08/10/16 11:00am
Cut the cubicle cord: How the owner of Cardiff Giant turned volunteering into opening his own bar

Steven Baird opened Cardiff Giant in March of this year, after learning the ropes at Mission Dolores and Owl Farm. All photos by Brianna Digioia.

Honestly, if you had to take a shot for all the times you or a friend have said, “Man, we should open a bar!” how drunk would you be?

Most of us have had this dream, usually as we’re sitting at a bar, likely after spending eight sad hours sitting under some harsh overhead lighting in standard-issue desk chair in front of an equally harsh computer screen.

But should you really? You have no idea how to run a bar. Being good at drinking does not make you good at running a drinking establishment. The only applicable experience you might have was pouring pitchers of PBR in college (sorry, fellas, stirring up some cocktails at a house party doesn’t count). So you order another beer, go home, and then go back to work the next day.

That’s the difference between us and Steven Baird, a 35-year-old former cubicle dweller who just opened his first bar, Clinton Hill’s new Cardiff Giant, after saying bye to the 9-to-5 grind at his accounts payable job in favor of following this dream.

Baird, who’s also the manager of Owl Farm, a Park Slope bar known for having an eclectic and constantly-changing draft list from around the world, sat down with Brokelyn at his new spot, where all the product is from New York State (more on that later), to tell us how he did it.

And, like so many New York success stories, it started with an unpaid internship (of sorts). (more…)

08/09/16 3:19pm

Photo via Taste WG.

Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint is an annual food festival and fundraiser to renovate the Firehouse North Brooklyn Community Center. Set up Smorgasburg-style in the East River State Park at N. 6th Street and Wythe Ave., it features live music and more than 40 restaurants and bars from Williamsburg and Greenpoint giving out food and drink “tastes,” aka samples.

Now in its seventh year, Taste WG is seeking volunteers for the event which takes place Sunday, September 18, from 1-5pm. Duties include helping set up and break down, managing crowd control, as well as tasks leading up to the event, such as social media marketing and distributing fliers (old-school).

As tickets for the fundraiser start at $35, by volunteering you not only get free entry but also a free tasting ticket—which includes four tastes and two drinks tickets. And with Brooklyn Star, Maison Premiere, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Brooklyn Winery, Brooklyn Brewery, and more delicious North Brooklyn eateries and drinkeries participating, it’ll make for some seriously delicious tasting and imbibing, while contributing to a good cause. Register to volunteer here(more…)

08/09/16 11:11am
Photo via Hobrahtaco on Instagram.

Enjoy a complimentary bloody mary with your meal at Ho’Brah’s weekend Mexicali Brunch.  Photo via Hobrahtaco on Instagram.

North Brooklyn doesn’t get the monopoly on brunch. Feast your eyes on these eight great brunch spots in Bay Ridge, the quaint South Brooklyn nabe at the end of the R line that’ll take the bun right out of your man with its sweet, small town vibe and entice you with its incredible waterfront views of the Atlantic Ocean, not yet spoiled by mondo condos. Filled to the brim with sweet deals on bottomless drinks, things like $25 pitchers, (yes, I said pitchers) and crazy delicious menu options, this definitive list of Bay Ridge brunch happenings will be sure to satisfy even the crabbiest of weekenders. (more…)

08/04/16 9:01am
Poppin' off! A search for the absolute best-tasting seltzer in the world

All the carbonated contenders in a row. Photos by Brokelyn.

Ah, seltzer. What is it about the injection of CO2 into H2O that makes it taste so much better? Even though seltzer, at its essence, is just water plus air, we who partake of the liquid incarnation of a Katy Perry song know it’s so much more. It’s what we drink when we’re thirsty but want something more exciting than water; when we’re sober but we need that fizzy kick to tide us over until the next alcoholic drink; when we’re craving a flavor that is no flavor, and we know a carbonation burn is the only workout we’ll always make time for.

There are so many questions those of us on the high-carb(onation) diet have about the most quenchable of beverages. In fact, our curiosity is driving us to drink more and more, on an insatiable quest to possess full understanding of the elusive effervescent elixir, until our tooth enamel has worn off and all the calcium has been leached from our bones (we know those are scientifically unsubstantiated rumors perpetuated by the still-water lobbyists).

If all seltzers are the same, because they all consist of water and bubbles, why is it that some taste different from others? Do brands influence us, making us crave the poppy, beachy promise of a La Croix whenever thirst strikes? Or could it be that there is some secret je ne sais quoi hovering unseen in the liminal space where bubble meets water, an umami-esque quality, yet to be named, for the sensation upon sipping that both hurts and hydrates so well?

Enough with the questions; we were thirsty for answers! So we put together a six-person panel of pop water enthusiasts to blind taste test six unflavored sparkly waters. Some panelists were daily imbibers; some simply identified as “seltzer curious.” One taste tester was desperately trying to figure out why “people at my job are really into it” hoping to up his small talk game at the seltzer cooler at his startup. (more…)

08/03/16 10:16am
Wet your willy: new bar Do or Dive opens Thursday in former Do or Dine space—with free open bar!

Do or Dive, a new bar from the owners of Lucky Dog and Skinny Dennis, opens Thursday in the former Do or Dine space. All photos by Kate Mooney/Brokelyn.

Since Bed-Stuy’s eclectic, pun-inspired eatery Do or Dine unexpectedly shuttered last September, neighborhood folks have long awaited news of the next establishment to inhabit the space at 1108 Bedford Avenue, right next door to Dynaco. Well, no need to wait any longer: On Thursday, Do or Dive, a new bar from the owners of Lucky Dog, Skinny Dennis and Rocka Rolla, opens its doors to the public with a free open bar from 8-10pm.

We couldn’t help but notice, the name is literally one letter different. “With Do or Dine, they wanted to do a fine dining restaurant, and we wanted it to be a dive bar, so it worked out for us to become Do or Dive. We don’t have to make a new sign! We’re broke and out of money!” co-owner Sal Fristensky joked.

The owners include Fristensky, William Mackin, Brenden Jones, Steven Pandolfi and Roni Dotan. Curious what to expect from the new project from the folks behind bars like Skinny Dennis, a honky tonk named after country musician Skinny Dennis Sanchez, and the hard rock/hair metal-infused Rocka Rolla (after a Judas Priest album)?

“This is just totally a dive bar,” Fristensky told us. “It’s a cross-breed of all of our bars. Maybe closest to Lucky Dog.”

It will be dog-friendly, he said, his black french bulldog, Ammo, roaming around at our feet. And most crucially, they will be serving “that coffee thing, ($7)” as a sign behind the bar reads, which means the one and only Uncle Willie’s Frozen Whisky Coffee—aka the love of my life—previously, only available at Skinny Dennis and Rocka Rolla. This will be a welcome danger, as I live down the street; if you don’t hear back from me after Thursday, it’ll probably be because I drowned in the slushy machine.  (more…)

08/01/16 9:19am
Can you get bedbugs from soda?

Can you get bedbugs from soda?

Say it’s the middle of a New York City heatwave and you pop into a bodega looking for a refreshing name-brand Ginger Ale. Instead you come across the bottle in the photos above, staring back at you with obvious disdain for the normal expected patterns and packaging standards you’re used to seeing in the refrigerated cases across the city. Seems legit, right?

Our music editor Lilly Vanek spotted this in a bodega in Harlem last week, on the shelf with the rest of the sodas. Presumably the labels got ripped off at some point and the shop owner (or their kid), eager to not let the product go to waste, created a new one — though most branding experts will probably advise against putting a frowny face on your packaging. But bad news all you aspiring artisanal packaging bodega artists: we checked with the city and this is definitely not legal.  (more…)

07/28/16 1:15pm
Vegans rejoice! Clementine bakery expanded to a huge new space, with plans to serve booze too

Epically delicious cupcakes, baked by Clementine. Photo via Clementine Bakery

It’s rare that we hear good news about small businesses in Brooklyn, especially in the service industry, what with rising rents causing several eateries to shutter every month. While it’s tough out there for all food joints, we’ve noticed vegan restaurants having an especially tough time as of late, with Boerum Hill vegan restaurant M.O.B. closing last week. But maybe things are turning around for vegan businesses. Greenpoint became home to Screamer’s, the city’s first all-vegan pizza slice pizza joint, in June. Now another cafe that serves up delicious vegan baked goods and sandwiches is making a huge expansion too.

On Friday, popular Clinton Hill Clementine Bakery expanded to the much bigger space next door at 395 Classon Ave., taking over the former space of NeroDoro, the corner cafe that shuttered at the end of May, (R.I.P.). Clementine will hold onto its previous space at 299 Greene Ave., but use it for wholesale, while the new space will serve as the main cafe. We’re excited to see the popular neighborhood spot, which appeals to vegans and omnivores alike, able to expand its operation and become an even greater presence in Clinton Hill.

“The business was really growing, so we were happy to be able to use this space as a cafe and keep the old space for our wholesale business, which is also growing,” general manager Marcella Maki told Brokelyn. (Their vegan pastries and cakes, which include some gluten-free options, are available to order and can be found at cafes and storefronts throughout Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.)

The new iteration of the bakery was bustling this morning, filled with folks working on laptops, reading, or chatting with each other while sitting in front of the open windows, looking out onto Classon Ave. It gets better: Soon they’re adding beer and wine too.  (more…)

07/27/16 4:46pm
Reuben egg rolls at The Regal make for a heckuva post-bar snack.

Reuben egg rolls at The Regal make for a heckuva post-bar snack.

This post sponsored by The Regal

Amidst a sea of artisanal pizzas, ramen burgers, and gluten free chia bowls, Williamsburg has left few stones unturned when it comes to creative dining. Luck for you, you have us. And we are here to put you onto some otherworldly shit: the Reuben Egg Roll.

That’s right. A Reuben sandwich in. An. Egg roll.

If you’re an avid fan of the hot, melty American classic – often stuffed to absurdity with tons of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing — *ahem* we’re looking at you Carnegie Deli — the classic combo on Rye takes on a new form at The Regal Diner and Cocktail Bar and will absolutely give you life, even into the wee hours (serving food until 3am and cocktails until 4am on weekends) of some of your not so “pinky up nights. Just think about the handheld fried goodness coming your way after hitting local bars. (more…)

07/27/16 9:40am
Ikea is giving out free meatballs all week at select locations throughout Brooklyn. Photo via @ikea_brooklyn on Twitter

Ikea is giving out free meatballs all week at select locations throughout Brooklyn. Photo via @ikea_brooklyn on Twitter

Forget the clean lines, uniform aesthetic, and seamless assembly of the sterile-chic furniture supplier; for many Ikea shoppers, the Swedish meatballs are the real draw. But unless you live in Red Hook, or your big romantic move is bringing dates to play house in a reenactment of the quirky-cutesy-grating scene from 50 Days of Summer, you probably only hit up Ikea once or twice a year, at the most.

That means you’re only eating Swedish meatballs once or twice a year at the most! But, as a small summer treat, and a pretty straight forward promotion, Ikea Brooklyn is parking their food truck at select locations throughout Brooklyn and giving out free meatballs all week!

Yesterday, we spotted them at Grand Army Plaza, parked right in front of the Brooklyn Central Library. Follow @ikea_brooklyn and the hashtag #togetherweeat on Twitter to track their whereabouts over the next few days. (more…)

07/25/16 4:35pm
Here are five BK spots where you can tune into this for the week. Photo via @itgovandrebauer on Instagram

Here are five BK spots where you can tune into this for the week. Photo via @itgovandrebauer on Instagram

Leaked emails and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s resignation aside, the DNC kicks off today at 4pm with the theme of “united together” and will march on forward through Thursday night, with surely at least more gusto than the 51-foot-joint that deflated straight out the gate in DC earlier today. This week will have a star-studded lineup, a welcome change from last week’s horrors.

Tonight, Elizabeth Warren is the keynote speaker, and we’ll also hear from Bernie, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Michelle Obama. Tuesday night, Bill Clinton headlines, Wednesday Obama and Biden take the stage, and finally, on Thursday, Hillary, after an introduction by Chelsea, will accept the nomination.

While we didn’t hear word of any official BK watch parties, nor any Chillary Clinton frozen specials, we did find five Brooklyn bars where you can get your DNC drink and watch on this week, with a few happy hours to boot. We’ll be adding to the list throughout the week; if you know of anywhere, send us a shout out in the comments! (more…)