-offs at Dromedary Bar and The Starliner). If you thought music and food were enough, think again– Footlight’s also gearing up for fitness classes.
Name an obscure, long-forgotten spirit, and you can bet your next round of shots on the certainty that somewhere in New York there’s a specialty bar that slings it. Mezcal? Yawn, that’s amateur stuff. AGWA? There’s a Korean joint that’s got it. Raki? Your friend who did a semester abroad brought you back a bottle from Istanbul in 2010. But what about mead? No, this isn’t some Game of Thrones theme bar slinging the honey brew in stone mugs. Instead, Bushwick-based Enlightenment Wines, which soft opened last month, aims to cultivate an appreciation for the oft-forgotten art of making the beverage, which has roots that reach as far back as 6500 BC. Enlightenment Wines and its accompanying bar and tasting room Honey’s specializes in both traditional meads and updated modern cocktails, all with a focus on local ingredients and production methods.
While the city council was busy debating high-level zoning changes to promote affordable housing, Community Board 3 also engaged in the ongoing effort to battle the effects of the city’s red-hot real estate market, putting forward ideas for new zoning to preserve downtown Manhattan’s traditionally vibrant retail scene.
The abundance of bars and nightclubs on the Lower East Side and the East Village is a perpetual source of grousing at Community Board 3 meetings. Sure, we all love a good neighborhood spot, but it’s not so cool to wake up to puke on your doorstep– or to watch your favorite taco joint go under as soon as the landlord realizes he can make big bucks with a cocktail bar instead.