New ‘WoHo’ bar and good eats crosses the bridge sans hitches.
Full disclosure: We don’t “do” Brooklyn. It’s not that we don’t want to go there-there’s just so little time in a day (and we hate the “L” train and tricked-up vintage bicycles with a passion). And so we are happy as clams casino that a new bar, The Brookylneer, opened a few weeks ago in our neighborhood of WoHo (where the West Village and SoHo are divided by Sixth Avenue and Houston Street). With our bar crawl extending about three blocks (the red-hot go-to Mekong and old standby Raoul’s), we needed the Brooklyneer to shake things up. Across the street from Film Forum, in a sign-free space that’s been empty for god knows how long, this shotgun sort of “gastropub”-featuring good rock music and the right amount of dim-is going to be a sleeper hit (we know these things). With no traces of Williamsburg coolies, but a lot of unpretentious locals, the Brooklyneer excels in giving love to their drinks and standout bar food, and boasts to our line of tastes the best-looking and nicest bartenders in the city. There’s the owner Billy, New Orleans ex-pat Steve, and double-shot of natural-looking brunettes Erika and Carmen-all of whom know how to make a cocktail from scratch or pour one of its many Brooklyn drafts with aplomb and character. We loved the short-glass margaritas and the Blood Mary’s with pickled peppers, made with Clamato. And we were particularly surprised at how good the food was: a perfect, cheesy meatball sandwich, deviled eggs, a whitefish dip served with homemade bread slices….We’ll be back for the Brooklyn-made, chopped kielbasa-on-rye and Italian sausage sandwiches. The spare décor consists of a wood-plank ceiling, basement-like raw floors and a perfect elbow-height wide bar made from remnants of the Coney Island boardwalk. But we could care less. It’s got a happy, good vibe to it, and the prices are modest. Eat at the bar, and not the long tables, which don’t feel as warm for chowing down and aren’t well lit (we like to stare our food in the eyes). And it will put you closer to the eye candy behind the bar anyway. A new port of call is all that matters, and it’s a great one (open on busy nights until 4 a.m.) 220 W. Houston St., between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street, (646) 692-4911
(Title image) Carmen the bartender, having a jolly moment, at the Brooklyneer.