These days, Park Slope proper seems like bar central, with a watering hole on nearly every corner. Travel farther south, though, and your options start getting sparser. No wonder, then, that residents around 16th Street are so excited about two new bars set to open within the next couple of months. We’ll keep you posted on their opening dates; in the meantime, here’s a sneak peak.
The Black Horse Pub, 568 5th Avenue, South Slope
In his 13 years in the Park Slope area, Brian McNally had never found a local bar that was entirely to his liking. So when the right space opened up, McNally, a Brit, went and built exactly the kind of bar he felt the neighborhood was missing: a contemporary British pub.
With the Black Horse Pub, which he co-owns with with Ian Lake, McNally has taken the best of Britain’s pub culture and designed it to fit within the Brooklyn neighborhood he calls home. The space itself — with its brick walls, tin ceilings, and glass pendants that hang low over a long wooden bar — looks much more like an upscale Brooklyn bar than a traditional English local. Yet the details are 100% British, from the framed UK magazine covers and old concert posters that hang on the walls to the two flat-screens mounted behind the bar that will show English football matches and nothing else. Ultimately, McNally hopes to create a place where people can grab a pint and immediately feel at home.
What’s on tap: Look for standards like Carlsberg, Guinness and a lager such as Stella or Radeberger to be regulars amongst the Black Horse Pub’s 16 taps. McNally plans on stocking the remaining taps with IPAs, wheat beers, and other craft beers. Even better: Pints will all be full 20-ouncers, just like they’re poured in the UK, and none will cost more than $5.
What they’re serving: Chef Mick Baldwin — a fellow Brit who once worked as head chef for the English football team the Blackburn Rovers — is aiming for a small menu of English pub standards, like shepherd’s pie and ploughman’s lunch (a British standard consisting of cheese, bread, and salad). Just as pubs in the UK are now emphasizing fresh ingredients over prepackaged goods, Baldwin plans to use fresh, local products as much as possible. He also plans to offer full Sunday roasts (roasted meat, potatoes, vegetables, and Yorkshire pudding) in the wintertime. [Ed. Note: Sunday Roasts in Brooklyn? This is the best news ever.]
Bar extras: Come next summer, it’s all soccer, all the time, as the pub will serve as an official bar of the 2010 World Cup. Fans won’t have to wait that long to catch a game, though: On weekends, the bar will open early to show football matches, offering patrons full English breakfasts — eggs, beans, toast, sausage, and grilled tomatoes — while they watch.
Double Windsor, 210 Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace
When Greg Curley first decided to open a new bar, it was not with the intention of bringing a second drinking establishment to a neighborhood famed for having only one. He was simply looking to branch out from running a live-music venue, which he’s been doing for two four years as part owner of the Cake Shop on the Lower East Side. [Ed. Note: The other co-owner of Cake Shop, not Curley, owns the Brooklyn venue Bruar Falls.] Curley and his partners — Eric Horowitz, also an investor in the Cake Shop, and Jeff Switzer, a long-time friend of Horowitz’s — looked at spaces throughout Brooklyn, from Red Hook to Williamsburg to DUMBO to Bed-Stuy, before settling on one in Windsor Terrace. As fate would have it, the location, previously home to a video store, was mere blocks from each of their homes.
As Windsor Terrace locals, the three are well aware of the void they’re filling with the Double Windsor. Until now, the only bar in this area east of 7th Avenue has been Farrell’s Bar & Grill, a neighborhood institution that’s been open since 1933 and that, despite its name, does not actually serve food. With 14 taps, as well as a kitchen in the back, the Double Windsor should be a draw for the neighborhood’s newer, younger residents who like a wider selection in drink options than the lone beer, Budweiser, that Farrell’s still offers in 32-ounce Styrofoam cups. Yet the unassuming décor – brick walls, white pendant lamps, tables and floors made from reclaimed barn wood – gives the bar a settled-in vibe that should also appeal to those who’ve lived in the neighborhood for generations. “We want it to feel like it’s not a brand-new place,” says Curley, “like it’s been here the whole time.”
What’s on tap: American craft beers will make up the majority of the Double Windsor’s draft menu; a cask ale is also a possibility. Beyond drafts, the bar will stock 40 to 50 different bottled beers as well as a wide range of liquors. For fans of mixed drinks, there will be a small cocktail menu, featuring classics like the Dark and Stormy.
What’s cooking: The Double Windsor’s menu will feature American-style pub food – think burgers, salads, mac and cheese – made from locally sourced and organic ingredients. Curley also promises pickles made in-house by their chef, a former bartender for the Cake Shop who studied at the French Culinary Institute.
Bar extras: Curley is considering devoting certain evenings to special events, such as movie screenings, pub quizzes, and brewer appearances. Unlike with the Cake Shop, live music will not be a focus, although the Double Windsor may host the occasional, most likely acoustic, show.
Sent by Nicole. Text by Nina Pearlman. Photos courtesy of Black Horse Pub and the Double Windsor.