El Pingüino (25 Greenpoint Avenue) has only been open a short time, but already has generated plenty of buzz, with write-ups in the New York Times, Thrillist, and being named one of the city’s best new bars by the Infatuation.
The new Spanish bar and restaurant, from the team who brought you Alameda and Troost, focuses on seafood. Specifically (Pacific-ally? Bad joke!), El Pingüino highlights conservas, tinned fish that is a staple of Iberian cuisine. If you’re not in the know, apparently all the hot girls are eating tinned fish now. El Pingüino offers conservas in the form of mussels, octopus, sardines, and squid, simply served with saltines and aioli.
There’s little on the menu that isn’t seafood, so if that’s not your jam, El Pingüino likely won’t be the spot for you. Aside from the conservas, El Pingüino offers Spanish classics like boquerones, which are zingy vinegar brined anchovies, and a sheep’s milk cheese plate. If you’re truly feeling decadent, go for the seafood plateau, a combination of oysters, prawns, and ceviche with all the fixings.
True to their Spanish influence, the drink menu features fortified wines like manzanilla sherry, and there’s also plenty of amaro options as well. Cocktails are all $15 and are mostly classic options like martinis and manhattans, though they present the rare opportunity for a non-brunch Bloody Mary. Their daily happy hour special runs from 4-7, with half off oysters, glasses of sherry, and a $12 martini.
The space itself is narrow and the lighting is cozy. Nestled next to 21 Greenpoint and Grand Republic Cocktail Club, El Pingüino is a great option for a casual, light dinner when you just want a few snacks to go with your drinks.