Esme – now open in Greenpoint

Esme, credit: Greenpointers

Esme, credit: Greenpointers
999 Manhattan Avenue

We miss the margaritas and chips at Papacitos which shuttered last year. Thankfully, a new bistro called Esme is now open:

Following months of renovations, Esme opened softly last Tuesday on the former site of Papacitos (999 Manhattan Avenue). The venue has been totally transformed and now offers a bright sunny welcome by day and a cozy low-lit intimacy by night. Long wooden pews accompany individual tables along one side of the restaurant, whilst tables on a raised platform at the front of the space look out onto Manhattan Avenue through two huge picture windows.

The mouth-watering modern American menu is devised by executive chef Paul Myers, whose impressive career includes time under Wylie Dufresne at wd~50 and a James Beard nomination for his Montana restaurant 515. In creating the dishes, Myers collaborated with Adam Volk of Williamsburg’s Gwynnett Street (now Lachlan), who will run the kitchen on a daily basis.

Here’s the menu, via Bedford and Bowery: [Read more...]

White Castle, Lokal and Sel De Mer close, Maison Premiere to expand


It’s not much of a shock — it’s been listed on Trulia for months — but Graham Avenue’s popular fish shack Sel De Mer closed last week. It will be missed.

Just around the corner another “restaurant,” White Castle closed too. We’d be happy to see it go if it weren’t being replaced by more bullshit condos.

The terribly mediocre Lokal shut down too. In it’s place, Greenpointers will soon have an Maison Premier outpost, which is NOT a bad trade-off:

The many, many fans of Maison Premiere’s oysters and absinthe will be excited to learn that owners Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka are opening a new restaurant in 2015, at 905 Lorimer Street in Williamsburg. Details are scarce, but considering the success of their first project, this is a big deal. [Read more...]

Interview: Justin Currie

Justin Currie City Winery

Justin Currie‘s current US tour just took in his first ever Brooklyn show, at Rough Trade in Williamsburg (20th of September), and also included a stop at City Winery (23rd of September). As singer/songwriter in Del Amitri and now into his third album as a solo artist, Currie has ran the gauntlet in a 30-year career.

A slight mix-up means we end up talking before the show at City Winery on Varick Street instead of Rough Trade, it’s my first time to the venue and while I tend to prefer beer stained walls and sticky floors to refined wooden decor and expensive wine, it’s readily apparent that the venue treats the artists well.

Del Amitri’s self-titled debut album, released in 1985, is begging to be rediscovered by a new generation hungry for arty indie-pop (think Orange Juice meets The Smiths meets Television. I know, I hate lazy reference points too, but it’s as good as all those band’s best moments). If that pricks your interest, at the bottom of this post you can listen to the band’s John Peel session from 1985.

After the debut, Del Amitri’s sound moved in a more traditional direction and they scored a string of top-40 hits in the UK over the course of 5 albums (1989-2002) including Nothing Ever Happens, Always the Last to Know and Tell Her This. In the US, Justin is mostly known for Del Amitri’s top-ten radio hit, Roll To Me; it’s one of those time-old examples of “this song is not really representative of the band’s output”. Regardless, let’s not downplay the beauty of a good pop song, however throwaway it may be. There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Justin Currie’s ability to write moving lyrics for the lonely, heartbroken, misanthropic and disenfranchised; sprinkled with just enough hope for us all to carry on.

[Read more...]

That random unoccupied building on Bedford and Grand will be a beer hall soon

bedfordgrandYou know the one, THAT building on the corner that used to have the giant illuminati eye painted on it a few years ago. That building always kinda represented the boundary between North and the slightly grittier South Williamsburg to me, and not just because the street names literally change from “North” to “South” at that point, but in the overall vibe of the geographic areas.

The ground floor has inexplicably been unoccupied for as long as I can recall; sort of a marker the less densely gentrified streets that lie ahead. Directly South of it is Maison Premiere, of course, which has nothing gritty about it (and duh, there’s nothing gritty south of there now anyway), but the Northern part of that point is “Williamsburg Williamsburg,” you know, where you tell your friends who aren’t from the area to meet you because it’s not too far from the Bedford L.

Welp, it looks like that’s about to change; the staunch geographic marker soon to be occupied by what sounds like a pretty incredible beer hall. Gothamist has the scoop (and it’s totally worth reading their entire post, which has a pretty detailed history of the building):

These burning questions and more are now being answered, because Ivan Kohut, the owner of Radegast Hall, is turning the place into a Flemish beer hall and restaurant.

John McCormick, a restaurateur and interior designer who owns St. Mazie in Williamsburg and Moto in Bushwick, is currently overseeing a gut renovation of the ground floor space, which was originally a bank operated by one Ladislaw W. Schwenk. The bank was shut down by the state of New York in 1914 after it was discovered that Schwenk accepted $500,000 in deposits from some 2,500 customers for months after he learned his firm was insolvent.

WARNING: There is going to be a clown funeral parading through Williamsburg this weekend

clownsIf you are afraid of clowns STAY OFF THE STREETS this Sunday evening. To mourn the end of this year’s NY Clown Theater Festival a group of clowns will march in a funeral procession starting on Bedford and North 7th at [Read more...]

Midnight Movies 9/26-9/28 Include Escape from New York and You’re Next

The fall horror-binge has begun, and as usual Nitehawk has you covered with some great options. This weekend’s midnight movie is You’re Next, beginning their wonderful “Final Girl” film series.  You’re Next falls pretty squarely in the “fun horror” category, along with Scream and Cabin in the Woods, playing to horror tropes without sacrificing any of the actual creepiness.  The all-white animal masks the killers wear became instantly iconic, and the “Final Girl” in this one is anything but helpless. This one makes for a perfect midnight movie. If going at midnight just isn’t your thing, Nitehawk’s brunch movie is 1963’s classic horror movie The Haunting (so not the one with Owen Wilson), and they’re presenting it in 35 mm. [Read more...]

Top five shows of the weekend

charles-bradley-15062013-08-shv 5) Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Go ahead, call me an old man, but just remember, Robert Plant is a grade A angus-certified legend and if there is anywhere in New York that’s still a perfect fit for the former Zep frontman, it has to be BAM. Now get off my lawn before I call the police.

Saturday, doors at 8pm

[Read more...]

Crushed Out Plays Palisades Tomorrow


Looking for a slice of the past this weekend? The Bushwick husband/wife atomic rock duo Crushed Out brings their live show to Palisades tomorrow night. Their unique brand of rock utilizes reverb, pedal effects and surfer guitar to create a timeless sound that embraces both the hip and nostalgic.

[Read more...]