While the string of crowded watering holes flourishing on Franklin Street dominates Greenpoint’s bar scene, a quieter, more intimate atmosphere awaits a few blocks away on Greenpoint Avenue. The cozy new Gypsy Bar, which opened in August, has dodged the faux-rustic and themed traps that many craft-beer centered bars fall in to and instead cultivated a warm neighborhood vibe with simple interiors and 12 well-chosen, rotating taps.
Slightly off the beaten path, between Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard, Gypsy Bar is a calm oasis where you don’t have to yell to be heard. On a recent Saturday evening, a sweet, subtle indie soundtrack was set to a low volume, ideal for the softly lit room, where bare bulbs hung over the dark wood bar. Communal benches and rough-hewn tables with chairs lined the spare white wall opposite the bar and an antique wood-burning stove filled with burning candles emitted a subtle, fiery glow.
The bartender, who mentioned that she had visited the Hofbräuhaus beer hall in Munich when we asked to taste the Hofbräu Oktoberfest ($6), shared her broad knowledge about the beers on tap and offered a taste of a number of excellent brews.
My boyfriend and I focused on American drafts, including the Stone Pale Ale ($6), a strong Southern California beer with a smooth finish; the Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale ($6 and brewed in Westchester), a slightly sweet, but crisp, ale with just the right amount of autumnal spice; and the Founders Porter ($7), a rich brew from Grand Rapids with a chocolaty mocha flavor and an intense kick.
Alongside the eclectic selection of American drafts, internationals like La Chouffe ($8) and the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel ($7) were waiting, as well as a fairly wide choice in bottled beers. Though the wine selection was sparse, the full-bar was ample, with a multitude of smallbatch bourbons including Woodford Reserve ($8) and Buffalo Trace bourbon ($9).
And to stave off your hunger pangs, one of the owners, Steve Duffy, who doubles as Gypsy Bar’s chef, devised a fresh, vegetarian-friendly bar menu that includes veggie tacos ($7 for three) and hummus and homemade pita chips ($4) alongside Bratwursts ($8) and sliders ($7 for four) for the meat eaters. He says he plans to roll out an expanded menu, with new entrées and brunch options, in January.
After enjoying a few rounds, running into some old friends unexpectedly and conversing late into the night, it became clear to me that Gypsy Bar invites long talks in earnest and bonding over fine beer in a charmingly serene environment.
>> Gypsy Bar 159 Greenpoint Ave. (at Manhattan Ave.), Brooklyn, 347-227-8531.