The neighborhood’s latest spot for swanky travelers to rest their head, The Williamsburg Hotel (96 Wythe Ave.), has partially opened over the past few weeks. Two of the eight floors of the hotel are currently open for booking, and the downstairs bar (with rainbow string art by the hottest guy in installations, HOTTEA) is open for drinks and pastries. We got to check out their tea service menu (available Friday through Sunday from 12-5pm), with baked goods by Bushwick’s Brooklyn Bread Lab.
You can enter the lobby bar by going down the concrete stairs in front of the hotel, or from the street level by heading down a spiral staircase once inside. The designers deserve kudos for the large windows at the front of the bar—there’s actually a lot of light that comes in despite it being subterranean. The vibe is cozy, with velvet banquettes, a soft wood floor, and vintage gold picture frames making a chevron pattern around the bar. The hotel was designed by Michaelis Boyd, who also designed the Soho House Berlin, which I’ve been inside and it makes sense; both The Williamsburg Hotel and Soho House Berlin are filled with teal tones, wood, and exude an upscale yet warm, rustic feel. And this jives with the character of the neighborhood, if Williamsburg’s identity can even be defined by anything these days.
The tea tasting menu, by Chef Adam Leonti, featured sweet potato doughnuts, canelé, rye chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, carrot-bran streusel muffins, panettone pineapple bread pudding, carrot cake, pecan coffee cake, white chocolate and sage scones, cherry brioche, and cucumber, brie and pesto sandwiches. This menu is not for the gluten averse. But for those who want to indulge and don’t mind sharing sweets, the selection of treats was nothing short of delightful. The rye chocolate chip cookie was excellent, and may actually give Ovenly (31 Greenpoint Ave.) a run for its money. The peanut butter cookie was divine, and balanced with a crumbly salty sweetness that almost melted in your mouth. The sweet potato doughnuts were mini donut holes, and perfectly bite-sized nuggets of joy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they become an expected staple here, similar to how Dumont (formerly on Union Ave., now closed) used to automatically bring out a little plate of donut holes to every boozy-eyed brunch goer. The teas we sampled were elegant, international—from Korea, Japan and India—and well-selected. The fresh and fragrant pear infusion from Hadong, Korea was subtle, yet a standout.
With matcha being all the rage right now, we were served a very apropos grassy green matchamosa—matcha mixed with champagne. Taste-wise, it wasn’t my favorite type of -mosa bev (please serve me a grapefruit mimosa at every brunch ever), or even my favorite matcha drink (Coconut Matcha Latte ftw), but I give them a gold star for being totally on trend. And knowing myself, I’ll probably order one when I go back.
The rest of the hotel’s yet-to-be-unveiled offerings, including the restaurant Harvey, what we’re told is an incredible rooftop pool and water tower bar plus the neighborhood’s first grand ballroom, will be rolling out over the next few months. Where The William Vale often hits the luxury notes too high, The Williamsburg Hotel seems be on pace with the neighborhood’s laid back and artsy sensibility, and with service that’s on point.
The Williamsburg Hotel | 96 Wythe Ave.
The Lobby Bar serves breakfast until 11am, which consists of pastries made from freshly milled flour by Chef Adam Leonti, coffee and more. Later in the evening cocktails are served, and the bar remains open till 1am. The afternoon tea service is available Friday through Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.