79 Richardson St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: All major
Subway: G, L at Metropolitan Ave.-Lorimer St.
Booze: Full bar
Happy Hour: No, but they have free pizza!
Time Out New York says:
First there were brewpubs, then urban wineries, and now New York has its first cocktail bar–distillery hybrid: the Shanty. The 40-seat saloon looks onto the manufacturing floor of the newly operational New York Distilling Company through a large bay window. If the setup sounds vaguely familiar, it may be no surprise that Brooklyn Brewery cofounder Tom Potter is behind the project, along with cocktail expert Allen Katz. The pair plans to bring some hard-to-find spirits to the American market, like the once defunct Rock and Rye, a young rye whiskey flavored with rock candy. First out of the gate will be two gins: Perry’s Tot “Navy-strength” gin, named after the first commandant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Dorothy Parker American Gin, an 88-proof variety flavored with juniper, citrus, elderberries and hibiscus. You can sip them and works-in-progress liquors, like rye whiskey, at the white-oak-and-iron bar, as well as ciders, local beers and cocktails. Head bartender Nate Dumas will shake up classic and creative concoctions, like the Rye Cove (rye whiskey, Madeira, triple sec, lemon, Amargo Chuncho bitters) and the Opera Cocktail (Perry’s Tot, Dubonnet Rouge, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters). The laid-back joint is decorated with a 19th-century moonshining still and hanging wood-and-metal lights carved to resemble old whiskey bottles.
Brooklyn already has two gins with its name on it (one actually made there), but now it’s about to get two borough-brewed gins—and then some! Ladies and gentleman, the New York Distilling Company and its Williamsburg bar The Shanty is set to open for business later this month. And the hooch (with labels by Milton Glaser) and the bar and the distillery all sound pretty sweet.
The brainchild of Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Tom Potter, mixology master Allen Katz and master distiller Jason Grizzanti, the NYDC has been perfecting its gins (and eventually rye whiskeys) upstate for the past few years while they put the finishing touches on their bar/distillery in the ‘burg. But that’s almost done. Their baby should be ready for the public “on either side of Thanksgiving,” according to Katz.
When we caught up with Katz he told us that the team is “going nuts, having fun, not sleeping, but on the verge of being ready to both distill gin and whiskey and open our bar. Our still should be fully operational next week.” After a few years of due process they’re now just waiting for a Certificate of Occupancy to open The Shanty up.
Later this month the company will roll out its first two gins in the NYC metro area: a “nostalgic and historic” 114 proof “Navy strength” gin called Perry’s Tot and a “lighter style, but not necessarily light, fruit-forward” 88 proof gin called Dorothy Parker American Gin. Then next year they’ll debut Old Tom Gin and a little something called Rock & Rye, a “fanciful and historic style of whiskey that was made predominantly with a rather youthful rye, even rye that has aged for a few months in oak barrels—its our way of saying that ‘we’re going to be a whiskey company someday!’” Seriously though, the company is “really focusing the big picture on rye whiskey, American rye whiskey, derived 100 percent from New York state grains and other products. We’ve been working with farmers for a couple of years to grow those for us. But it won’t be ready until it is ready.” How long are we talking? Expect their first batches to appear in 2013.
As for the Shanty, which is located with the distillery at the corner of Richardson and Leonard Streets, it won’t just be pushing the company’s own hooch. According to Katz, “The Shanty is a full bar that is meant to celebrate a unique cocktail experience where you get to see how spirits are distilled. But it is not meant to hit you over the head—we’d love to have you try our products, sure, but we’ll have an extensive line of American whiskeys and spirits from all over the world. We’ll have beer as well. We simply want to be a comfortable bar where you can have a good drink.“