Nita Nita 146 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg
Rating: 4 L's
Nita Nita sits at the corner of Wythe and North 8th Street, a quiet block nestled between Bedford Avenue and the East River in one of the more attractive, tree-lined parts of Williamsburg. In fact, sitting at the corner table sipping a Spaten Pilsner, gazing out the expansive windows at the infrequent sidewalk passersby, it’s hard to imagine that only two blocks away the L train stop is steadily disgorging legion upon legion of weary hipster-commuter. Judging by the empty tables in the front room, Nita Nita could certainly use some of that foot traffic — and indeed, this comfortable, unassuming little place deserves it.
Mercifully low-key, Nita Nita aims for quality and familiarity, featuring everything a good bar should: a sensibly pared down selection of very good beers on tap (including Abita Turbo Dog Ale, Brooklyn Pennant Ale, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Stella Artois, Blue Moon, and the aforementioned Spaten); a modest, vegetarian-friendly tapas menu from a kitchen that clearly knows what it’s doing; a cocktail list of specialized favorites, each one lovingly made with fresh ingredients (the margaritas are wonderful); and, of course, an impressive, Spanish-heavy wine list, from which a select bottle is matched with a different cheese plate each week. All of which can be enjoyed in the spacious back garden, a tranquil space that feels more like the mellower parts of Portland than New York City.
The obvious charms of the outdoors notwithstanding, the front room stands on its own. On top of the old-fashioned, non-digital jukebox, a natural wood design concept creates comfort and intimacy without taking itself too seriously. It’s never an easy task, but Nita Nita manages to straddle the bar-restaurant divide, creating an atmosphere that is inclusive of both diners and drinkers (the jukebox tips the balance into the bar category).
I only hope that Nita Nita can lure some of that Bedford Avenue traffic over a few blocks, and the generous 4pm to 7pm happy hour is a worthy start. The good news (for the bar, anyway) is that at least a half-dozen new condominium developments on the riverfront are set to start filling up over the next year — one of which is clearly visible from the garden — so if this place can hang around long enough, it’s likely to do very well. Until then, take advantage of a little elbowroom and enjoy Nita Nita while you can.