05/01/15 11:08am

The Castello Plan in Ditmas Park

The Castello Plan
1213 Cortelyou Rd. (at Argyle)
Ditmas Park

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What it is: The snazzy, woody bar and restaurant is a pillar of “the new Smith Street,” as Marty Markowitz has called Cortelyou Road.

Why we love it: Rustic but not pig-farmy, trend-conscious but not precious, Castello Plan is highbrow modern Brooklyn but not achingly so. Castello’s wide-ranging  menu has an adventurous side (gazpacho with white peach and seared squid) but doesn’t thumb its nose at updated classics (tagliatelle with tomato pesto and pecorino.) Bring a date, for sure, or old friends you want to catch up with while feeling like you’ve done well for yourselves. Uninformed people who ignorantly equate your fantasy of moving to gorgeous Ditmas Park with words like “finished,” “suburbia” and “Queens?”

What to order: All-you-can eat mussels on Monday nights ($11), oysters for $1 on Saturday afternoons, the charcuterie platter any time. Choose from 16 beers including seven European craft labels. The cocktail menu is divided into “Classic” and “Signature,” so you can opt for a Sazerac (founded in 1838 in New Orleans, as the menu annotates) first and then a “Kentucky Two-Timer” (bourbon, antica formula, mint tea, lavender, black pepper, toasted coriander). Meet somewhere in the middle with “Brooklyn Crossing” a classic dirty martini using pickles from the Pickle Guys.  At daily happy hours from 4 to 8, beer is $4 and cocktails and wine are $6. Also, brunch.

Regular tip: The name refers to Jacques Cortelyou’s first map of lower Manhattan. Delightful owners Ben Heemskerk and Mauri Weakley also own the richly curated Collyer Mansion home store on nearby Stratford Road and Lea, an Italo-terranean spot where Vox Pop used to be.

Enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails at the Castello Plan with our 2015 Cocktail Book, on sale now!

sycamore brooklyn

via Sycamore

Sycamore
1118 Cortelyou Rd. (between Stratford Rd & Westminster), Ditmas Park,
347-240-5850

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What it is: Sycamore has been called the “coziest bar in Brooklyn,” and while we aren’t ready to throw Brokelyn’s editorial might behind that assertion, we’ll put it squarely in the running, with its bricky, whiskeyed, wool-sweatery feel, friendly bartenders and one’s tendency to get sucked in and never leave.

Why we love it: Sycamore is like a Catskills bar because it’s mostly locals during the week but Saturday nights it gets packed—and we mean that—with weekenders from parts unknown, ie, not Ditmas Park. In warm weather, the backyard is made for letting lost afternoons spill over into the wee hours. Plus, there’s a sweet flower shop named Stems in the front of the house—what other bar has that? Bring whiskey and craft beer lovers and everyone else. Hard to find anyone who doesn’t like this place. Lately, the bar has been beefing up the events: a monthly Star Sign Party on the ides of every month features tarot reading, drink specials and flower crowns from Stems. Sycamore also hosts a monthly Beer Club that spotlights a different brewery every month. A monthly Queer Party (Ditmas Park’s only!) called Q-Train features live performances on the lit-up bar (!)

What to order: Ask the bartender to choose a whiskey chaser for your beer. You won’t be disappointed.

Regular tip: Ditmas Parkers still talk about that time The National popped by and played an unannounced set because they live in the neighborhood and what else does The National do on Tuesday afternoons? 

03/06/15 11:00am
Bar Chord

Bar Chord

Bar Chord, 1008 Cortelyou Road, (Stratford and Coney Island ave), Ditmas Park

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What it is: A charming locals’ bar with plenty of soul and sound. From an impressive jukebox to even more impressive daily live performances, this candlelit bar is a great time any night of the week. Also home to Underdog Guitars, a carefully curated selection of vintage guitars for sale and on display. A definite music hub for the neighborhood.

Why we love it: Live music, funky guitars, a large and inviting backyard (heated in winter, people), eight rotating taps, and plenty of great cocktails on the menu. It’s easy to see why this Cortelyou bar quickly won the hearts of locals and live music lovers alike. It’s busy but not packed, so grab a seat and enjoy the nightly 9pm performance. Check the calendar first because often it’s jazz, but many other musical genres grace the stage—either way rest assured that music is a constant and loud. Bring friends or lovers who are into live music and want to see a great performance. Good for groups, something more intimate or basically anything. (Did we mention live music?)

What to order: Craft beers on draught, wines by the glass, a solid selection of whiskeys and agave based spirits. For cocktails the Mezcal Mule is a must-have. Plenty of free bar snacks.

Regular tip: The jukebox is praiseworthy enough with its fantastic selection of albums, but slip 2 bucks in there and you’ll get 7 songs!

01/25/15 12:33am

Wheated, 905 Church Ave., between East 11th St. and Coney Island Ave., 347-240-2813

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What it is: A small but stylish pizza, beer and cocktail place on booming Church Avenue. There’s a lively bar scene up front and tables in the back for more committed diners.

Why we love it: Because nobody here is gluten-free.

What to order: Salads are so big you’ll need a scythe to get through them. Inventive sourdough pizzas named (somewhat randomly) after Brooklyn neighborhoods dare you to try them all. With toppings that range from pecorino-romano to fennel sausage and figs, you can’t go wrong with any of the pies, but the Windsor Terrace (plum tomatoes, garlic, red onions, basil, fresh & aged mozzarella, Pecorino-Romano, hot sopressata and red bell pepper) is a standout. 

Pro tip: NYC pizza poobah Adam Kuban recently put Wheated’s jalapeño and sausage pie on his list of “8 pizzas that haunt my dreams.”