Elegant Bushwick Avenue bar The Topaz was designed to be a classic, hardworking space that’s also luxurious: it’s the kind of bar to which one could bring a significant other and quickly start thinking of it as “our place;” and it’s bright and airy enough for a satisfying solo chill on a summer afternoon.
The thoughtful concept for this beautiful spot was the result of collaboration between two perfect strangers who became partners just two weeks after meeting, who transformed space from bike shop to bar in less than 6 months.
Owners Brandon Davey and Logan Price met while on separate lumber runs at Oriental Hardware. Price was working at Bushwick meat and beer shop, Hops and Hocks, and Davey had just broken ground on his bar. Though Price was initially hired to do a few odd jobs, the pair was delighted to realize how well they worked together, and the relationship evolved into a partnership. Davey was thrilled to see his vision for the place realized, informed by Price’s design sensibilities.
Many people who have bar experience like Davey have dreamt of opening a bar; not many also have the eye of a School of Visual Arts Sculpture MFA, which he does. Similarly, not all bar carpenters have experience building homes in Cuba or boats in Alaska, which are among Price’s laurels. As such, the two make a great duo—though the fact that they’re both very easygoing probably doesn’t hurt their partnership, either.
Upon entering The Topaz, one can imagine walking into a bar in Oslo: the crowd is typically good-looking, and the atmosphere is relaxed, but sophisticated. Opulent design elements such as such as Carrera marble, onyx tabletops and rare woods are positioned throughout, but somehow the space still has a casual welcoming feel that evokes summer sojourns to the West Coast, enhanced by the beautiful wall murals, fresh flower arrangements and art curated by nearby collective The Shirey.
Other beautiful details with interesting stories abound. Solid brass bowties (hand carved in wood by Davey, then cast in brass at a jewelry foundry) are inlaid in the reclaimed Ipê wood tables. Some of the wood was salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy. A single piece of lacquered red wood frames a 2,000-pound marble slab, installed in DIY fashion by the two with help from some friends. Many shades of wood frame the bar and antique white walls display their natural tones with no staining whatsoever.
All of this attention to detail would be for naught if the cocktail drinks weren’t equally well considered: the dedication to quality did not stop at the appearance of the bar and is apparent in the handcrafted cocktails and izakaya menu. Davey’s experience at Greenpoint’s Ramona and Manhattan’s Elsa endowed him with a discerning palate, and his time working the high volume bar at Manhattan night club Marquee gave him the skills to ensure that the house can serve up a drink in a heartbeat.
The cocktail list is updated often with seasonal specials, selected with environmental impact and local availability in mind. “If it is too environmentally invasive to acquire the ingredient, we won’t use it,” explains Davey. A few favorites remain on the menu to satisfy loyal patrons, along with the new additions for the season: some current choice drinks include the Friend of a Friend (mezcal, lime, rosemary liqueur, soto sabe, angostura) and the Cruise Control (tequila, pineapple, cucumber, créole shrubb, coconut water, rhubarb bitters).
Lately, the spot has been a popular destination for birthday parties and celebrations (they recently hosted a wedding party) in the semi-private back room and newly renovated back yard. It’s the immense personal attention, dedication to details and continuous improvements that made this a successful first year for The Topaz. The bar will be celebrating its first anniversary Sunday, July 10th with a backyard barbecue starting at 2:00p.m.
Stop by solo or with friends to sample the menu and be some of the first to enjoy the new backyard, or join in the fun at the first year anniversary party, and see for yourself how two strangers turned fast friends can create a perfectly ambient spot.
Chill in a great new Bushwick bar, try a cocktail while enjoying their great patio.
251 Bushwick Ave. (between Montrose Avenue and Johnson Avenue off of the Montrose Avenue stop on the L train in East Williamsburg)
Mon-Fri: 5 pm – 4 am Sat-Sun: 3 pm – 4 am