Brooklyn has no shortage of bars with extensive beer menus, but few offer food that's as fancy as their brews. No complaints about Bar Great Harry's warmed-up DUB Pies or Radegast's spaetzle, pretzels, and brats, of course—but if you want to pair a Sixpoint Brownstone ($6) with a fried oyster sandwich piled with crunchy cabbage-apple slaw and creamy chervil tartar sauce ($11), then you've got to make your way to Strong Place.
Named after one of the prettiest residential blocks in Cobble Hill, Strong Place is actually on Court Street. It gets more foot traffic than its Italian sister-spot, Bocca Lupo on Henry, but it has the same neighborhoody feel. There are a couple of booth-like tables in the front windows, tables in the back, and even some seating in the yard when the weather permits—but we'd recommend sitting at the bar, where pretty bartenders make small talk while offering quick pours from the 24 taps. Draft beers are served in 12-ounce glasses—which means you're only getting three quarters of a pint, but the smaller glasses make it easier to sample more brews before you get too full (or fall drunkenly off your bar stool). Warm up on a chilly night with a complex and malty Allagash Black ($5) and then move on to the Ballast Point Navigator ($6), a rich and dark doppelbock with a boozy 8.9 percent ABV and notes of toffee and cocoa.
Eating Well at Strong Place
The lights are low and the bar is wide enough that you won't feel crowded—even if you're sharing a bunch of their not-so-small plates. Don't miss the crisp, salty, house-made waffle chips with onion dip ($6) and be sure to ask for a little homemade spicy ketchup on the side, too. For a lighter snack, get the fresh cucumber, jicama and mango ($5), which are cut like French fries, marinated in chili and lime, and attractively served in a Mason jar. For bigger appetites, the littleneck clams and bratwurst ($11) come in a buttery and garlicky beer broth—you'll want extra bread to soak it all up. The elegant sauteed skate wing comes with perfectly prepared, juicy head-on-shrimp, sauteed watercress and a touch of Thai curry ($15). For something a little more adventurous, try the brook trout—its three crisp-skinned fillets are easy to share, paired with fresh grapefruit, tender fennel, and an unexpected swirl of creamy vanilla sauce ($14) that pairs well with a smooth stout. And after such a grown-up meal, you deserve another round.
Photos by Ashley Minette