988 Manhattan Ave, at Huron St, Greenpoint
Drinks at The Habitat, Greenpoint’s newest bar, are served on blocks of gummy, satiny wood, like giant, unfinished Scrabble tiles — rugged to look at, velvet to the touch. That’s the general theme: vaguely rustic but elegantly modern, like Little House on the Prairie meets Frank Lloyd Wright’s creek-straddling Fallingwater, but a place that also serves eclectic booze and terrific bar food. If I were a real estate agent in Greenpoint, I’d bring people here. That’s how real estate works: You take the person to bars, right?
Habitat’s tight and tailored drink menu, which comes on a little wooden tablet like some kind of pioneer primer, highlights its 12 hearty draughts, including the Crop Circle Amber Ale and the Mother’s Milk Stout ($5 and $6), and a handful of select wines and summery cocktails, like the ridiculously fresh Nicole’s Famous Sangria ($7 glass, $23 pitcher — go for the pitcher) and the Pink Lemonade, with Absolut citron, fresh citrus and cranberry ($7). (Also worth noting, if you work unusual hours in Greenpoint or are able to leap directly into the G train from your office window, is the 4 to 7pm happy hour, which gets you 2-for-1 Victorys, Sixpoints and Harpoon IPAs; $2 off well drinks; and a $9 sangria-and-empanada combo. Have all of them!)
An unobtrusive (really) flat-screen TV hangs above the chalkboards and rustic wine racks, beside an antique cuckoo clock — one of the many littler details showing just how much effort the bar’s owner, Nicole Orlando, put into making the place so inviting. Lantern-style, frosted-glass lights drop down over the wood-and-stone bar, where you can drink your pints and eat Mini Cheesburgers (two for $8), Hummus, Olive Tapenade & Eggplant spread (with a a tart cucumber salad and doughy, deliciously warm pita, $6) or spicy, rich Mussels Fra Diavolo ($12) — plus, until the wee hours, empanadas and waffle fries ($2, $3).
It’s the perfect bar. Perfect service: friendly and considerate, never pushy, always relaxed. Perfect bathroom: big and woodsy, with framed pictures of sinks on the wall. Perfect atmosphere: airy but cool and a little bit dark — thoughtful while feeling effortless. Perfect tables: chewy, toothsome hunks of wood. Let’s all get on the G train, I’ll see you there in 17 hours.