Until my most recent trip to New York, I wasn’t overly familiar with Brooklyn. I’d been to Luna Park in Coney Island, and perused the smorgasbord of stalls at a Brooklyn Flea market, and can highly recommend both – but I’d never really explored any further. On the first night of this trip, however, we had two recommendations for our one night in Williamsburg, so we took the subway out under the East River just before sunset.
Chris and I headed for the Wythe Hotel, a converted factory on the Williamsburg waterfront that is now a super trendy 70-room hotel with a stunning interior and fabulous views of Manhattan.
I took a peak at some of the rooms and they’re fabulous – Wythe is now firmly on my list of places to stay next time I fancy a change of scenery in NY!
We entered the lobby to find a line of people waiting for the lifts to take them to the top floor bar, The Ides. Clearly others had had the same idea of a sunset skyline view and drinks.
While queuing, I checked out Reynard restaurant, just off the lobby. The interior is beautiful – exposed brick, tiled floors and reclaimed lighting, plus the original masonry, lofted pine beams, arched windows and cast-iron columns, all of which have been beautifully preserved from 1901, when the building was constructed as a cooperage.
Eventually we got our space in the elevator, and shot up to the top of the building. The Ides serves drinks and bar snacks, with fabulous views over the surrounding Williamsburg industrial and dock areas, and out across East River to Manhattan.
It was turning from dusk to dark as we took a seat by the window, to quaff wine and beer, and nibble on olives, almonds and chorizo.
Once there, the five of us congregated by the bar to wait for our table, and Old Fashioneds were ordered all round. Another typically Brooklyn style interior, with stripped wooden floorboards, dark wood, mood lighting and a tin-tiled ceiling.
The place was busy and buzzing, and the staff were super friendly; we were soon seated (five of us squashed onto a four person table – cosy!) and deliberation over the menu began.
In typical indecisive fashion, we ordered a load of starter plates to share – Island Creek Oysters; Brussel sprouts with pecorino, bacon & capers; Scotch egg; grilled scallop ceviche; and a grilled artichoke. I don’t have anything negative to say about any of these dishes.
Then main courses. Around the table we had a Mac & Cheese; some St Louis-style BBQ ribs; a Spring Ravioli with ricotta, parmesan broth, English peas & asparagus; pan-roasted Scottish salmon. (I hadn’t appreciated until now just how many British ingredients were included in the menu!)
I had had a hard time deciding between the BBQ ribs (they were served with candied pecans – my absolute favourite!) and the grilled Berkshire pork belly. In the end, the ribs were absolutely fantastic – incredibly meaty and just like a slow-cooked lamb shank in that the meat just fell off the bone. I made the right choice, for sure.
Underneath Rye is the Bar Below. On our server’s recommendation – and whisperings that Florence Welch (minus “The Machine”) was downstairs – our curiosity was piqued, so we went downstairs to have a look around.
The long cavernous space was glowingly lit and busy with post-dinner drinkers. No sightings of Florence however 🙁 and besides, we already had a drinking and dancing spot in mind – another Uber car was ordered and we headed back to Wythe Avenue to Output.
Output is a vast, neon-lit dance club in a converted warehouse. Huge, and with so many rooms and staircases that you could easily lose your friends all night, we partied into the early hours and paid homage to the Beastie Boys song “No sleep till Brooklyn“.
I guess a 5am bedtime is one way to banish jet lag?!
247 S. 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
74 Wythe Ave, Brookyln, NY 11211