To the Manor Born: Livingston Manor

05/06/2015 9:35 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

Livingston Manor
42 Hoyt Street, Downtown Brooklyn


When our office first relocated to Downtown Brooklyn from DUMBO last spring, one of the main concerns was this: Where would we go to drink? In DUMBO, there weren’t exactly an abundance of options, but what choices we had were pretty solid. There was Superfine, spacious—cavernous, even—with its small but solid list of draft beers, and excellent french fries to soak up all that alcohol. And there was 68 Jay, with $5 well drinks at happy hour, and free bowls of Goldfish crackers to snack on. Between those two spots (with occasional detours to Pedro’s and the now-defunct reBar), we spent many a booze-soaked evening. But suddenly, newly housed in DoBro, we found ourselves in that most dreaded of places: a bar desert.

Oh, there are a few places to imbibe in the general vicinity of MetroTech, but none of them have fit the bill as well as we’d like. There’s always something a little off, you know? Like maybe a bar has a decent beer list, but when you try to order, it’s always out of the first two or three you select. Or maybe you order a plate of fries along with your well whiskey-and-ginger, but instead of crisp, salty shoestrings, you wind up with a plate of mealy steak fries. I’ll be honest, it’s gotten so bad that I’ve started drinking less. And while maybe that’s a good thing for my liver and bank account, it’s not good for staff morale. Won’t somebody please think of staff morale??

This is where Livingston Manor comes in. A mere five blocks from our office, Livingston Manor was described by a co-worker as being too far away for him to to be expected to walk. And while maybe this was true in the bitterly cold months of winter (nope, still wasn’t true!), now that the weather is balmy and beautiful, it is an actual pleasure to walk the extra steps, because it’s finally the time of year when we will do anything to be outside.

But even better than the walk to Livingston Manor is what’s there once you arrive. The main room is beautiful, paneled in dark wood chevron, and has a gleaming bar and ample seating; plus, the lovely “backyard” (more of an alley with plants decorating the back wall, but whatever) is the perfect place to knock back a few drinks with colleagues or friends—or both. There’s an excellent selection of inventive cocktails, with the Field Day—a mixture of gin, thyme simple syrup, lemon, and sugar snap peas—being a springtime stand-out; a smart, ranging beer list, with notable selections like the extremely smooth 11% ABV Allegash Tripel Ale and cleanly refreshing Mama’s Little Yella Pils bound to make any beer-lover happy. The tightly edited food menu—meat and cheese boards, a few salads and sandwiches—is appreciated, and the kielbasa sandwich, on ciabatta with a nice bite from watercress and radishes, was the perfect accompaniment to an evening of drinking. All of which is to say that: After a long, cold winter with nowhere nearby to drink, we couldn’t be happier to welcome the warmer weather by spending as much time as possible right here in our office’s very own ”backyard.”