Pinkerton: The Good Life

05/26/2010 2:00 AM |

Pinkerton, 263 N. 6th St, Williamsburg
Rating: 3 out of 5 L’s

There is something strangely comforting about this wine bar. Perhaps it’s the name, a reference to the last good Weezer album, which I sang along to in my bedroom as a gawky teenager. More likely it’s the owner, a man with a bushy beard by the name of Thomas Hudson. He is the bar’s only employee. He is a friendly fellow who pours with a generous hand, leaving customers to handle their glasses carefully, lest any of the wine spill over the brim.

Sitting in the orange stools at the bar, it’s hard not to notice the giant oil painting in front of you: A melancholy boy in a prep-school uniform standing next to his equally unhappy sister, who is holding a white cat. It looks like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. If the Kinks started playing, I would fully expect Owen Wilson to walk into the bar in slow motion.

The painting is one of the very few changes Hudson has made to the space since its last incarnation, neighborhood Italian spot n.6. Same white-tiled floors, same spare wooden tables and chairs, same tea light glow on the blond wooden bar. Gone, however, is the food. In its place, Hudson has picked out a small selection of his favorite New World wines, many from California and Oregon, along with a few local craft beers.

Specials ensure that even indigent freelance writers can afford to drink, with a $4 Chardonnay here and a $3 beer there. Wines top out at about $11 per glass; my Charles & Charles Red, a full and fruity blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, was a steal at $9, especially considering the pour. Pick from a small selection of excellent cheeses from nearby Bedford Cheese Shop, the only edible items available besides a bowl of rosemary olives, which seems odd as there is a large kitchen visible just beyond the bar. The two draught beers are chosen with care. I sipped a Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold, a wonderfully potent, honey-kissed Tripel.

Pinkerton is, overall, a charming work in progress. It’s filled with good will and 90s indie tunes, but I can’t help think it lacks a little ambition. Funkier furniture to liven up the empty trattoria vibe, a paint job and an expanded menu would do wonders. Hudson says he’s making changes as time and money permit, and that for now he’s happy with the small but regular crowd. I only hope it’s enough to sustain this little wine bar in a city so often hostile to modest dreams.