There’s nothing better than spending a summer Saturday just strolling… hopping from place to place picking up cocktails and snacks along the way. It’s our hands-down favorite way to kill time. We usually pick a neighborhood and a meeting spot and then let the day unfold naturally through candid conversation and spontaneity. When you have four different people reviewing full inboxes of hip New York newsletters, you usually end up with way too many options and not enough time. Trying to do everything will make you crazy… we know.
This day the boys simplified the agenda by starting us off at a very low key first spot, Bierkraft in Park Slope. Primarily known as a beer ‘super-market’, this glorified convenience store boasts floor to ceiling shelves and full fridges of the stuff. The selection is impressive. Throw in some massive (and really reasonably priced) deli sandwiches and homemade ice cream sandwiches and men will have everything they could ever want for a Saturday afternoon. On this particular day, Bierkraft was hosting an oyster shucking event in their (teeny tiny) backyard beer garden. With K+M arriving early, they secured a spot at the communal picnic tables and ordered up some cask beers and a dozen slippery oysters. 2+2 spent the time catching up with each other, and meeting our rotating group of neighbors at the shoulder-to-shoulder packed venue. After an hour of chatting (including a convo with a 90 year old lady with a plate of oysters and a pint of beer!), we decided to head out in search of a little bit more breathing room…
While leisurely walking down 5th Avenue, we set eyes on Lobo from across the street. Complete with white stucco facade and hanging cow skull signage, the southwestern décor made us fiend for guac and margaritas, the perfect way to kick this Saturday into high gear. With four empty bar stools right in the front window, we knew it was destiny. We threw back several jalapeno margaritas and what seemed like a gallon of guacamole, and thought that we should probably call it a night… however, that would be all too rational! Instead, we called in our great friend J to assist us in the rest of the evening’s eating and drinking.
While waiting for J to arrive, we brainstormed some ideas for dinner. Park Slope has endless options for dining! After briefly reminiscing about a massive 48 ounce steak for sharing at an old favorite Convivium, we quickly called to see if they had a spot for five. Wonderfully accommodating (as always), we walked just a couple of blocks to claim our table. The tiny, dim, rustic, candlelit front room was so warm and inviting! With European influences including Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, Convivium boasts an array of rustic dishes prepared with a hint of fine-dining flair. Together the five of us polished off several bottles of deep red wine, the much anticipated juicy rib-eye, as well as a whole fish and our favorite, a stellar cheese plate. Convivium is consistently delicious and has not let us down!
Still in the mood to chat, we finished off with a night-cap at Wolf & Deer, just down the block. Small and modern, this intimate bar was the perfect low key way to wind down. Park Slope has so much to see, we (of course) barely scratched the surface! Plus we enjoyed so many great conversations with other local patrons and staff, we left yearning for more. NYC has so many inviting scenes, and Park Slope emits that of a real neighborhood… friendly, fun and like home. This Saturday excursion has lit a new fire… we will be back soon to continue our explorations!
Check out all of our pictures!
Drinks + Oysters (2+2)
www.Bierkraft.com Specialty Beer Market, Deli Counter, Brooklyn
Ask yourself a couple of questions: Do you like beer? Do you love cheese? Do you crave simple but amazing sandwiches? Do you enjoy hanging out with friends outside while eating and drinking? How about some homemade brownie ice cream sandwiches? If you answered ‘yes’ to just one of these questions, you should make a trip to Bierkraft and check this place out for yourself .
- Open door, walk through the narrow hall of fridges buzzing filled with every beer your mind can conjure up (Warning: the bottles are on the pricey side).
- Stop at the bar and grab yourself a couple of pints or just get a growler (best price for 4 pints of craft beer).
- Make a quick right and head to the deli counter to order some cheeses and some amazing 2-foot long, $10 sandwiches.
- Walk towards the outside picnic area and start hunting down a table or even just a couple of open spots. (Mini-beergarden feel, tables are communal… hovering works!)
- After a couple of trips to refill the growler and waiting on the long line for the one bathroom, head back to the front before leaving, reach in to the freezer and grab some homemade ice cream sandwiches.
- Go home and take a nap!
- Wake up and repeat again.
We came to Bierkraft for the Oyster Shuck & Cask Beer Fest. A and K have finally started to enjoy eating oysters and this was a perfect place to continue their new found love for that great taste. K+M arrived, walked straight past the long row of fridges filled with almost every beer made in the world today, made our way around the bar line, and passed the sandwich counter to the back outdoor picnic area (not too big or too small, but packed). The hunt for any open spot was on. They found two spots in the corner, grabbed two pints, squeezed by some people sitting down, sat down, started some conversations with the rest of the people at the table, hoping by the time A+L came that someone would be leaving to free up some space. When they finally arrived, the table had luckily cleared out just enough for them to fit. Time for more beer and some freshly shucked oysters. So fresh and so sweet. After a couple of more beers and even more oysters it was time to head out and open up some more space at the table for the next group.
- Cask Beer (2+2)
- Freshly shucked oysters (2+2)
A: I’m not a fan of beer in general, but the ‘backyard’ had such a fun neighborhood feel. Everyone shared tables, shared barrels of beer and buckets of oysters… such a great time for a summer afternoon.
L: The event was fun and we weren’t the only people who thought so. The place was packed!
M: Great place to hang out and spend the day eating and drinking with friends and strangers, who by the end will become friends. Grab a seat and never let go.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Mini beer distributor meets sandwich shop meets mini beer garden.
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised- Oysters were so fresh.
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included… Don’t forget to tip your bartender!
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light
Drinks and Snacks (2+2+1)
www.LoboNYC.com Tex-Mex, Cocktails, Brooklyn
Margarita hour!!!! We are always down for a margarita and guacamole pitstop. A+K seem to have an absurd obsession with guacamole. But really, who doesn’t? K+M strolled for quite a few hours and worked up an appetite! We made our way from Smith St. in Cobble Hill over to 5th Avenue in Park Slope. We reunited with A+L and began our search for a pre-dinner spot. With so many alluring facades on Park Slope’s 5th Avenue, it’s hard to pick a locale! But the smell of fresh Mexican food and thought of spicy margaritas lured us right into Lobo (meaning ‘wolf’ in Spanish), a Tex-Mex resto & Tequila Bar. Olé!
We were joined shortly after by our dear friend J, and then the party began! We ordered up our guac, along with some other delicious snacks like Georgia’s Bean Dip and Loaded Nachos. Yum! So satisfying. We thoroughly enjoyed the array of margarita options with the house-infused tequilas. Choose from tequila infusions such as Jalapeño & Serrano, Ancho Chile, Cinnamon, Strawberry, and Ginger… plus, they have seasonal selections as well. These drinks are potent and absolutely delicious. You may find it hard to peel yourself away from the bar!
Lobo serves up some solid staples and authentically prepared margaritas (none of that sour mix nonsense!). It’s a great pre- or post- dinner spot, or even the main event! Every neighborhood needs some hearty Mexican fare and this is certainly the south-of-the-border star of Park Slope! Aye!
- Lobo Margarita with Jalapeño & Serrano infused tequila (2+2)
- Chips & Guac (2+2)
- Georgia’s Bean Dip (2+2)
- Loaded Nachos [Homemade chips, beans, cheese, onions, pico de gallo, guac, sour cream] (2+2)
K: I love a good guacamole and margarita hour! A solid Mexican joint never disappoints with these two staples, so Lobo is definitely a quality spot.
L: Solid Jalapeño drinks here. Glad we left when we did. I would have kept drinking them.
M: Not sure I remember what I drank here, just know they were strong drinks.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- A rustic Tex-Mex joint that surrounds you with Longhorns and cocktails
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly Surprised!
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally Located
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light
Portuguese & Spanish, Wine, Brooklyn
The pride and joy of a husband and wife chef/owner duo, we first stumbled upon Convivium Osteria on an impromptu Friday night search for something different. Since that first visit, our stomachs have dreamed about our return. Located on Park Slope Brooklyn’s restaurant row, Fifth Avenue, be prepared to experience a European inspired dinner with all the warmth of a cozy chateau.
Quaint, dark and castle like, we love Convivium’s intimate wine-cellar-feel. With an all European influence, the menu is a mixture of Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. The menu is familiar, but yet unique and perfectly executed. Plus the ingredients are top notch! From daily, homemade pastas and desserts, and meat and produce from local organic farmers, you will taste the details here. 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 the Robalo ao Forno com Abobrinhas e Batatas novas (Seabass with zucchini and new potatoes), a lovely whole roasted fish. The show stopper was the gigantic 48 oz Grilled Ribeye for two from Painted Hill Farms. We cannot stress enough how huge and awesome this steak was. Three meat eaters couldn’t even finish it, and on our second visit we realized that it was better suited for five people! Although it’s not set up as a family style eatery, the dishes are large and are too good to keep to yourself. We shared everything and it worked out perfectly!
To accompany our rustic meal, there is no better complement than some rich red wine. The wine list had plenty of choices and started at moderately priced ($40) b0ttles with choices from all over Western Europe. A couple of bottles hit the spot and livened up the evening and the conversation! To finish up our dining experience we couldn’t pass up a selection of home-baked sweets… chocolately and delicious. Definitely hit this place up… we think about this eating experience regularly!
What we ate…
- Several bottles of Italian Chianti and Spanish Rioja (2+2)
- Selezione di Olive [Imported olives marinated in garlic and oregano] (2+2)
- Tabla de Embutidos y Queso [Assortment of cured meats and cheese] (2+2)
- Gnocchi di Spinaci e Ricotta di Percora all’asiago [Spinach and ricotta gnocchi] (2+2)
- 48 oz Grilled Ribeye for two from Painted Hill Farms (2+2)
- Robalo ao Forno com Abobrinhas e Batatas novas [Roasted whole seabass with zucchini and new potatoes] (2+2)
A: Wow! This place was even more amazing the second time around! The massive steak was cooked a perfect medium-rare, the wine was rich and red and the charceuterie was spot on. It’s so hard to find a spot that continually delivers… consistency is key and Convivium has secured an amazing spot for the books (and bellies).
K: I was in love instantly! There is nothing I love more than Western Europe…and this restaurant blends all of my favorite countries’ best dishes and wines to boot. If I lived closer, I’d be a regular!
L: Came here three years ago and haven’t been back since. It was mind blowing good then and it was mind blowing good now. It helps that they have service to match.
M: Don’t know why it took me so long to come back to this place. I have been talking about it every since then and now I know I can never stop. Everything was fantastic. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
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!
718-398-3181 No Website Cheese and Charceuterie, Cocktails, Wine and a few Beers on Tap, Brooklyn
Every time we walked past Wolf and Deer the thought was: “We have to stop in here.” So after the third time, we finally walked in. Small and cozy, Wolf and Deer is about 10 feet wide and 30 feet deep. Its warm brick walls, tin ceiling, and “U” shaped bar is part rail car, part back room. The iron rails directly above and circling the bar hang the multitude of glasses used to create your drink of choice. The filament lights that line the iron rails provide the dim lighting that completes the scene.
The menus are pasted into old books. At first glance it looked as if some freaky book club was meeting at the bar. That thought ended quickly when we received our own copy of some odd reference book. Though we didn’t partake, some light fare is served including a selection of cheese, charcuterie, and a few small plates. The surrounding guests seemed to be enjoying them.
Service was kind, informative, and attentive. Suggestions were made and when the drinks were empty, they got filled back up. Exactly what you want from a bartender. The next time we are around we will be certain to pop back in.
What we ate…
- Grey Goose and Saint Germain with Orange Slices (A)
- Local Beer (L)
- Local Beer (M)
K: Hmmm…. a bit foggy here. I recall a perfect ambiance and chatting with some other patrons, but another cocktail was not so necessary for me!
L: A nice little bar for a late night drink. Not exactly a place for a group. Grab the seats at the bar while they last, its tight in there.
M: Thought this place was ok… definitely a good place to start or end your night.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Dark and cozy back room meets old rail car.
- Food/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. Pre or post night out.