Ok, common scenario… It’s Friday night (or Tuesday for that matter) and you and your friends are figuring out plans for your impromptu meeting later that night. So you’re all in agreement that cocktails are on the agenda… but of course when the destination decision comes around everyone is silent. *Cricket*. Where do you want to go? I don’t know. Where do you want to go? Ugh! The most frustrating part of fun! Well that’s what we are here for! We’ve had a plethora of situations where this has occurred and, as a result, we have endless answers to create a super fun night! We will tell you that, often, when no one has a clue, we’ve found ourselves heading to Brooklyn. Why? Hmmm… Well, it’s so easy to choose a neighborhood, drive down the street and take your pick based on curb appeal. There are countless options! So what are you looking for? Are you meeting up with your whole crew? An impromptu date? Girls’ night out? Oh man, we’ve got some suggestions! To Brooklyn!
Scenario 1- A bunch of the friends are looking to chill and grab a couple of casual beers (an extremely common situation!) and some informal eats. Well then, you have to check out Loreley, a trendy, nontradtional beer hall in Williamsburg complete with outdoor beer garden. Not only do they have a good selection of beers, Glühwein (a German hot mulled wine), and a lively atmosphere, but they have plenty of speciality sausages and soft pretzels to nosh on as well, the perfect beer accompaniment.
Scenario 2- For a smaller crowd of true beer lovers that prefer quality over quantity, check out Beer Table, a tiny little venue with a huge array of specialized, high end beers. Your selections will cost you a pretty penny, but it is an excellent experience if you are a true beer connoisseur. Pony up to one of the four communal tables in this intimate Park Slope bar and start tasting.
Scenario 3- Date night! We love doing mid week nights on the town. Who wants to cook after working all day? A couple of glasses of wine, some small plates, and a little candlelight are always sure fire stress relievers. We lucked out when we stumbled upon Convivium Osteria. It’s adorable, unique, and a blend of all the things we love… Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. A cheese plate and a bottle (or two) of Chianti evoke conversation throughout the night.
Scenario 4- You’ve got a big group of rowdy friends and you are hip, hungry and looking for some drinks. Sea is a large scale Thai restaurant located in the heart of the late night Williamsburg scene. This place is perfect for groups, perfect for birthdays and perfect for cocktails before hitting up another destination. The bustling bar area gets mobbed and has lots of speciality drinks to choose from. And if you decide to stay for dinner, you’ll see that the service is speedy and the food is tasty and CHEAP (hence, why it’s perfect for groups). There is nothing worse than when the check arrives for 15 of your friends and everyone starts nit picking or you end up paying an exorbitant amount of money for those who aren’t coughing up what they owe. This will NOT happen here. Drinks and food are really reasonably priced, which is key for those birthday celebrations.
Dinner and Drinks- 2+2
(corner of Meeker and Frost)
718-599-0025 www.loreleynyc.com German Comfort Food, Beer, Brooklyn (Second Location at 7 Rivington St. on the Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Take a Beer Garden, a Gastro Pub and a Wine bar, put them together and you will get Loreley. When we heard they had gluhwein (so tasty on a chilly evening!), and a Sausage Fest (yes, an actual killer line-up of encased meat), we knew we had to check it out! The glühwein is made in house from scratch and packs a big punch. We ordered the “Giant Sausage Platter” featuring 12 different kinds of sausage accompanied by a side of fresh sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, along with baked Camembert, and the classic hot pretzels. Our selections were the perfect combination and we devoured all of it (Well, we nearly cleared the gigantic sausage platter. A valiant effort!). Despite our bursting bellies, we couldn’t help but finish off the meal with Apfelstrudel mit Vanille Sauce for dessert.
Loreley’s daily menu is filled with the classic German comfort food and a beer list straight from Germany. They have plenty of encased meat to go around, and offer great drink specials and sausage fests on many occasions. As the weather gets warmer, this is a great Brooklyn spot to grab some liters of beer and head to the outdoor garden to enjoy the sun. Loreley’s event list is never ending, providing you with many reasons to stop in for some Bratwurst, Wiener, or Knackwurst (whichever suits your fancy)… and then wash it down with a Hefeweissbier, a Erdinger or a Spaten Lager (or one of the other dozens of imported ‘biers’)! Prost!
What we ate…
- Glühwein (2+2)
- Augustiner Edelstoff (L+M)
- “Giant Sausage Platter” with 12 different kinds of Sausage, Sauerkraut & Mashed Potatoes (2+2)
- Baked Camembert Cheese with Lingonberry Sauce (2+2)
- Oven-fresh Pretzels (2+2)
- Apfelstrudel mit Vanille Sauce (2+2)
A: Glühwein is my favorite! Ever since our trip to Switzerland, I’ve been obsessed. Combine that with pretzels and sausages and it feels like you are back in Munich!
K: Man, I love me some glühwein! After becoming an expert following my trip to Berlin and Prague, I have to say that Loreley’s glühwein was one of the best I’ve had! German food is so heavy, but it is certainly tasty comfort food. Go hungry!
L: Its hard to nearly impossible to get a Augustiner beer in this city even in German restaurants, but not at Loreley. It helps that the food is also good even if it takes a while to come out.
M: Can I get a GLUHWEIN! It may take a little time to get it. but once it comes it’s worth the wait. But watch out, the warm drink has a way of creeping up on you and knocking you out.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Industrial, yet cozy indoor/outdoor beer garden
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity Included
- Coordinates- 3: City- 10 minute ride to fun!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light… bring on the sausage!
Snacks and Drinks- A+L
Beer Table427 B 7th Avenue, Brooklyn (Between 14th and 15th St) 718-965-1196 www.BeerTable.com Snacks, Specialty Beers, Brooklyn (New Grand Central Terminal Location Coming Soon)
Do one thing and do it well. It’s not the actual motto of Beer Table but it might as well be. Rare and specialty beer is the delicious backbone of this Park Slope establishment. It’s not exactly a bar, nor is it a tavern, saloon or pub. It’s more wine bar, minus the wine. Classification aside, Beer Table is a small and cozy beer drinking establishment that focuses on the lesser known microbrew and craft brew selections.
Don’t expect to see any major label brews on the menu. Most of the beer list includes creations from around the world made in styles that we have never heard of. That doesn’t mean you won’t find something to like. The owners/operators and beer junkies Justin and Tricia are more than happy to pour you a taste of any of the currently tapped beverages. Think of them as your beer sommeliers. Be sure to drink up while you are there because the taps and bottles are changing constantly due to availability and demand. That one of a kind cask beer from some far off European country doesn’t come around every day.
As with any good thing, it comes at a price. Most of the drafts hover around $5 to $10. The bottles, however, can cost as much as that bottle of French Bordeaux (the $40-$70 range), but most are much less. Hey, you pay for it when it’s crushed grapes, why not beer? It may not require a year in French Oak, but the brew process is intense and painstaking. Not to mention the time and effort to locate the breweries and have the product delivered. I am tired just thinking about it.
One of our favorite drinks had nothing to do with beer at all. Hand crafted in small batches, the Apple Ginger soda we drank from Brooklyn Soda Works absolutely blew us away! Made by a couple from Brooklyn (who coincidentally were sitting next to us) who started experimenting with ginger beer at home, Brooklyn Soda Works is building a reputation for having some of the most delicious and hard to find fresh soda creations in NYC. It’s only a matter of time before they start bottling the stuff and selling it to the masses. For now, you will have to visit the select few restaurants serving it or go to the Brooklyn Flea starting in April (10:30am to 4:30pm). On Saturdays, head to the Flea in Fort Greene (Lafayette & Vanderbilt) and on Sundays at the new Williamsburg location.
More than beer alone, Beer Table serves some well thought out small plates that will pair nicely with that IPA from some small brewery in California or the Hefeweizen from Germany. The small inexpensive menu offers daily selections of cheese, finger foods and a three course tasting menu for $25. As usual, we shared a bunch of small plates, which included the deliciously interesting pickled eggs with jalapeño powder ($4), mixed marinated olives ($4), the French breakfast favorite of radishes with butter and sea salt ($4), as well as the delicious but undersized toasted flatbread with caramelized onions and goat cheese ($7). If you think a cheese plate is something only for wine then think again. Beer Table offers a very nice selection of artisanal cheeses that pair nicely with the beer list.
Beer table is for the hardcore beer drinker/connoisseur and for the novice. The service and atmosphere are warm and welcoming, which put our slight feeling of intimidation to rest quickly. Sometimes it’s fun not knowing what anything on the menu is and this was one of those occasions. Open your mind and expand your horizons. You won’t be disappointed.
What we ate…
- Brooklyn Soda Works Apple Ginger Soda (A+L)
- Beer Sampler, Wheat Style Beer, Dark Beer (A+L)
- Flatbread with Carmelized Onions and Goat Cheese (A+L)
- Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt (A+L)
- Almonds and Chocolate Nibs (A+L)
- Mixed Marinated Olives (L)
- Pickled Eggs with Jalapeno Powder (L)
A: What a quaint, original place. I am not much of a beer drinker, but the offerings were so unique, even I found things that I liked… plus you can taste whatever you want which makes the selection process that much easier.
L: I love the atmosphere. Totally unpretentious and laid back. I thought I knew about beer until I went here and feel a bit more informed after leaving.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene-Wine Bar – Wine + Beer
- Food/Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly Stellar!
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the tax and then some
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light!
Dinner and Drinks- A+L+M
Convivium Osteria68 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn (Bergen & St.Marks)
Portuguese & Spanish, Wine, Brooklyn
On an impromptu Friday night search for something different, we stumbled upon this unique Park Slope eatery. Dark and castle like, it felt like you were eating dinner in a chateau wine cellar… very cool, chill mood.
Food is European… a mixture of Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. We went with the Selezione di Olive (imported olives marinated in garlic and oregano) and the Tabla de Embutidos y Queso (assortment of cured meats and cheese) for apps. Then shared the Gnocchi di Spinaci e Ricotta di Percora all’asiago (Spinach and ricotta gnocchi) and a gigantic 48 oz grilled Ribeye for two. We cannot stress enough how huge and awesome this steak was. Three meat eaters couldn’t even finish it! The wine list had plenty of choices and started at moderately priced ($40) bottles. Definitely hit this place up… We think about this eating experience regularly!
A: This place is adorable!!! It truly transports you to Europe for an authentic and delicious meal. The atmosphere is unbeatable!
L: One of the better meals I have eaten. An all around stunner from the quaint restaurant to the perfectly prepared food. I am tempted to stop in for a glass of wine and the Tabla de Embutidos y Queso every time I pass by.
M: One of the best random finds we have ever stumbled on to. The minute we arrived I loved this place. Portuguese, Italian, and French…what more do you need? I could come here and enjoy many bottles of Vino in the basement and be content for the rest of the night.
Our Rating Scales…
- The Scene- Exposed brick and chandeliers with a European chateau feel
- Food and Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly Stellar! Really tasty… totally satisfying
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the tax and then some.
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located, lots to do…. the heart of Brooklyn fun
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light!
Dinner and Drinks- A+L+M
Right in the middle of the action in Williamsburg, Sea is good for so many things! This large Thai restaurant is always happening. Thumping music and a lively bar scene fill the front of the restaurant, along with a hip and trendy crowd. This bar is the destination for many… or grab a drink while you are waiting for your friends before dinner… there are plenty of tasty designer cocktails to choose from.
The menu includes all of the staple Thai dishes like Duck Lettuce Wraps, Spring Rolls and Dumplings, Pad Thai, noodle dishes and plenty of curry. Both times we’ve visited, we came with 10+ friends and this restaurant is made for groups! The front of the place has plenty of tables for 2 to 6 people, flanking the reflecting pool with buddha and the lotus flower. But in the back, there is table after table ready to go for groups of 10 or so… almost like a school lunchroom. It is actually amazing how well they handle all those people… they keep the food moving! Can’t imagine how hectic it must be in that kitchen.
A: This place is absolutely perfect for groups! The drinks are tasty, as well as dishes, and when you make a reservation for a party of 15, no one flinches! The check for a previous birthday dinner was $33 bucks a person, including (Many!) cocktails. Unheard of!
L: Not to shabby for a Thai restaurant. The food comes out hot and quick. The place gets absolutely packed on weekends but the large room accommodates huge parties easily. Its cheap, big and has a great atmosphere. Stop in just to grab a drink at the bar and listen to the nightly DJ.
M: Not really a Thai lover, but I liked coming to this place for the drinks, the look, and the ambiance.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Hip, Trendy, Lively Thai
- Food and Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the tax and then some
- Coordinates- 5: Block- Fun is right next door
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light