661 Sackett St., Brooklyn
Rating: 3 of of 5 L's
Visiting this boxy little boite is like hitting the housewarming party of a couple that just rented their first apartment together. (So, if you're going through a break-up, subtract an L and grab a seat that faces away from the squared-off dark-wood bar.) Lovebird owners Ann Jhun and Michael Ragolia are still getting settled in—some wiring snakes out from the exposed brick, houseplants in mismatched pots sit on the windowsills, an amateur oil painting hangs on the wall, and a tiny silver TV is shoved up in the corner. The mirrors pasted to the wall may have been left by the previous owners, along with the ceiling fan.
Still, you can imagine the couple behind the bar falling in love with this snug and homey space the moment they set their eyes on it. As soon as all the patrons are plied with beer and house cocktails, the owners give each other a little squeeze and pull apart wearing matching silly grins, beaming at this little piece of heaven they've found on a Park Slope side street.
The cocktail list is scribbled on a blackboard in tiny lettering, and $8 house drinks all skew to the sweeter side of the beverage spectrum. The signature Sackett cocktail blends Johnny Walker Red with amaretto, Cointreau, and a splash of orange bitters, and even their jalapeno daiquiri—rum muddled with hot peppers and lime—gets doused with simple syrup.
If you don't have a sweet tooth, stick with the four beers on tap from respectable breweries like Sixpoint, Victory, Troegs and Smuttynose. And stop by before 7pm for happy hour specials like $1 Genesee Cream Ales on Mondays and Tuesdays. By mid-November, the bar will also be serving up chip-and-dip plates and toasted sandwiches—the proposed menu includes prosciutto, gorgonzola and pear on a ciabatta, and turkey, cranberry chutney and pepper jack on a roll.
There's an indie-heavy jukebox on the wall, but the soundtrack is often handled by an iPod on shuffle. While pouring a Manhattan into a martini glass, Jhun apologizes for the playlist, explaining that some of the tracks on the new Flaming Lips album are almost unlistenable out of context. The Lips' sound collage is dispersed by Jeff Buckley's musty but accessible "Last Goodbye." Combining two divergent music libraries can be a challenge for any couple, but the love in this bar seems built to last.