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.
OK, we’re almost in the clear for anything New Year’s Eve-related. But before we hurdle head-first into 2017, there’s one more place we lost over the holiday weekend that’s worth pouring one out for: a Williamsburg bar called Daddy’s.
Attending an art opening usually means agreeing to a trade-off: in exchange for free booze and the company of other humans, you won’t be seeing much, if any of the art work. But at “Slow, Dimwitted Carnage,” the second exhibition from newcomer gallery Coustof Waxman, guests can have their art and, um, drink it too.
When word first emerged that Abby Ehmann, an East Village party organizer and neighborhood chronicler who’s resided in the hood since 1989, would be opening a bar on Avenue B, not everyone was all about it. There were enough bars, people said– in fact, there are several of them located on the block between 10th and 11th streets already. And worst of all, weren’t the proliferation of bars (especially the fancy cocktail ones) part of the problem?
Ask anybody who’s not from the so-called flyover states to describe a Midwesterner and you’re absolutely going to hear some variation on the word “nice.” But try asking an actual Midwesterner to say something about their own and it’s likely to be along the lines of, “Well, they don’t take themselves too seriously.”
Thankfully, Frank Bevan and Eric Odness, a pair of super chill Minneapolis rock-n’-roll vets, fit the latter description, and likewise their Greenpoint bar, Lake Street, is about as unpretentious as it gets. Just whatever you do, don’t call it a “Minneapolis-themed” bar.
“I can’t stand hearing that,” Frank said. “I don’t know what that means.”
Any discerning boozehound knows that tequila is sooo 2006– the alcoholic drink du jour is tequila’s smokier, sexier cousin: mezcal. And while United Staters’ newfound taste for the spirit may be killing off the very plant that makes it (agave takes a long time to grow– one of the easier varieties reaches maturity after a decade and even then only yields approximately ten bottles), mezcal’s popularity only seems to be picking up. That means that, nowadays, any self-respecting bartender will have a mezcal cocktail or two up their sleeve, mezcal old fashioneds are pretty much standard, and a bar can’t be called complete without at least one bottle of the stuff on-shelf.
Albert Trummer of Apothéke has finally opened his new bar on Avenue C, having dropped the rather hilarious working title of Mixers & Elixirs in favor of Sanatorium, a name that’s true to both the bar’s Habsburgian decor (surgeon’s lamps, anatomy-driven artwork, even an X-Ray lightbox) and its Dionysian philosophy on wellness.
Maison Premiere has been the Belle of the Brooklyn Ball since it opened in 2011– the Williamsburg oyster bar is perpetually brimming with enraptured guests and hovering, perspiring would-bes waiting for a seat at the horseshoe bar. Earlier this month, their off-the-chain booze operation earned them the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Bar Program.” I mean, where else can you find a classy, non-diabetes-forming answer to the tiki trend, an unrivaled selection of absinthe drips, and a $20 martini that looks worthy of Macaulay Culkin’s character in a sorely needed Richie Rich Redux?
Whether it’s because of excessive boozing and very often drugging, lowered inhibitions or cover of night, maybe even social expectations or bro-on-bro insanity, the list goes on– people can act like total shitheads at shows, dance parties, clubs, and bars.
Anuradha Golder knows this. She’s been partying for “a while now,” she laughed. “And I always thought, how can I make this better? How can I make this experience more enjoyable for myself?” Her zine, Club Etiquette, aims to answer those questions. Issue No. 3, which dropped in October, looks specifically at sexual harassment. “I understood the zine was eventually going to comment on bigger issues, but it got there pretty quickly,” Anuradha explained.
If you were a fan of longtime watering hole Barramundi and its upstairs speakeasy, 2nd Floor on Clinton, we’re afraid you missed last call. The pair of bars had their final hurrah last night, but the good news is the space won’t stay vacant for long if all goes as planned for Tim Gashi (Rocky Slims). The restauranteur plans to open a Criff Dog style hamburger joint/speakeasy combo that he’s hoping will help revitalize the LES block.
If you’ve been awake for the past 48 hours or so, you’re probably well aware that it is, in fact, the month of July which means some of you, dearest readers, may be wondering, “Where the hell is that floating barge bar you promised me?” Rest assured, the Brooklyn Barge Bar is not lost at sea — rather she’s docked and nearly ready for seafaring (we jest, the barge itself will remain at the landing, historic boats and scuba excursions will do the launching). “It looks like it’s far from being finished, but it’s actually really close,” owner Will Drawbridge explained. “There’s some final bits of paperwork to do and then we’ll be done.”
It’s been almost a full year since we first caught up with the three guys behind Our Wicked Lady; needless to say, the East Williamsburg bar-venue-studio hybrid is unrecognizable as the gutted industrial space we first happened upon. Incandescent bulbs shine down on a long wooden bar, behind which glows an illuminated drink menu. “Do you think that font is too small?” Wayne Gordon asked.
While tonight is the soft opening (friends, family, and investors only), it’s clear Wayne and his partners Zachary Glass and Keith Hamilton, all service industry vets, are set on making everything just right for July 8 when they open their doors for real. “It’s going to be crazy,” Wayne said of the grand opening.