Til the Sun Comes Up — March 20, 2015 at 3:20 pm

A New Niche in Williamsburg: Billet and Bellows

by
via her-photo.com

via her-photo.com

Located a few blocks off of the trendy, artsy Bedford Avenue, this bar fits right in: dim lighting, exposed brick, and light blues beckoned us into Billet and Bellows. Owner Kristina Kozak immediately welcomed us; friendly, attentive, and engaging, she told us the story behind Billet and Bellows, its transition from an antique store to a bar, and her plans for designing and building into the future.

What makes this place so unique, aside from the incredible food and cocktails, is the vested interest Kozak has in it: a blacksmith, she handmade the bar stools, the bar (made of onyx, plexiglass, plywood, and beautifully lit with LEDs), benches, and smaller detailed metal work throughout the bar. Raw, honest, and intricate, these pieces enveloped the space, giving it a metallic energy that thrived throughout the night. Covering the back wall were deer racks, ranging from small antler skeletons to larger, wooden art pieces. As Kozak reminisced on how she acquired these pieces through a flea market with her father, her passion, personality, and artistry shined through, evident in everything she undertakes.

chicklivertoast           mcpic

We began our night with the food menu (only two weeks old!): mac ‘n cheese, chicken liver toast, deviled eggs, and grilled cheese. Kozak explains she wanted to create “elevated pub food” to fit the atmosphere: unassuming, approachable, and elegant. And she certainly delivered. As we inhaled our food, we caught whiffs of caramelized onions, gruyere, dublin cheddar, and pork cracklins. Aside from bringing me back to my southern childhood, this comfort food was rich, delicate, and gorgeous.

deviledeggs

Artistic even to the drink menu, ranging from classic cocktails to “heavy on metal,” Billet and Bellows gave us the full treatment: Hearth & Anvil, The Crucible, Journeyman Black Walnut Manhattan, and Rosemary Infused Greyhound. A house favorite, Hearth & Anvil consisted of laird’s apple brandy and bulleit bourbon. Smooth, with just enough of that Kentucky bourbon edge, this drink was a clear favorite for us, too. The Crucible, made with bombay sapphire gin and raspberry puree, was biting and sweet, so aptly named. The Journeyman Black Walnut Manhattan, another favorite, consisting of michter’s 1 us rye, carpano antica, nocello, and aromatic bitters, was warm, comforting, and soothing. With a hearty nut flavor and whiskey undertone, this drink hit the spot. Lastly, another staple, Rosemary Infused Greyhound, contained tito’s vodka, ruby red grapefruit juice, and rosemary syrup. Dangerously delightful, this drink had the perfect mixture of vodka and juice, sweet with just the right kick.

On our way out, stuffed to the brim and cocktail-happy, we noticed many regulars arriving, some solitary in suits, others groups of moms gathering and drinking away the worries of the day, and a few couples enjoying a quick date night. Ultimately, Kozak’s goal is to create a niche within the Williamsburg scene and provide an alternate to other bars. And she has without a doubt; perhaps a more artsy version of Cheers, Billet and Bellows certainly made us feel like family– kind, knowledgeable staff, fantastic food, and one-of-a-kind cocktails, this bar suits every need, from first dates to friendships and drinks. Check it out, and be prepared to be transported into a mystical, rustic, iron-wrought world.

 Twisted Talk: What’s your go to Williamsburg bar? Have you been to Billet & Bellows? Discuss below!

One Comment

  1. Artsy? Bedford ave? I think you have the wrong neighborhood. your probably thinking like Williamsburg 5 years ago.
    It looks wonderful and this comment has nothing to take away from Billet and bellows but I don’t think you’ve done your homework on the contemporary douche boom in Willaimsburg.
    Also you use the term “artsy” to liberally. if we are talking about aesthetics here it’s more something like nouveau rustic or just good old fashion rustic.
    take note

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