If you had to spend a day stopping in at every shop in Brooklyn that hawks bespoke menswear, by sunset you’d need a very tall glass of whiskey indeed. Custom, handmade shoes, on the other hand, are a tradition that’s relatively hard to find around these yrts, even as a hipster revivalist thing.
That probably explains why Eric Pitzer– a guy who back in 2010 ditched his unfulfilling corporate day job in Ohio and ran away to Santiago, Chile (a place he’d never been before) to work in a tire factory– felt like he had come across something really special when he met Jaime Cardemil. “Here, shoemaking is kind of a lost thing,” Pitzer said.
The idea of a Tim Burton theme bar opening in the East Village is so weird on so many levels that I started to drive myself bonkers unpacking the implications of this so-called Beetle House. Would this be an ironic ode to Tumblr culture and fan fiction? A comment on how themed consumer culture has reached bizarre peaks? As it turns out, Beetle House is actually just a completely earnest theme bar and restaurant dedicated to the beloved, oh-so-spooky-creepy films of Tim Burton. Which hasn’t stopped it from getting smacked with a cease-and-desist from the director’s minders.
“I was like, ‘Why don’t we open a bar?'” co-owner Zach Neil recalls telling Brian Link, his business partner and BFF who was suffering from “massive depression” last year. “Bars are fun, it’s like having a birthday party every night. People come in, they hang out, you drink, hang out, everything’s good.”
Inspired by trips to Hawaii, Michael Lombardozzi has opened Dromedary, a 16-seat bar that aims to be tiki without being tacky. Inside, Bushwick’s newest watering hole looks like a dilapidated old store (“in a good way,” insists the owner/“drinks guy”). The decor is “loosely based around the aesthetic of a tiki bar,” with a foam-green banquet that’s supposed to be reminiscent of palm trees, an oceanic aqua-green wall, and “little hints of Hawaiian culture,” like tiki god masks. There’s a small outdoor area for two-person tables.
For several summers now, Rockaway Brewing Co. has been a fixture at the beach. Now the budding brewery is fixing to build a beach of its own, with a sandy oasis set to open near the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. Tentatively called Playa NYC, it’s one of three major projects in the works, the other two of which will be right on the brand’s namesake peninsula.
In Japan, a tiny studio apartment is often known as a “rabbit hutch”–usually a cramped little space for young people to get a foothold in the big city. So when Chef Yoshiko Sakuma found a little nook for her first restaurant on a quiet stretch of Forsyth Street, the name stuck. Rabbit House, her 14-seat wine-and-sake bar, is a refuge and lab for her whimsical culinary experiments, drawing inspiration from around the world to create unexpected European tapas dishes dusted with Japanese moxie.
On Friday we heralded the return of our favorite booze boat with a post titled, “What About Bobbing? The Frying Pan Reopens Today.” Pretty much no one appreciated our hilarious What About Bob? reference, but that’s okay– we’ve already moved on, because another one of Manhattan’s great docked drinkeries has reopened for the season.
Can I float something by you?
I know, I know, it’s still kind of nipply out, as Clark Griswold would say. But our favorite party boat, The Frying Pan, is reopening for the season in a matter of hours, and you might want to get over there before those massive lines start forming again.
The windows of 7 Clinton Street have recently boasted racy red signs: “Beer is sexy,” and “Beer. Your way,” they say. Another week, another craft beer spot, you may yawn. But Paloma Rocket, in soft-opening mode, is guaranteed to make beer enthusiasts perk up with a free-for-all of 30 constantly-changing niche drafts. The best part: No bartender is getting between you and these sweet brews.
The Rosemont, the new one from Aaron Pierce of bygone Trash Bar, has soft-opened in anticipation of a grand opening in May. For those who remember the Trash Bar (however fondly), The Rosemont (a play on its Montrose Street location) is more than a distinctive step up—it’s really nice, by any standards: gorgeous banquettes, a lovely bar with chic padded barstools, an inviting outdoor courtyard, and spiffy bathrooms. The venue still has live music, but the narrow stage in back will cater to jazz rather than drunken rock, and the specialties behind the bar tend towards bespoke cocktails that have more ingredients than “PBR and a shot.” (Try the ‘69 Camaro, a nice turn on an Old Fashioned.)
East Villagers have a new place to score rainbow-sprinkle cream cheese for when they just can’t with the lines at Tompkins Square Bagels. Newcomer Bagel Belly opened Saturday and serves what are touted as “freshly baked, hand rolled, kettle boiled organic bagels and handcrafted cream cheese” alongside a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, panini, and wraps. The menu (below) claims the bakers get up at 4 a.m. every morning to do their thing.
Whether you’re preparing for a spin at the rodeo or just outfitting for summer’s busy festival sched, you’ll want to check out the Wild West pop-up shop in Williamsburg, running until May 15.
This general store by way of Brooklyn is filled with basically everything you need to pull off that whimsical hat you’ve been trying to make work (we all have one): lace-up-front bralets, dreamcatchers, Navajo artisanal jewelry, and hand-painted, perfectly worn-in boots, for example. (We were happy to see there weren’t any of those terrible “fashion” Native American headdress pieces though).