New Yorkers enjoy a little surprise. It’s part of why we live here: we expect excitement around every corner, which is literally what the tasteful Bar Beau offers at 61 Withers Street, right on the Greenpoint/Williamsburg border.
It takes a moment to fully enter Bar Beau — the handful of blue outdoor chairs presents the easygoingness of a coffee shop, then the foyer has all the greenery of a plant shop, but follow the letter board signs that tell you to keep inching forward. Around the curved, serpentine bend, a clearing finally appears, opening to an expansive restaurant the staff aptly compares to a cozy cave.
The word cave might feel dingy, but the immaculate Bar Beau is anything but. This cave is a chill oasis in the summer and a den for gathering in the winter. And with a Sunday Funday menu that rotates every month, Bar Beau truly is a restaurant for all seasons.
Guests can choose their own adventure. You can saddle up at the bar and sip on wines (on Wednesdays, bottles are half off) or a craft cocktail (the Hollaback Girl playfully and deliciously combines cognac, malt, ginger, and banana while the Firefly is an electric-red gin bev with hibiscus and a gentle fizz), or you can take a seat at a table or lounge in a banquette for a full meal.
Owner Claire Chan and chef Gemma Kamin-Korn preside over a small but potent menu where pan-Asian ingredients are a motif. For bar bites, the scallop corn fritters or deviled eggs with yuzu koshu are both triumphant, as are the mains, where options range from a chili crisp summer squash to a sungold udon coated in tomato herb butter. The crudo style salmon ($31, a dollar shy of the most expensive item on the menu) is a highlight; the seared skin is as thin and strong as church glass.
The work of Greenpoint design studio Isaac-Rae further elevates the female-run cocktail bar and restaurant. Bar Beau is design-forward where curves are an aesthetic theme; there’s the sloping path that leads from the entrance, the bending bar that hooks at an end, the rounded bar stools and chair backs that tuck in the guests. It all feels like a chic embrace, a warm hug you happily accept even on the muggiest of summer evenings.
Bar Beau is open from Wednesday through Sunday — hours are varied, so be sure to check the website here.