Here are 9 Brooklyn restaurants with superior cocktails—go for a drink, or go for a meal, or the best option: both.
'williamsburg' on Serious Eats
As the mercury's climbed in New York, cold, fizzy, and sweet-treat summer coffee drinks have spiked as well. We hunted down five local takes on sweet refreshment.
Here are our very favorite coffee establishments in Brooklyn and Queens.
"I like to make drinks that read on the menu like they shouldn't work, and then when you try them you're totally blown away by how it comes together," says says Saul Ranella, head bartender of the newly opened craft cocktail and beer bar Battery Harris in Williamsburg.
"One of the great things about seasonal cocktails," Belanger says, "is the opportunity to incorporate fresh ingredients." But at Donna, you won't find bartenders slowly muddling fruit or other produce for each drink. Instead, the flavors of the season are incorporated into freshly made syrups and vinegar-based shrubs, such as a sweet-savory-spicy shrub made from strawberry, cilantro, and serrano peppers, which provides an unexpected mix of flavors in the Strawberry Sky.
Plenty of cocktail menus around town are the obvious work of a single person, with through-lines in spirits, themes, or philosophy. But Dan Sabo of Five Leaves in Brooklyn, who switched out almost his entire cocktail menu just last week, decided he'd prefer a collaboration. "There are four other bartenders here," Sabo told us, "and I got them all into it. They go and come up with ideas, we do tastings, we refine them. It makes for a much more varied and interesting list than I could've come up with myself." Come take a look at the 8 cocktails new to their menu.
Summertime means you get to have your beer with a shot of vitamin D. There's no shortage of outdoor spots to drink in New York, especially in Brooklyn, but we wanted to nail down the top porches, patios, and yards for craft beer in each borough. Here are 7 solid bets for drinking good craft beer outside in Brooklyn.
Roasters from the other coast are prominently featured, such as Heart and longstanding Sweetleaf favorite Ritual. We loved the sweet and airy Colombia El Mandarino microlot from the latter, poured over V60 into a sneaky custom brew-bar with brewer-cone drains. The level of care is among the highest in NYC—with the level of pretension among the lowest. It's a(n unfortunately) rare combination that makes each cup of coffee that much sweeter.
The back garden at Williamsburg's New Orleans-themed cocktail and oyster bar Maison Premiere won't open for a few more weeks (there's some landscaping to finish up), but the cocktails have moved toward warmer weather, with a menu that includes 16 new concoctions from head bartender Maxwell Britten and his team.
In a little warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the New York Distilling Company is beginning to take shape. They're currently producing two gins, and have plans to expand into rye whiskey and beyond in the near future. And unlike most craft distilleries, where you need to scour the shelves of boutique liquor stores and hope to find a bottle, NY Distilling Co. opened a bar next door to the distillery where you can try the spirits and the cocktails they inspire.
The latest player in Williamsburg's up and coming Fancy Coffee Ghetto is Toby's Estate, a chic and adult-hip franchise of the popular Australian roastery chain. The former meat safe turned high-ceilinged cafe boasts a little bit of everything people look for in a modern coffeeshop—reclaimed wood tables, state of the art espresso machine, slow bar, wifi, and friendly staff—with roasting to commence soon onsite.
Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka's new Williamsburg spot is not a humorless experiment in New Orleans cocktail-history simulation, nor is it a Disney-fied take on the theme. With its fantastic mixed drinks and simple style, Maison Premiere is marvelous.
It can be hard to survive the urban landscape without a cup of coffee—and it's unreasonable these days to be asked to survive without a great cup of coffee. With this in mind, Serious Eats: Drinks brings you a new set of neighborhood coffee guides. Today, we're in Williamsburg and neighboring Greenpoint.
First came Zenkichi. Hidden behind a stretch of unmarked wood siding, the five year-old Japanese restaurant unfolds in tendrils of private booths and curtained corners. Now there's Akariba: Zenkichi's hushed, splendid bar area dedicated to oysters, sake, and the art of the shochu cocktail.
People in luxury condos need fantastic coffee, too, and the owners of hip hideout El Beit are no strangers to supplying what's in demand. Their new shop, Modca, fills a needed niche in the increasingly fancy part of Williamsburg that even its around-the-corner neighbor, Blue Bottle, can't satiate.
In a former life The Bedford was Sound Fix, a record store with vinyl up front and a bar in the rear, a moody little space set up for small shows. The new New American bistro has kept up the split, minus the bands: you can stop in the first room for a full farm to table dinner, or move on back and settle in for the night.