When 12 year neighborhood staple The Mark Bar shuttered and signs of construction began, many were sad. But really, there’s no reason to be sad. The former owners of The Mark Bar (also of The Lobster Joint), Bob Levitt and Tommy Chabrowski, are now the owners of a great new restaurant, Whiskey Burger.
Levitt and Chabowski knew they needed to give The Mark Bar an upgrade. After much thinking, they decided to pursue a 12 year dream of opening a whiskey & burger restaurant. The menu is focused on different types of burgers, fries, sides, and salads. Good whiskeys, beer, wine, and an interesting selection of cocktails are on the menu for drinks.
The whiskey selection is separated into sections by the type of grain – barley, corn, rye, wheat, millet, quinoa, and triticale. The whiskey list is quite diverse with 80 whiskeys. The whiskeys are primarily American, though there are a few other countries, including Ireland and Scotland. The origin for each whiskey is listed, which is how I learned that bourbons don’t need to actually be made in Bourbon County. (Thanks, Whiskey Burger, for educating me on the rules of what makes bourbon a bourbon.)
There’s also a small cocktail list, made with ingredients like fresh-squeezed juices or made-in-house basil syrup. The fresh juice cocktails ($9) all sounded interesting, and we chose to try the Salty Dog, which had Dorothy Parker Gin, Salt Rim, and Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice. It was probably the best grapefruit-based cocktail I’ve ever had. Then there’s a section of four classic whiskey cocktails ($12). We tried The Brooklyn, which had Old Overholt Rye, Dry Vermouth, Angostura, Maraschino Liquor, and Bourbon Cherries.
There’s also a decent selection of beer and wine, and a smaller selection of spirits. Whenever possible, the owners choose spirits, wines, and beers from New York State.
And of course, there are also burgers! Lots of them! Diners can choose from a beef blend, Hampshire pork, quinoa mushroom, or grilled chicken. The patties aren’t super thick, so some might opt to add a patty ($5). We tried the Whiskey Burger ($11), which had a beef blend patty, cheddar, bacon, frizzled shallots, BBQ pickles, and their special whiskey sauce. We also tried the quinoa mushroom patty, definitely one of the better veggie burgers I’ve had, in a build-your-own-burger ($10 with blue cheese, avocado, lettuce, and tomato). Other options include a Chili Burger ($11; with a beef patty, chili, cheddar, and frizzled shallots), Tuscan Chicken ($10; grilled chicken breast with goat cheese, pesto, and roasted tomato), and an Ice-Burger ($13; beef burger served in a split head of baby iceberg instead of a bun, with tomato, cucumbers, onion, and Ranch dressing).
We also opted for a House Green Salad ($8; greens, cucumber, frizzled shallots), and cheese fries ($6). Other sides include regular fries ($4), beef chili ($8), nachos ($12), and beef sliders ($5). There’s also a small dessert menu, and a kid’s menu.
Happy Hour (Mon-Fri, 4-7pm) features $4 sliders, $8 wings and nachos, $1 off all wine by the glass, and draft and canned beer, and $2 off all house liquor.
Right now, they’re just open for dinner, but plan to expand to brunch and lunch service soon. Stop by, get a whiskey, drown your fries in the special whiskey sauce, and order whatever kind of burger you want. Not hungry? Still stop by. It’s much brighter than The Mark Bar, and it’s comfortable with big white booths to sit in. There’s a nice mellow vibe to relax after work while slowly sipping a whiskey during happy hour, or later on in the night as well.
Whiskey Burger is at 1025 Manhattan Avenue. They’re open Tuesday-Sunday, 4pm-midnight.