In a city where turnover is more the rule than the exception, it is not uncommon for restaurants and bars to have short lifespans. Some of my favorite stomping grounds from only three years ago are but distant memories in my mind’s eye, never to be seen again. It is no small feat in this town to maintain some semblance of longevity, especially in a place where tastes, trends, neighborhoods, and style is constantly evolving. That being said, we are always over the moon when fledgling restaurants celebrate anniversaries – it is a wonderful time to highlight their fine food, excellent service, and memorable ambiance that contributes to their staying power.
We visited Grand Ferry Tavern on a warm, breezy evening last week to ring in their two fantastic years on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg. It was one of those perfect summer nights that you think about all year round, not too humid, and makes you remember all of the things you love about New York.
The Grand Ferry website categorizes itself as “Not done fancy, just done right,” and I couldn’t agree more. Located a stone’s throw away from the beautiful North Brooklyn waterfront, this rustic bar pays homage to old New York, with a gloriously large oak bar, an exceptional cocktail list, and a sprawling menu advertising elevated tavern fare. Everything I sampled played its own role in bringing the menu together, some dishes with more of a twist than others, like the completely vegetarian pot-pie, and some classic in their own right, like the beef-burger with pickled slaw and thick cut Idaho potatoe French fries. Grand Ferry’s seasonal cocktail list harmonized perfectly with this menu, with favorites being the classic Manhattan and the Juan Daly, a tequila based cocktail with lemonade and iced tea, clinking with just the right sized ice cubes.
The house Manhattan was crafted with a bourbon made especially for Grand Ferry Tavern and served nowhere else on earth. It’s called Barrel #2308, it’s aged in Kentucky, and it is a 110-proof single barrel bourbon that will knock your socks off. I highly recommend getting over to Grand Ferry as soon as possible to try it for yourself. Get there early to enjoy a half-priced oyster platter (4-6pm, 11-12pm, (1am Sat & Sun)), slug a cocktail or two, and then walk over to the sunset. You won’t regret it.
Twisted Talk: What’s your favorite spot to grab a drink in Williamsburg? Have you been to Grand Ferry Tavern? Discuss below!