First stop in Brooklyn was Char No.4 on Smith Street. This bar/restaurant specialises in Whisky, and they certainly have a great selection! As well as offering half price specials and flights they also do a short cocktail list. We tried the Noreaster (Old Crow Whisky, Ginger beer, Lime, Maple Syrup) which was a perfect refresher after a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge in the afternoon sun. The bar staff were really friendly and we were tempted to stick around and enjoy more happy hour drinks, but there were more bars to try out.
Just a few blocks along Smith Street and we reached the Clover Club. Elegant and calming but without the pretentious stuffiness that you might expect from a bar with such a beautifully realised faux colonial style. We sampled some excellent wine and a delicate natural Daiquiri that had been finished with the merest hint of Maraschino Liqueur. We also tried an order from the bar snacks menu, and were rewarded with delicate crisps that had been tossed in duck fat and accompanied by a truffle dip. Mouth wateringly delicious.
Our favourite bar of the evening was Jakewalk, again just a short walk along from our last stop. We immediately felt welcome here and sat at the bar to peruse the stunning cocktail menu. We only had time for one drink, which made it the hardest menu choice of our week in New York. We tried the nicely named Rocks, Maple, Smithers (Appple Brandy, Smith and Cross, Pear Liqueur, Maple Syrup, Orange Bitters, Peychaud Bitters). Each sip began with inital sharp apple fruit, then came the rich Smith and Cross and then a hint of brandy and medicinal Peychauds on the finish. Glorious stuff. We also tried the Daisy Santiago (El Dorado 12, Demerara Syrup, Lime, Yellow chartreuse) which was a subtley constructed Daiquiri. It had depth but was perfectly drinkable. As in Char No.4 (which had a similar down to earth vibe) the staff were really friendly here and explained how their menus are developed as a team effort by all of the bar staff. Seems like they have a great system!
Our last stop on Smith Street was the Brooklyn Social. A small old fashioned bar, playing proper rock and roll music. The beautiful hard wood bar is the focus of the main room which otherwise has only a couple of corner tables to perch at. The 2nd room, past the bar, houses a somewhat unexpected pool table. Out back is a secluded terrace. The formally dressed bartender with shirt and tie completed the old timey vibe. The cocktail menu was pretty stripped down and straightforward. We tried the Palermo Fix (Rye, Averna, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon, Mint, Ginger Ale) which was delightfully light. Certainly in mojito territory but with some interesting flavour combinations. We also sampled Matt’s Ginger Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Muddled Ginger, Cherries, Orange, Bitters). A well rounded old fashioned with citrus and some richer cherry notes joining with the whisky. Ginger spice comes through on the finish but does not overpower. Generic lesson learnt: muddle gently!
For full details of these bars see our Brooklyn Cocktail Crawl page.