220 Conover St, between Coffey and Dikeman Sts
Red Hook
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 797-2297

Hours: Tue-Wed 6pm-12am Fri 6pm-3am Sat 2pm-3am Sun 2pm-12am
The first time I visited Botanica there was a group of patrons sitting outside, enjoying the summer weather. Then I realized they were actually using the sidewalk seating to wait for the B77 bus. After all, this is Red Hook, where people take the Ikea shuttle to the methadone clinic, and where, despite the success of a few higher-end eateries like the Good Fork and Baked, dive bars have ruled the social scene. But now, with a gaggle of fancier post-Ikea spots threatening the dilapidated charm we’ve come to expect from the neighborhood, the question is: Is Red Hook ready for a premium cocktail, wine and beer bar offering a stout that costs more than most Swedish storage solutions? Hansen admits he’s worried about the challenge of drawing people to Red Hook, and Botanica’s barren, cobblestoned stretch of Conover Street does seem too dingy to draw the frou-frou drinking crowd (and a seemingly premature opening didn’t help). But the owners are well-intentioned, and if they can funnel their schizophrenic to-do list into one coherent realization, it could be enough to lure Red Hookers, more distant Brooklynites and the occasional lost Ikea shopper desperately in need of a drink before attempting to assemble a Grevbäck.-Bret Stetka

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