The Great Georgiana
248 Dekalb Avenue, Fort Greene
The Great Georgiana has been a long time coming. Owners Dominic Tracy, James Gragg and Chris Connor set their sights on the space back in late 2011 when word got out that the previous occupant, the beloved coffee shop Tillie’s, would close. After some construction-related obstacles, typical pushback from kill-joy community board members, and a brief setback when they were denied a liquor license because the piece of paper stating that they’d requested one wasn’t hung in a prominent-enough place, they’re finally open.
Despite the tumult of the past two years, the new bar is most notable for how peaceful it is. The lighting is warm and inviting; the music, though deeply uncool by any measure, is a relaxing and strangely enjoyable mix of new jazz and soul. The wood, from the single six-seat high-top to the bar stools and the long row of small tables lining the wall, is dark and unadorned. The patrons who braved the 8-degree temperatures on the night I visited sat in small groups and talked quietly. There’s even a gorgeous old card catalog inthe back.
It’s an exceedingly pleasant place, though it seems somewhat unsure of exactly what kind of place it wants to be. I suppose it’s a bar, first and foremost, but there’s something about the layout (and the unexpected table service) that says restaurant. The food menu boasts a mixture of small plates and entrée like Beef in a Mother’s Milk stout with caramelized onions and mashed potatoes ($18) and Braised Pork Shoulder with Grilled Tomatillos ($15). We stuck with the small stuff like a cheese and meat plate ($12) with slightly bland prosciutto, a Danish blue cheese, and Delice de Bourgogne, a delicious and creamy French cheese that’s so rich it’s almost indistinguishable from butter. We also had wings ($12), but not your standard variety: they’re baked and marinated in greek yogurt with jalapeño, cilantro and Middle Eastern spices.
As for the drinks, there’s a solid selection of wines by the bottle or glass, the latter ranging from $7 to $10. The cocktail list is small but well-considered. I had an outstanding bourbon drink called The Hightower ($12), made with Buffalo Trace, fresh lemon and Giffard ginger. The beer list is decent if not terribly exciting. Draft options skew local (or at least regional), with common offerings from Kelso, Captain Lawrence, Empire, and the like. It’s hard to imagine going too far out of your way to visit the Great Georgiana, but the same could be said of 95 percent of the bars in Brooklyn. This is another fine local spot that does many things very well, even if it could stand to do most of them a little better.