The food at Post Office, a whiskey bar in Williamsburg that makes a mean cocktail, is comfort-food simple but surprisingly good, and the bar's crowd is much more civilized than many of its neighbors.
'bar food' on Serious Eats
The fresh-pressed juice and smoothie cocktails at the recently opened Cocktail Bodega are meals in and of themselves, but its eclectic menu of international street eats is also worth a look. Designed by Roblé Ali of Bravo fame, the short menu is a whimsical melting pot of flavors from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Asia, all served up cafeteria-style in checkered paper and red baskets.
Barraca, a newcomer to the West Village and sister restaurant to taperías Rayuela and Mocando, boasts late-night Spanish tapas and sangria until 3 a.m. daily. Chef Jesús Nuñez, formerly of the modern Spanish restaurant Gastroarte, takes a traditional approach to the cuisine here, offering items popular on most tapas menus such as Patatas Bravioli, Croquetas, Pan con Tomate, and Gambas al Ajillo.
The Southeast Asian inflected food at East Village newcomer Ducks Eatery is adventurous and playful without being overwrought. I stopped in last week to see what a meal of their small plates would look like.
Opened just a few months ago in the heart of Fort Greene, Prospect already feels like it's been around for years, a familiar face in a neighborhood that's rapidly growing in the wake of the Barclay Center opening. The place has all the makings of the modern Brooklyn restaurant—reclaimed wood, local art, artisanal cocktails, plenty of locally sourced ingredients—but any presumption of pretentiousness is quickly wiped away with the warm greetings of a very friendly staff.
One of the hardest hit neighborhoods during Sandy, parts Red Hook have slowly been springing back to life, reopening restaurants and bars in bits and pieces. While places such as the iconic Sunny's Bar are still closed, others are open, albeit with limited services or menus. The beloved dive bar Brooklyn Ice House is one such place
Word got out quickly when Greenpoint favorite No Name Bar started "secretly" serving ramen noodles out of a tiny basement kitchen earlier this year. Now the still-nameless bar has swapped out its ramen menu for a Thai one created by a spunky woman named Nam, who also runs Am Thai Bistro in Flatbush.
With its huge barbecue platters, hefty burgers, and meal-sized appetizers, Waterfront Ale House unabashedly serves up the style of "go big or go home" classic American pub fare not suited for dainty eaters. Still, it's not the size of the plate, but the little touches that make good food great—and this longstanding bar has perfected just that.
Although I have enjoyed many of the dishes on Terroir East Village's menu, I find myself returning to their Duck Prosciutto Sandwich ($11) time and time again. It's duck breast cured with orange zest, coriander, and thyme to make a very ham-like piece of charcuterie.
I tend to explore restaurants that I've never been to in this column, or places I've only visited once or twice. It's not usually a forum for me to rave about my favorite after-work bar, partly because my favorite after-work bar doesn't usually serve great food. Not so with Toby's Public House.
One of the first cocktail dens on a stretch of Grand Street now flush with bars and gastropubs opening left and right, Huckleberry Bar has stood the test of time as a neighborhood favorite. Open since 2007, the bar has seen many incarnations of its drink and food menus, but the focus has always remained the same: seasonal libations and simple eats with a classic Americana flair.
While many bar kitchens start closing down after midnight, Macao keeps theirs going with a dedicated late night menu that runs until 3:30 a.m., ensuring Tribeca revelers the chance to fill their bellies with Eurasian-style fare before wandering home at sunrise.
Peruvian cooking, shaped over centuries by Spanish, Japanese and Chinese influences and native Andean roots, has a new haute home in Raymi, a cavernous restaurant and bar featuring modern interpretations of this multicultural cuisine.
With the distinction of being one of Manhattan's few brewpubs, the "gastro" part of 508 Gastrobrewery fittingly serves its brewery half with a menu of beer-friendly plates, including a selection of small plates perfect for bar dining.
The tiny Sake Bar Satsko, arguably the de facto sake-bombing scene of the East Village, serves up a pan-Asian menu with bar bites ranging from the typical spicy tuna rolls to gyoza to edamame. Dig a little deeper and you'll find some unusually great gems, dishes that serve the anecdote to one-too-many sake bombs.
Otherwise your prototypical speakeasy-style bar—weathered wood, marble bar, antique mirrors, suspenders—the warm summer evenings have made Hotel Delmano's coveted front patio one of the prime spots for the best people watching and cocktail imbibing in Williamsburg. The bar menu is simple: seafood from the raw bar, charcuterie, cheese and a few small plates.
For a bar that has no kitchen of its own—Madam Geneva shares one with its sister restaurant Saxon + Parole next door—this gin-focused cocktail den delivers a deliciously creative bar menu true to its vintage Singaporean style.
In an industrial corner of the far edge of Crown Heights, where the drinks are cheap and the food is fast, one wine bar has dared to go the opposite direction. Promising "slow wine, scratch food," Thirstbaravin stands as a French-style wine bar in a neighborhood mostly occupied by repair shops and auto-parts stores.
Prospect Heights bar Cornelius has made a name for itself with its famous $1 oyster happy hour, offered on weekdays until 8 PM and weekends until 6 PM. But given that sustenance can't be had on Blue Point oysters and wine specials alone, Cornelius has a number of other dishes to satisfy post-work cravings.
It's been nearly five years since pastry-trained chef Jehangir Mehta blurred the lines between sweet and savory with the opening of Graffiti, a closet-sized East Village food and wine bar serving up eclectic small-plate fare. The space is still as small as ever, but that hasn't stopped Mehta from serving up dishes with big, bold flavors.