1 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: Cash Only
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5pm – 3am; Sat. & Sun. 10am-3am
Subway: L to Bedford Ave., G to Greenpoint Ave.
Food/Menu: Small Bites
Booze: Full bar
Happy Hour: No
This easy-going watering hole is from the folks behind equally laid back Brooklyn joint Five Leaves. This one lets the air flow in with some large doors and windows that open up onto the street—making the space even more welcoming to passerbys who are down for a quick nip. In addition to a booze selection that’s heavy on the rum (there’s also wine and Jamaican beer for those who don’t want to hit the hard stuff) there are small plates that are inspired by the islands—think waffles slathered with spiced rum butter. Like Five Leaves, the interior has that run down and ramshackle look that would only be possible with a team of interior designers—there’s just the right level of chic scratched into the worn looking floors.
The New York Times says:
Five Leaves, the Brooklyn cafe and bar known for its ties to the late actor Heath Ledger (he discovered the space while skateboarding), is about to expand its laid-back Aussie vibe with its new spot, Nights and Weekends, located around the corner on Bedford Avenue. “I’m sort of spellbound by how the restaurant comes alive and becomes part of the street,” says Jud Mongell, one of several owners of the popular watering hole. On any given sunny day, hungry patrons pack the pavement in front of the cafe, which is across the street from McCarren Park.
“It’s the Times Square of Williamsburg,” says Mongell, who, together with his wife, Kathy Mecham, are doing their share to uphold the analogy. “It’s as close as we could get to an entirely outdoor restaurant,” he says of the new 750-square-foot space, which has three large galvanized metal doors and two fold-up windows that open onto the sidewalk. “It’s almost like a permanent Caribbean taco truck.” Five Leaves’s chef and co-owner, Ken Addington, created a menu inspired by Cuba and the West Indies. There will be small seasonal plates like ceviche and for brunch, banana waffles with spiced rum butter.
Mongell is obsessed with the demon rum. “That’s all I really wanted to serve, ” he says, though there will also be drinks like frozen pisco sours, Red Stripe beer, Malbec wines from Argentina and Chilean Carmeneres. “We were careful not to skew too tiki,” says Dan Sabo, one of the bartenders. “This isn’t a Hawaiian shirt sort of list. Instead, it’s cocktails for pirates and desperadoes.”
The interior of Nights and Weekends will be a departure from the ubiquitous speakeasy. Mongell’s good friend and motorcycle comrade Ray Abeyta lent his artwork, and Tall Cotton Supply sourced salvaged wood floors and purple glass from a turn of the century Virginia hardware store. “We’re obsessed with choppers — all that stuff,” Mongell says. “It’s more like a garage in South America.”