Bars We Love: Hunker down at Fort Defiance

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Fort Defiance
365 Van Brunt St. (at Dikeman), Red Hook
(347) 453-6672

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What it is: Fort Defiance is a locally-sourced breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch bar and restaurant with a strong New Orleans bent (owner St. John Frizell lived and worked there for many years). It’s a welcoming neighborhood hangout that plenty of non Red Hook locals will make the trek for again and again.

Why we love it: In addition to serving up delicious food and drink every day of the week, the Fort offers nightly specials: Monday-Friday is oyster happy hour from 3-7; Monday is burger night; and Thursdays is all Tiki with “The Sunken Harbor Club,” featuring creative tropical drink specials (Samoan Fog Cutter anyone?) and a Polynesian-inspired food menu. It’s an establishment that equally favors New Orleans and Brooklyn, making it a safe-haven for NOLA expats and Brooklyn diehards alike.

What to order: Choose from a mix of local craft beers, like Sixpoint and Other Half, and New Orleans favorites Abita and Bayou Teche, on tap. Creole red beans on toast is a NOLA-inspired brunch favorite—pair it with perfect brunch cocktails Ramos Gin Fizz or a Bourbon Milk punch. At lunch or dinner, definitely try the lauded chicken liver pate with a Sazerac. And don’t forget the aforementioned Thursday night Sunken Harbor Club, where you can order tiki drinks such as the “Gunga Din,” a g ‘n t with cardamom and a twist.

Regular tip: Fort Defiance is named for Red Hook’s Revolutionary War stronghold where General Washington and his troops shot down British boats in the harbor during the Battle of Brooklyn.

Fort Defiance is a featured bar in the 2015 Cocktail Book, on sale now!

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