05/22/15 10:30am
Swan Dive, opening on the banks of the beautiful Gowanus Canal, opens to the public on Tuesday. Photo: Swan Dive

Swan Dive, opening on the banks of the beautiful Gowanus Canal, opens to the public on Tuesday. Photo: Swan Dive

One of our favorite times of year is when the weather warms up enough to sip a cold drink, preferably alcoholic, at an outdoor bar. Over the years we’ve shared our appreciation for these al fresco drinking establishments through extensive guides, filled with recommendations for everyone from beer nerds to those seeking room for 10 of your closest friends. This year, we’re just focusing on the brand-new spots we’re excited to hit up all summer. Note–shameless plug–two of these bars are part of our Total Gowanus Immersion June 6. (more…)

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05/22/15 10:00am
Image courtesy of the author

The Samurai at the bar. Photo: Heather Dockray

Back when I lived in Bed-Stuy just three years ago, there weren’t too many bars to choose from. Over on Franklin, we had Tip-Top, a lovely neighborhood dive bar that I’m quite sure gave me bronchitis. On Nostrand, there was Vodou, and on Bedford, Larry’s Liquid Love, a bar I’m a deeply saddened to report I never once visited (we’re all human, we all make mistakes). That’s why I was especially excited to see Bed-Vyne Cocktail Lounge open next door to Royal Rib House (my favorite place in New York to pick up dripping ribs in a Styrofoam container). Sure, ‘rib house’ and ‘cocktail lounge’ might make for strange bedfellows, but Bed-Vyne fits seamlessly into its surrounding neighborhood.

Owner Rotimi Akinnuoye, who owns Bed-Vyne Brew and Bed-Vyne Wine, wanted to create a space that would meet the demands of its community. “We opened Bed-Vyne Brew in 2013 after the wine shop because people in the neighborhood said they wanted a place to hang out,” Akinnuoye told DNAinfo. “Then they said they wanted mixed drinks, and when people tell you want they want, you have to listen.” (more…)

05/18/15 9:42am
Sixipoint's Signal, your new BBQ companion.

Sixipoint’s Signal, your new BBQ companion. Photo: Sixpoint

Before the recent craft beer boom, the only Brooklyn-made beer most of us had tasted was from the good folks at Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Brewery. Then for a while there we had Sixpoint and Kelso mixing it up a bit, and today there seems to be a new Brooklyn brewery popping up every month. Now that Brooklynites are turning out some of the most inventive beers in the country, we singled out five Brooklyn-made beers you should get to know, and the bars currently pouring them. Tap lists do change frequently, so these beers will not always be available at the stated locations. But with warm weather drinking season already upon us, there is plenty of time to discover them in your bar crawls. (more…)

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05/11/15 8:56am

Growing up in Sunset Park, one of Helena Fabiankovic’s favorite treats was her Slovakian grandmother Julia’s rich, potato-filled pierogies. She was so fond of her “baba’s” dough-bombs that “as kids my sister and I would joke about selling them out of a cart,” says Fabiankovic. That didn’t quite happen, but this Brooklyn native has gotten ahold of her Baba’s pierogi recipe and finally found a way to bring them to the masses. Fabiankovic and her boyfriend, Robert Gardiner, also a Sunset Park native, first launched a pierogi-delivery service out of their Brooklyn home, selling the Eastern European dumplings to their local Sunset Park bar, to friends, and to colleagues at the preschool where she worked at the time. As the business took off, the couple began looking for a brick-and-mortar space, and they just opened their tiny, 10-seat Baba’s Pierogies in Gowanus two weeks ago. (more…)

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05/08/15 9:00am
Marc Glosserman, founder and CEO of Hill Country Barbecue, has mastered the art of feeding a family.

Marc Glosserman, founder and CEO of Hill Country Barbecue, has mastered the art of feeding a family. Photo: Jennifer Hughes

A restaurant that doesn’t just tolerate noisy children, but actually encourages kids to be kids, is practically nonexistent in Brooklyn. Marc Glosserman, the founder and CEO of Hill Country Barbecue, has four children in the city, so he (along with his wife, Kristen) know all about the challenges of restaurant eating. Rather than retreating home for every meal, he came up with a delectable solution: a restaurant that actually entertains the entire family. Hill Country Brooklyn, located in downtown BK, serves incredibly kid-friendly food (mac and cheese, sausages, cupcakes), and the enormous top floor hosts weekly Fam Jams (every Sunday from 12pm-4pm) that include a bluegrass band, a padded area for blocks and games, face painting and other activities to keep children engaged while the adults actually get a chance to talk and eat. Additionally, every Monday in May and June from 10:30am-11:30am, Audra Rox will be on hand hosting a drop-in Music for Aardvark class ($20). This fun attitude towards food is also reflected at home with his kids, where barbecue is typical and a sweet tooth is always indulged. (more…)

05/06/15 9:36am
The Bamboo Sazerac. Photo: Nicholas Rinaldi

The Bamboo Sazerac. Photo: Nicholas Rinaldi

Loosie Rouge feels in peril of becoming the next Williamsburg bar we will all love to hate, but for now, we’re in love. The New Orleans-themed bar has taken over the Fatty ‘Cue space with a distinctly speakeasy vibe and what feel like aspirations to become something of a social club. Williamsburg’s beautiful people congregated there on a recent warm Saturday evening, and the atmosphere felt so much like a gathering of friends that I initially thought we had walked into a private party. The four co-owners–Damien del Rio, Vincent Marino, Max Peskowitx and Garry Knopov–have cultivated an atmosphere of easy hospitality, with the all-male service staff taking turns working the room to chat with guests.

Draft cocktails, all spins on classics, are the centerpiece of Loosie Rouge’s bar program. The Loosie’s Cup ($12), a mature update on the Pimm’s Cup, gets its earthy flavor from rhubarb syrup and celery bitters. The Bamboo Sazerac ($12) is also recommended, as is the standard poured sazerac, which arrived perfectly chilled despite the absence of an ice cube. The prosecco topper of the draft Francese 78 ($12) is just a shade too heavy, slightly overpowering inventive components like homemade peach shrub and verjus, an un-aged white wine. Speaking of wine, the list is small but carefully curated and exclusively European; all wines are offered by both the bottle and the glass. The draft beer offerings include Abita Wrought Iron and Allegash White, and you can get a Narragansett IPA for a bender-friendly five dollars. While Loosie Rouge is more bar than restaurant, substantial snacks like a shrimp po’ boy and blackened catfish lettuce wraps let you soak up your bourbon in Bourbon Street style. Even if you’re not terribly hungry, order a plate of deviled eggs–the best I’ve ever tasted. (more…)

05/04/15 10:57am
Landhaus, and their delicous slab bacon on a stick, is one of 100 participating vendors at The Great Bacon Picnic May 16 & 17. Photo: Oleander + Palm Landhaus, purveyors of porky goodness like slab bacon on a stick, is among the 100 participating vendors at The Great Big Bacon Picnic May 16-17. Photo: Landhaus

Landhaus, purveyors of porky goodness like slab bacon on a stick, is among the 100 participating vendors at The Great Big Bacon Picnic May 16-17. Photo: Landhaus

On May 16 and 17 the first annual indoor/outdoor Great Big Bacon Picnic launches in Williamsburg with live music, booze and bacon-filled dishes. This isn’t one of those “taste what my friend can make with bacon” events–Hill Country, Prime, Ovenly, Nick and Toni’s, Spitzer’s, Mile End, and Landhaus are just a few of the 100 participating restaurants and chefs. We spoke to producer Craig Taylor about his well-curated, rocking party whose guest of honor is more than adequately honored.

How is this one different from all the other major bacon festivals?

We are committed to a 35-to-1 bacon [dish] to human ratio, and will not sell a single ticket beyond that. Also we’re going to have a Bacon Bar. That’s right, a bar that serves unlimited bacon lined up for you to sample, as many times as you want. Plus we have an incredible menu of craft beers, ciders and spirits from mostly local companies including Bakon Vodka, Van Brunt Stillhouse, Original Sin Cider, New York Distilling Co., Kings County Distillery among others. (more…)

05/04/15 9:00am

Sometime in the last decade, the day celebrating the Battle of Puebla became a major event on the American calendar, morphing from an obscure Mexican holiday into a beer commercial-fueled, Latin take on St. Patrick’s Day. The celebrations of Mexican-American heritage around these parts are usually about as subtle as a keg of green beer, and if you’re over the age of 22 you probably don’t want to go to a bar in Manhattan tomorrow night. But Brooklyn has seen a bevy of authentic new Mexican spots open in the past couple of years, so perhaps Cinco de Mayo can also serve as an ideal time to check a few of these places out. Here’s your guide to the newest and more noteworthy Brooklyn Mexican restaurants on our radar, so you can celebrate with an epic taco crawl this Tuesday. (And fine, maybe a frozen margarita or ten.) For more inspiration, consider these special dinners and parties planned for tomorrow; our taco guide for every taste bud; and our favorite Prospect Heights Mexican restaurant. (more…)

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04/27/15 9:26am

Once upon a time, chicken sandwiches were the boring afterthought on any lunch menu–a dry, breast-meat option for those rare times you decided to be healthy and skip the burger–maybe even subbing in salad for a side of fries. Well, not so much anymore. Today’s chicken sandwiches, whether buttermilk fried, Korean-style, or doused in hot sauce, are often the most popular item going, and there are so many excellent options that it was quite a difficult task indeed to narrow this list down to our top favorites in the borough. The Brooklyn Based tasting team took on that onerous task though, and we can now present Brooklyn’s 10 best chicken sandwiches. Just don’t eat them all in one week. Or really all in one year. Your heart doctor will thank you. (more…)

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04/20/15 9:29am

Crown Heights’ latest “artisanal” food spot isn’t along the ultra-hip environs of Franklin Avenue, but all the way over on Kingston Ave., a stretch of the neighborhood that is largely home to Orthodox Jewish residents. I love walking through this slice of the borough to check out all the old-world Kosher bakeries and butcher shops, but was surprised to find a very New Brooklyn-y spot open its doors here recently. Boeuf & Bun is decidedly on-trend: exposed brick, Edison bulbs, open kitchen, mason jars, etc, etc…Just don’t expect any pork belly entrees. Or a cheeseburger for that matter, as this beef-centric spot is also a Kosher kitchen. But pig or no pig, there are plenty of heart-stopping reasons to check out Bouef & Bun–and by heart-stopping, I mean over-the-top, artery-clogging, deliciously ultra-fried, perhaps quite literally heart-stopping.

Truffle salt with a side of fries.

Truffle salt with a side of fries. Photo: Boeuf & Bun

(more…)

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