Since we “celebrated” Presidents Day last weekend by making a few bad decisions Sunday night and skipping work on Monday, this week’s Drink & Ride takes us to the aptly named Jefferson stop. Luckily, a bunch of new spots have opened up nearby in the past year which means you won’t have to go thirsty for long.
Sometimes, the best way to wind down after a long day is exercise. No, it’s a stiff drink. No, it’s exercise. No, it’s…both? Luckily, as a yoga studio slash bar, the Cobra Club takes the stress of choosing off your hands, letting you indulge in both cocktails and sweat sessions (just not at the same time, please). After taking care of your body, treat your soul by pulling up a bar stool and enjoying playfully named drinks like the Last Caress, a mix of Lillet Rose and grapefruit soda ($8) or Teenagers from Mars, a Prosecco-Aperol drink topped with soda ($8). As you swap downward dog tips with fellow yogis/cocktail aficionados, play your favorite song on the jukebox and take in the spot’s simple, no-nonsense aesthetic. And since this is Bushwick, don’t miss out on the beloved beer + shot specials – their version is $6 Session Blacks + whiskey or Modelos + tequila (upgrade to a shot of Jameson or Espolon tequila for a buck more).
What to Drink: Let the steam out of your ears with the Devil Lock, a jalapeno-infused tequila concoction with lime, orange and Tabasco ($10).
In Spain, bodega translates to “wine cellar.” In Brooklyn, it roughly translates to “place I get paper towels at 3am while a cat stares me down.” You’ll much prefer the European version after a visit to The Bodega, run by self-proclaimed Spain freaks aiming to recreate the bar culture of their adopted homeland. Their success at creating a casual spot for locals to drink together is evident from the laid-back vibe, very neighborly low prices, and events like Tuesday movie nights. Inside, soft, flattering light streams down from exposed bulbs to shine on dark wood furnishings and deep red walls. Behind the bar, a friendly bartender is ready to pour a glass from the well-culled list of 20 vintages from Spain, France, Italy, Argentina and Chile (prices range from $5-$10 a pop). Beer lovers needn’t worry – they also pour 12 drafts and have a good list of Belgian and American bottles. And as it’s Spain-inspired, there’s also a list of small plates for nibbling, mostly fresh-cut charcuterie, gourmet cheeses and hearty sandwiches. Cash only.
What to Drink: A Spanish red, like the 2006 Bodegas Lan Tempranillo ($8) or Borsao 2010 Garnacha ($5).
This quaint little spot was named after – and you might have guessed this – the owner’s spitfire of a grandmother, Pearl. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the crowd at Pearl’s isn’t of the geriatric variety; it leans more towards twenty-something locals and slightly older artistic folks who’ve found their neighbor spot. With vintage New York pennants, dim lighting, a black-and-white photo booth, distressed wood accents, and various odd knick-knacks taking up shelf space, it sometimes feels like you’re drinking in that one cool friend’s apartment, if you’re living in the late ‘50s. Solidifying that retro vibe, drinks are served in mason jars (obviously), cheap tall boys are readily available and a mix of old school jams steadily flows in the background. There are rotating draft beers, including Brooklyn Lager, Pacifico and Left Hand Milk Stout ($5 to $6) and a fully stocked bar with a nice selection of whiskeys and bourbons. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, ask the skilled bartender to whip up something special just for you or take a gander at their cocktail list, for favorites like the Pearl’s Cup, cucumber-infused gin with Pimms, strawberry and ginger ($10), or the scotch and apple brandy-based Autumner ($12).
What to Drink: Taste the Spring-like drink, the Uncle Touchy, a fresh mix of tequila, ginger beer, honey, lemon and bitters.
A mix of personalities, Tandem blends modern with vintage in everything from the menu to the decor. Honoring the old school, a vintage mahogany deco bar with matching green vinyl-topped stools (sourced from an old social club in Queens) takes up space in which to serve classic drinks like a Dark and Stormy ($9), brewed with the co-owners’ homemade ginger beer. On the more modern side, handmade ceramic tiles line the walls and provide an artistic tabletop for setting down your mug of local craft beer (like Sixpoint Autumnation,$6) and creative cocktails like the Chimbley Sweep ($10), an orange-infused drink of cardamom whiskey and Ramazzotti. The spot’s homey touch can be seen in the many handmade details throughout the space, from the ceramic beer mugs to the upscale bar snacks cooked by a co-owner to the tabletops they glazed themselves. On weekends, the back room turns into a dance party, complete with lasers, a fog machine, and DJs. Of course, there are $3 PBR tall boys, plus $7 Tecate and jalapeno tequila shot specials for when you really need to kick it up a notch.
What to Drink: Warm yourself on a cold night with a Winter’s Gamble ($12), a gin drink with maraschino liqueur, orange bitters and cherries.
A former bodega space, Miles was transformed into a sleek yet casual wine bar serving up microbrews, wines from around the world, craft cocktails and small plates to tame your appetite. Pickled vegetables in mason jars provide functional decor while the aesthetic is all dark mahogany wood, mason jar candles, unique lighting involving a bicycle wheel, and a portrait of a very sophisticated dog named Miles – all coming together seamlessly, making it evident that one of the owners has a background in architecture. Both the wine and beer list are heavily curated, with a rotating selection of microbrews like Great Divide Titan IPA ($7) and Speakeasy Prohibition Ale ($6) on tap. The cocktail list takes on the classics, adding unique twists with ingredients like orchard peach liqueur, lavender spice bitters, oolong tea-infused whiskey, and chipotle-infused tequila (both of which are infused in-house) . The culinary focus is on affordable, slow-cooked eats (like a 3-bean vegetarian chili for $7), artisanal cheese and charcuterie plates, and gourmet sandwiches.
What to Drink: The traditional winter Hot Toddy ($9), taken up a notch with house-infused black tea whiskey, allspice dram, citrus bitters, and cinnamon-infused honey.