Little Whiskey, one of Bushwick’s newest bars opened in November at 36 Wilson Ave, replacing a beloved watering hole, Cain’s Tavern. The owners of Cain’s had to close down the business after what they said was a 500% rent hike (it should be noted that their landlord disputed the amount and stated that it was it was “far less” than that).
Dubbed on Yelp as a “bro-bar” serving patrons who wearing “sideways baseball hats, popped collars [and] tight fitted shirts,” it is clear that Little Whiskey has big shoes to fill, and so we took a look at how they’re doing.
Owned by George Ruotolo, Justin Ruotolo and Rob Magill, Little Whiskey is a part of a chain of several other whiskey establishments throughout New York City including Whiskey Town, Whiskey Tavern, The Whiskey Brooklyn and The Whiskey Annex.
We checked out the bar on a Sunday night and discovered a mixture of people–some bros, for sure, were mingling with hipsters; groups of friends were out drinking pickle backs ($7), while others decked out in Steelers gear were there to catch the football game. Little Whiskey definitely has a sports bar vibe but the attitude is laid back, and the bartenders are friendly and attentive, which is always a plus.
Few large televisions above the bar allow sport enthusiasts to catch a sports game. The lighting is dim with the bright red “Little Whiskey” neon sign illuminating part of the bar. In typical sports bar fashion, you’ll also find a photo booth in the back.
Naturally, whiskey selection is relatively wide with options ranging from Evan Williams ($8) to Johnny Walker Blue ($44). Little Whiskey also features a “whiskey of the week,” which you’ll find scribbled on the chalkboard menu to the left of the bar. They have five rotating beer handles and bottled beers ($4-8), including various cocktails with the menu being heavy on the whiskey options ($10), and wine ($9-12).
Although Little Whiskey doesn’t offer food just yet, the owners plan to have Duncan’s Burgers available for delivery soon. Sandwiches and bar food is planned to be served in the future.
In conclusion, Little Whiskey is not as bad as the Yelp reviews say. Don’t expect any frat bacchanalia, but it is a sports bar with all the good and the bad that comes with it. It does feels a little bit like a chain, especially when compared to the homely feel of Cain’s Tavern. But such is life, rents go up and often the little guys get pushed out.
Little Whiskey is basically Jeremy Nguyen’s Stranger Than Bushwick comic coming to real life.
Little Whiskey is open at 36 Wilson Ave, Monday-Friday from 5 pm until close, and Saturday-Sunday from 12 noon until close. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from open until 8pm with $1 off all drinks.