Bar review: Brooklyn Bar and Grill – packed with excellent signature cocktails
This cramped space has an exciting ambience and its signature cocktails are a genuine find – but its versions of the classics let the side down somewhat
The vibe: tiny, packed and noisy, Brooklyn Bar and Grill has a cheerful, buzzy feel. Decor is no frills, with bare brick walls, and the bar takes up much of the space. You need to perch on a bar stool but at least there are plenty of them (plus booth seats along one wall). It’s open to the street (fine this time of year, maybe not so much in summer) so you can soak up the SoHo atmosphere, and there’s a nice welcome from the staff.
The drinks: signature cocktails are well-made and, true to American tradition, strong. The 88th Street Manhattan (HK$105, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange bitters) was smooth and mellow, as was the Peach Old Fashioned (HK$118, peach purée, Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Angostura bitters, brown sugar), which had lush vanilla notes nicely lifted by the peach.
Raspberry Lemon Drop (HK$98, Absolut Citron, Chambord, fresh muddled lemons, sugar) was delicate and refreshing, although the sugar rim to the glass wasn’t needed.
Watermelon Ginger Punch (HK$98, Hanson Ginger Vodka, home-made watermelon purée, mixed juices, basil) was a weird-sounding combination which turned out to be excellent – strong yet well-balanced, with the delicate taste of the watermelon standing up surprisingly well to the intense ginger of the vodka.
Classic cocktails are more problematic – they’d never heard of a Bronx (although a bar named after Brooklyn seemed a reasonable place to ask for one); and a Negroni (HK$88) was overly bitter and served with too much ice.
The verdict: If you don’t mind cramped quarters, the signature cocktails are a genuine find and this is a lively yet laid-back spot for some after work drinking.
Brooklyn Bar and Grill, 29 Staunton Street, SoHo, tel: 2801 6280. Open: 11.30am-2am