Not long after my visit to Spritzenhaus, I decided it was time to return to Williamsburg. On this occasion, I wanted to sample several recently-opened establishments. Starting near the Bedford Avenue L-train stop and working my way south, I achieved my goal by visiting five such venues. Here’s what transpired:
Brooklyn Winery at 213 N. 8th Street – It’s a wine bar that also offers the opportunity for customers to make their own wine for private consumption. I believe it is due to state or local laws that the establishment is not allowed to serve the wine made on sight to its bar customers. The bar itself is a medium-sized area with four communal tables in addition to a 10 seat bar. There is also an outdoor courtyard that looks out onto N. 8th street. The winemaking occurs in the back. Visitors can see dozens of aging casks in the backrooms. Serving a dozen wines by the glass and another 16 out of the bottle, the Brooklyn Winery also serves 16 bottled beers; For food, chacuterie, bar snacks and small plates. This place also offers tours of the winery on Saturdasy.
4th Down at 170 N. 4th Street – A solid Williamburg sports bar. The neighborhood does not have much to offer of this genre, so 4th Down fills a fairly large void. 4th Down has seven flat screen TVs, affordable drink specials, six arcade games and one pool table in the back. There is also a giant jenga set that all patrons must see in action (or play it!). Add to all of this a friendly staff and this place is a must visit. Two minor drawbacks: there is no kitchen (but they have take-out menus) and the beer selection is nothing special. Nevertheless, 4th Down is very fun and I certainly hope it survives much longer than its short-lived predecessors of 170 N. 4th Street.
Maison Premiere at 298 Bedford Avenue – Located on the (migrating southward) border between North Side and South Side, this place is essentially a cocktail bar (including absinthe) that serves oysters. The address is not readily visible and there is no sign in front reading “Maison Premiere”. Rather, just a sign reading “Bar Oysters” (I must admit, I walked right by the establishment at first). A U-shaped bar area takes up the front 2/3 of the space, with a small dining area in the back. Wooden screwdriver tops serve as handles for the six beer taps. The beers are served in Mason jars. There is a solid wine list as well.
Black Sheep at 245 South 1st Street – Located on an unassuming block between Roebling and Havermeyer (next door to the restaurant, Rye), Black Sheep has a pool table near the entrance a small bar area in the middle and a tiny outdoor patio in back. The wall opposite the bar is covered in photographs of NYC and various celebrities. The staff is very friendly. The bar has six taps, including one Kelso and one Brooklyn.
Banter at South 1st and Havermeyer – This is a great beer bar with 24 taps, mostly imports or New York State beers. The bar is on the left soon after the entrance. With lots of wood around the room, this establishment does not feel as though it’s on the southern edge of gentrified Williamsburg. High-top tables in the bar area and small communal tables in back provide two different seating options for those not sitting at the bar. Good happy hour beer specials. This is a place I would definitely like to return to. Banter will be part of the South Side beer bar crawl.
Let me hear from you. What do you think of these places and my comments? Please share your thoughts.