264 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: All Major
Hours: Daily, 2pm-4am
Subway: L to Bedford Ave or Lorimer St., J,M,Z to Marcy Ave.
Food/Menu: No food available
Booze: Full bar
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 2pm-8pm; $4 wells; $1 off everything
NY Mag says:
At his day job as a sculptor, owner John Clement renders sinuous shapes in rough industrial materials, but the design touches in his railroad barroom are non-ostentatious: Just a few antlers and antique beer cans adorn the slate-grey walls. A possibly overly generous happy hour special encourages drinkers to be serious about their craft, which they practice at the sidewalk seats during the summer, at the people-watching-perfect window perches, or at the bar where unharried attendants custom cater drinks such as a peanut-butter and jelly shot (Stoli raspberry and Frangelico) and dole out beers from the esoteric and often-changing varieties on tap. Bargain-hunters choose sides between two long-running specials: The Patriot is a PBR can and a shot of Jim Beam while the Federale pairs Tecate with a Sauza shot.
Williamsburg has long been approaching its nightlife saturation point, but among its old pubs, sexy lounges and factory performance spaces, one type of bar was always missing: the handsome cocktail joint. Compact little Clem’s fills the niche and looks spruce with a copper-painted, pressed-tin ceiling, polished bar and corner picture windows. The room has yet to pull in a large following, but even a scattering of couples brings it alive. Cocktail standards (including a “Southside” Car) mix with house novelties such as the Yellow Boxer–smooth tequila brightened with Galliano, Rose’s lime juice, sugar and soda–and the Straight Story, which softens rye whiskey with sweet vermouth and bitters. The selection of eight beers on tap also offers surprises: the hearty Blue Point from Long Island and the subtle, lemon-wedged Weihenstephan (est. 1040 A.D.). The solid rock-and-roll bartender will let you sample a brew and gallantly tear open your bag of Utz Party Mix before serving.