195 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
If we’ve all started to take certain features of our favorite bars for granted—artfully chosen light fixtures, intricate woodwork, the use of mirrors to maximize natural light—it’s (at least in part) thanks to Evan and Oliver Haslegrave, the brothers behind the prolific design firm hOmE (and the interiors of DuckDuck, Donna, and Manhattan Inn, just to name a few). A mere two months after the opening of hOmE-designed Tørst, the Haslegraves have proven yet again that their formula is a winning one, this time as co-owners (along with Brooklyn Star’s Nick Padilla and Waine Longwell) of Alameda.
Formerly a coffee shop, the new space is exactly what you’d hope a collaboration between some of Brooklyn’s most seasoned bar vets would be—and, on the night we visited, remarkably calm for a just-opened venture. As expected, the interior is brightened up with generous white paneling and eye-catching woodwork, and Longwell’s drink menu nods back to the Brooklyn Star’s, with a penchant for margaritas, spicy vodka (here in oyster shooters) and a liberal use of smoke flavor. The Mezcal-based “Roberto Burns” is not for the faint of heart. Not even for the sort-of-faint.
But the place is also set up to be a crowd-pleaser, with a few unexpected additions (like the Guiness-and-prosecco Black Velvet) and solid takes on staples (a requisite Manhattan) alongside an affordable, foolproof list of $6 drafts and $4-$5 bottles. The wine list is a little short and light, especially if it’s meant to stand up against a food menu that includes country ham and pork sausage. But this isn’t really the type of place most people come to for the wine. The menu, smaller than the Star’s, is a solid rotation of well-executed under-$12 options that can serve as bar snacks or an entire meal, depending on how you use them. If you ordered two or three plates of the stellar fried baby artichokes, well, no one would blame you. But the $17 “Foie Gras Breakfast Sandwich,” which comes with bacon, smoked cheddar, egg, apple butter, and pickled shallots, is a bit much on a typical night—it’s also nice to have around, though, if you need to soak up the night’s drinks and start all over again.