For years, Brooklyn has been the hipster HQ of New York City and the two northern neighborhoods, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, have gained a strikingly solid reputation of excellent nightlife and dining opportunities, with new bars and eateries popping up all the time. The nightlife in the two neighborhoods is a refreshing change from Midtown Manhattan’s expense account, bottle-service venues. You come as you are and drinks come cheap.
The air in Williamsburg is thick with underplayed coolness and the streets are full of young, struggling artists waiting for their big breakthrough. Older, settled people are a rare sight in Williamsburg and my friend, who is in her 30s just like me, confessed that even though she really loves Williamsburg, she would never consider moving there, as she’s afraid she would feel terribly old.
For a little more down-paced feel but with the same unpolished vibe, Brooklyn’s most northern neighborhood, Greenpoint, is the place to go. In the summer, a lot of the Greenpoint bars turn into beer gardens so you can sit outside and enjoy and ice-cold beer. One of the popular places to go for beer gardening in Greenpoint is Spritzenhaus on Nassau Street just north of McCarren Park.
Spritzenhaus was not our first choice for the evening as our original plan was to go and check out the Danish bar Tørst, which is also in Greenpoint. However, when we got there, it looked rather empty and not as cozy as I had expected it to be, so we decided to save that for another day and went to Spritzenhaus instead.
Spritzenhaus is one big, bad beer fortress and along the bar, I spotted what must have been hundreds of beer taps, just waiting to serve the thirsty clientele. We placed our orders in the bar and got a ticket so we could pick up the food from another counter. None of us were particularly hungry, but sausages and fries just makes beer taste even better, so we ordered a hotdog and a portion of Belgian fries with truffle oil just for the sake of it. The fries were really good and the aioli/truffle oil combo was just a match made in heaven, but the hotdog topping was a bit too experimental for my taste.
I was really happy that I had decided to leave the heels and fancy dress at home, as I would most definitely have felt rather awkward wearing anything like that at Spritzenhaus, where the unofficial dress-code apparently was a pair of jeans, a top and lots of tattoos.
The open windows and the high ceilings means that this is not a place for quiet conversation, as you have to yell to make yourself heard, but after a few beers, the odd choices of heavy metal music and the horrible acoustics somehow starts to make sense…
• Spritzenhaus is truly come-as-you-are and nobody cares what you’re wearing, but you’ll probably fit in much better in jeans and a tank top than in heels and a dress.
• The easiest way to get there from Manhattan is to take the L-train to Bedford. From Bedford, Spritzenhaus is only a short walk away.