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Tuesday
Feb112014

Pharmacy Coming to Former Odd Twin Space on 5th

It's been a little under five months since Odd Twin, the vintage chothing and accessories shop that opened on the corner of 5th and Degraw in 2009, closed up shop, and a new tenant has been lined up for the space: a pharmacy.

Not many details are available, but the owners have been granted a permit to build out a new storefront so we can expect to see a sidewalk shed go up in the coming weeks.

Considering the size of the space, we can probably expect this pharmacy to resemble many of the other corner pharmacies in the area, most of which are up on Seventh. There actually aren't any pharmacies to be found on the stretch of 5th between Emcon near Bergen and Neergard near 9th Street, so this one should do quite well for those looking to grab something quick.

Photo via Park Slope Stoop

Wednesday
Feb052014

Open for Business: Parish Bar, 223 7th Avenue

The first new bar to open on Seventh Avenue north of Ninth Street in years opened late last month between 3rd and 4th Streets, nearly two years since news first broke that a bar was heading for the space and about three years since City Casuals, the clothing shop it's replacing, closed.

The new bar, called Parish, is run by the husband-and-wife duo of Lisanne Mackenzie and her husband Chris (Lisanne is actually the daughter of City Casuals owner Esther Levitt). It's clear that they've put a ton of work into this space, and it's quite attractive. There's a big window up front, revealing a 12-seat bar made from two pieces of Southern black walnut, a spacious back lounge area with a high-tech projector system, and a big back patio that's going to double in size come springtime. All the colors are muted earth tones, and there's more decorative walnut on the ceiling. And as a very nice touch, the bar underside has not only coat hooks, but plugs. There are also two flat-screen TVs above the bar.

You can certainly call it a cocktail lounge, but there's an impressive selection of beer and wine as well. Cocktails use all fresh-squeezed juices and are $11 (which is on the low end these days), and include the Parish Cocktail (Tanqueray, lemon juice, fresh apples, grapes, and mint); Brooklyn on the Bayou (Makers Mark, Hennessy, absinthe, sugar, and bitters); and the Violette Bramble (Beefeater gin, creme de violette, bramble jam, and lemon juice). All well drinks are made with good-quality booze (Tito's vodka, for example), and cost $8. Here's the beer list:

Also quite reasonable; there's also a nice selection of wines by the glass, and several available on tap.

There's a tiny kitchen area just beyond the bar, so any food that comes out of it will probably be quite simple. At the moment there's a nice-looking charcuterie plate that they've been giving away to customers free of charge, and sandwiches are in the works.

It'll open at noon on the weekends and stay open until 2 or 3, and during the week it'll open at 4 and close at 1.There are no current plans for a happy hour.

This bar is about as mature as it gets, but also knows that its audience might also want to drop in to watch a big game. You can stop in and pay $11 for a craft cocktail or you can pay $6 for a Lagunitas IPA from a rotating tap list. You can sit at the bar and watch the Knicks; you can sit in the back or the patio and have a romantic nightcap with a cheese plate and a glass of wine. It's not trying to be all things to all people, it just lets you decide what kind of bar you want it to be. And while it's not exactly cozy, it's classy, welcoming, and unpretentious.

Parish Bar, 223 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215.

Tuesday
Feb042014

Facade Work Underway at 92 7th Avenue, 235-7 5th Avenue

Three of the most prime prime empty retail spaces in Park Slope are the ones on Fifth Avenue just north of Carroll Street and on Seventh just north of Union, and both have recently ramped up construction.

The Fifth Avenue storefronts, which were last home to Joe's Shoe Repair Shop and the mythical His & Hers Social and Athletic Club, have been gutted (along the rest of the building) over the past year or so, and the longtime scaffolding came down a couple months ago. Some plywood has gone up over the two facades, and it appears as if these are the earliest stages of rebuilding them as a matching set. It's been rumored that Luke's Lobster Bar is moving into at least one of the two spaces, but I wouldn't be surprised if they took over the entire ground floor.

Up the slope, the Seventh Avenue space that was last home to Chiles & Chocolate, which swapped places with longtime tenant Amin in June 2011 before closing that October and sitting vacant since, is currently being dismantled and a sidewalk shed has gone up, with permits issued to rebuild the facade. Landlord Nick Kostonis has been having a difficult time renting the space as-is, so he's apparently decided to replace the laquered-wood face with something a little more modern. Construction workers told me that the space has yet to be rented; the current asking price is $12,800/month. The space next door, last home to Yogo Monster, has also sat empty for quite some time; Berman Realty is asking for $10,500/ month. So what's better for a landlord: lowering the rent, or letting a space sit empty for years?

Monday
Feb032014

Open for Business: Buttermilk Bakeshop, 339 7th Avenue

Park Slope's newest bakery, Buttermilk Bakeshop, opened up at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, and on both Saturday and Sunday they were entirely sold out by 4 p.m.

The owner, pastry chef Katie Rosenhouse, is a French Culinary Institute grad who was previously head pastry chef for the David Burke Restaurant Group, and there's clearly some real skill on display here. Everything from the baguettes to the croissants to the macarons, cookies, cupcakes, whoopie pies, linzer tortes, tarts, and cakes are baked on-premises throughout the day, many based on old family recipes, and they're all on display as well as several varieties of gelato (here's the menu).

Rosenhouse (above) can be spotted at all times at the workspace behind the counter, frosting cupcakes and replenishing the stock, which includes more than 30 individual items available at any time. Because it's such a small smace, the oven, workbench, mixer, and other equipment are at the center of the action and visible from the front window, giving it all a very transparent, hands-on vibe. The front counter area is also quite small, so don't be surprised if you see lines out the door. Everything I've tried from there has also been pretty damn tasty, another reason why there might be lines out the door.

The bakery is open Tuesday - Friday from 7:30-7:30, Saturday from 10-8, and Sunday from 10-6.

Buttermilk Bakeshop, 339 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. Phone: 347-689-4376.

Thursday
Jan302014

A Sneak Peek at Taco Santo, Opening Saturday

The neighborhood's newest taqueria will be opening on February 1, and I had the opportunity to drop by and see what they have in store.

The menu is pretty simple and straightforward (click on it for a larger image), with a handful of tacos topping out at $5, and a few additional items like quesadillas, huaraches, flan, and rice and beans. I tried the braised rabbit taco (below), a lobster taco, and mushroom, and can say that this is seriously gourmet. You'll most likely need a few of these to fill up (they're relatively small, averaging about 3 bites), but are worth the price: tortillas are made to order and only super-high quality ingredients are used. The $5 for a dozen tortillas also are a pretty good deal.

Front-of-house and bar manager Corey Lange has put together a pretty solid bar program, as well: There's a handful of beers on draft, including the Mexican Victoria, and there's a small but focused selection of mezcals and cocktails based on them.

The restaurant looks pretty much the same as it did when it was Fort Reno, but the counter, which used to be where you'd place your order and pick up your food, will now be additional seating as they've switched to table service. When they open the hours will be fairly standard, but as the goal is to be a place where you either begin or end your evening, they're planning on eventually staying open until 2 a.m.

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