The William Vale hotel is one of the most obvious additions to Williamsburg’s skyline and the beautiful Westlight sits at its very top. Luckily for us, they scored James Beard-winning chef Andrew Carmellini to create outstanding menus throughout The William Vale, not just at the street-level Leuca, his first Brooklyn restaurant. Chef Carmellini is no stranger to the transformation Williamsburg has undergone and is proud of his contribution. “When I used to come down here in the 90’s with my guitar, I’d get off the train and there was nothing here. There was the Turkey’s Nest and that was it and there was never anyone here,” says Carmellini. Westlight has helped draw a crowd to the area and is now entering its second year. Continue reading
The triangular East Williamsburg restaurant sits along the BQE (not so picturesque) but once through the wide wood doors of Llama Inn (50 Withers St), the wrap around windows, hanging garden and welcoming bar will make the location escape you. Just named one of the Top New York restaurants of 2016 by The New York Times and honored with Michelin Bib Gourmand status, this just year-old restaurant is making its mark beyond Brooklyn and putting this overlooked corner on the map. Continue reading
Curb Your Litter is tackling Greenpoint’s abysmal person-to-garbage-can ratio with a new interactive map that lets you recommend locations for trash bins. As a matter of fact, “person-to-garbage-can ratio” is also pretty good shorthand for life in New York City.
Protect your package, people. Greenpointers posted this video on our Facebook page earlier this week, but in case you missed it, here’s something that might make you think twice about buzzing in a stranger.
Jack and Joshua Guttman just filed an application to build a new hotel on West Street at the abandoned Greenpoint Terminal Market complex. Perhaps the proposed rooftop bar will be distress-signal-distance from the Wythe Hotel’s.
Another five-story rental going up on West and India hopes to offer a more “approachable, neighborhood feel” counterpart to the big towers going up around it.
Is it the dawn of a new era for the G? Old Faithful made it to this short list of “best trains to live near” in NYC, but I’m not sure how much that actually means coming from a source who says the L is “reliable” and that the Q moves “with astonishing speed.”
Fancy bars and restaurants with all sorts of sexy food and drink (Tørst, Beloved, Nights and Weekends) are all over Greenpoint these days, but let’s face it – sometimes you just want get hammered on a budget, pay homage to the neighborhood’s longtime establishments, or just check out something different and new (or old). Greenpoint definitely has no shortage of dive bars, but where to begin?
This weekend I hung out in some of these dives (a.k.a. “old man” bars) in the neighborhood and got to know them and their clientele a little better. I scoped out the drink specials, watched Jeopardy with the regulars, and relaxed in some sweet backyards. And now I present to you, along with my little rating system, some of the neighborhood’s best kept secrets:
Irene’s Pub (623 Manhattan Ave)
Despite being so centrally located, Irene’s is somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps most Greenpointers are unfamiliar with the bar’s philosophy:”it’s happy hour all the time,” which I verified as TRUTH. Irene’s prices are actually equivalent to happy hour deals, all the time – we’re talking $2 drafts and dirt-cheap mixed drinks. I repeat: all day and night long. Continue reading
Its official: Judging by a weekend of gleaming porcelain limbs sunning themselves in McCarren Park, our long-lost love Springtime has finally returned! Which means it’s now time to start thinking about where we can make the most of these warmer days and nights.
It may be hard to remember those sweet hot nights of summer but, when they finally roll round, al fresco drinking spots will be high in demand. The small rooftop at Night of Joy is usually my favorite, but the view of the BQE often leaves something to be desired. Berry Park’s roof has a better view and a far larger capacity, but now the team behind the popular drinking mecca is in danger of stealing their own thunder.
Last week the owners of Berry Park opened up Northern Territory (12 Franklin St) a great new bar and restaurant with a huge rooftop over-looking the East River. They are still adding the finishing touches upstairs but assure us the rooftop will be open at the beginning of April, just in time for the appearance of some warmer weather. Continue reading
Swanky and chic are words that aren’t in my vocabulary. It’s probably why I moved to Greenpoint. On November 1st, the Hotel Williamsburg (not to be confused with the Greenpoint Hotel) opened up on No. 12th near the McCarren Park tennis courts. I wondered if it was an actual hotel or more condos. We joked on a dog walk that we should dress up in our fancies and have a cocktail in the beautiful downstairs bar we saw by pressing our faces up against the window.
What do you know? They invited me over for a cocktail and a tour of the hotel. I parked my little red bike right out front (no valet needed) and entered the lobby check-in bar which leads to one of the hotel’s main attractions in the courtyard: a heated salt water swimming pool. Jamie, sales coordinator and tour guide (and total sweetheart) insisted the light up cubes in the yard be turned on. Hotel patrons along owners of the “Residences,” the condos affiliated with the hotel, share the pool and other hotel facilities. A few “day passes” will also be available to outside guests and a taco truck will set-up in the warm weather.
I had a whole list of questions: how will the hotel serve the community? Who is your target demographic? How does it retain the character of the neighborhood? But I have to admit, I was speechless when Jamie took me up to the 8th Fl rooftop bar named The Watering Tower, with amazing city views. The bar will be open to the public by Spring if you want to get your swank on and for all you arty hipsters, they will have cans of PBR. I laughed out loud to that.
The hotel rooms looked like demo rooms for the new condos in the neighborhood, with a warmer feel and plushy beds. Each room comes with a vintage Crosley record player and a mini-bar stocked with goodies from local favorites like Ovenly baked goods and Brooklyn Brewery. Supporting local producers is a good thing.
And who stays at the Hotel Williamsburg? It’s not the “hip” young folk but their parents who don’t want to sleep on the pull-outs. Jamie also explained that local businesses like Greenpoint Pictures, VICE, Tandem and Pop-Gun, fill the rooms with film and music industry people. Jaimie said that the hotel identifies with the “fashion forward music scene” and will sponsor the upcoming Northside Festival.
Then it was cocktail time! Oh wait, how will the hotel serve the community? The most obvious way is by sending lodgers to local businesses, like 5 Leaves, The Manhattan Inn, Lobster Shack and Nights & Weekends to name a few in Greenpoint. Jamie keeps a few favorites, like No Name Bar, to himself. I have to admit, I had to ask this as a follow-up question via email because the cocktails and the great company made me lose track of the interview. Jamie wrote back: “As Brooklyn’s first full-service urban retreat, we plan on boosting tourism to Williamsburg, Greenpoint … It is our goal to highlight the beauty and authenticity of the neighborhood, along with the artisans and creatives who have shaped it into what it is today.”
Now it’s cocktail time? Yes! Maddie, the friendly bartender served me an outstanding classic Sazerac, and for Jamie a signature “White Sparrow,” made with Champagne, Lemon, Spiced Rum & Velvet Falernum. I normally stay away from champagne cocktails but this was perfect, spicy but light. (Mixology video to follow.) Maddie told me her favorite spots in Greenpoint are St. Vitus and Calyer. And she is going to come as a special guest judge when we do the Greenpointers Cocktail Tour!
While sitting at the bar, which could easily be in Manhattan by the looks of it, and chatting with Jamie and Maddy, I forgot why I was there. What makes the Hotel Williamsburg a Brooklyn hotel (on the border of Greenpoint in the 11249 area code) isn’t the swanky fanciness, but the down to earth people who run the place, who treat you like you’re a guest in their neighborhood, which they are proud of, an experience that might be hard to find in Manhattan.
And that fancy bar we were peeking into is a restaurant called Pillar & Plough, where I look forward to dining and reviewing, so stay tuned.