d.b.a. 113 North 7th St, Bklyn, 718-218-6006 Rating: 3Ls
Williamsburg bars come in many forms. Retro cocktail dens. Enormous beer gardens. Divey holes with Pitchfork-approved jukeboxes. And most are designed to appeal to the neighborhood’s stylish demographic in one way or another. But now add to the list a bar where regular guys throw back beer and whiskey in blue button-ups and Ralph Lauren polos? In Williamsburg?
The owners of East Village favorite d.b.a. have opened a sister outpost in the old Laila Lounge space, and the intention is the same: great beers and great liquor for relatively low prices. But while the original bar draws dude-heavy swarms of after-work professionals, judging by the dearth of patrons on my three visits, the new location attracts, well, nobody. Not surprising, given that its “beer-bar” persona and HD flatscreen seem highly mismatched with the neighborhood’s artier vinyl-toting set.
The cold and cavernous space isn’t helping win over the locals — though it does recall fond memories of browsing Home Depot with my parents (not a bad idea considering the salmon-colored wall in the back could really use repainting). But I’m being harsh; tabletop Pac-man and, come summer, the back patio are welcome distractions from the sterile room, and like its predecessor, the young d.b.a. makes up for any shortcomings with one of New York’s finest collections of beer and booze.
The bar’s 16 rotating drafts run $6 for a pint and $7 for a 20oz Imperial pint, and at the moment include the rich and spicy Southampton Christmas Ale, the bright and earthy Dupont Bons Voeux, and, for those sweating their carbon footprint, Sixpoint Rye and Kelso Chocolate Lager. Three rotating cask options round out the draft beer and, with over 260 bottle options, they’ve got it all: Trappist ales, lambics, weissbiers, rauchbiers, doppelbocks and plenty of hoppy American IPAs. And all beers are a dollar off during d.b.a.’s marathon happy hours, every day from 1 to 9pm.
Not into suds? Management plans to carry over 30 bourbons, 60 Scotches and 20 tequilas — most of which are already available — and food options are limited but enticing: Muffaletta sandwiches ($8) nod to the third d.b.a. location in New Orleans, while cured meats and cheeses from New Jersey’s Bobolink Dairy Farm are also in the works.
d.b.a.’s co-owner Ray Deter refuses to spill the beans on the acronymic name, but enjoys patron attempts at decoding: “Drink better alcohol” and “Don’t be an asshole,” among others. How about, “DON’T forget you’re one block from BEDFORD AVENUE?” d.b.a. is a fine bar for beer and bourbon fiends — it’s just in the wrong part of town.