Passing the Bar: NICOLE BRYDSON plays with the animals at Draft Barn

| 11 Nov 2014 | 02:14

    Add Draft Barn to the list of new bars and restaurants in Gowanus you probably haven’t noticed yet. Tucked into the industrial block of Third Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, the BQE hovering in the distance, Draft Barn offers 250 beers ranging vastly in origin and price. Bottles and draught include everything from Blanche de Bruxelles to Smuttynose IPA ($5), but range all the way up to Sam Adams Utopia—a limited edition brew that’s more comparable to a brandy—which costs $400 a bottle.

    Cozy private booths line both sides of the dimly lit tavern, which opened a month ago, making eavesdropping almost impossible. Even more private is a small room with flat-screen television in the back, which can accommodate 20 or more people and is sure to become a South Brooklyn birthday party staple.

    “It’s comfortable, it makes you feel relaxed,” says owner George Mitelman of the Eastern European–influenced stone floors and dark walnut decor. Mitelman immigrated to New York from Hungary at age 16, and an oversize map of the tiny country covers most of a brick wall. As for the menu, vegetarians beware: It’s stocked full of Hungarian delicacies like Goulash and many pork dishes like the Hog Knuckle (marinated and smoked pork hocks) and Gypsy Steak (a pan-fried pork shoulder sautéed with onions).

    Those wary of the foreign fare can stick to the burger, shrimp cocktail and mozzarella sticks. Recently a customer ordered the Goulash, Mitelman says, without really knowing what it was. “She said it was too vinegary and sent it back,” he says. He took the loss and plans to add more American dishes to the menu. But, he says, at least she tried it! After spending two years looking for a space in Park Slope, Mitelman finally found this location in nearby Gowanus and spruced it up.The modern update of this commercial block is typically Brooklyn, rising from its industrial slumber into a nighttime hub. Nearby are Bar Tano, an Italian bistro, and the Bell House, a bar and performance space from the folks at Park Slope’s Union Hall. And of course, to ensure customer satisfaction, Mitelman and his knowledgeable bartenders made sure to taste every beer they offer, admitting to more than a few drunken nights.

    Soon they will share that responsibility: after the New Year Draft Barn will begin hosting beer tastings, adding and subtracting offerings where necessary.

    “Down here people already know what  beers they like,” he says. “We just give it to them.”

    > Draft Barn

    530 Third Ave. (betw. 12th & 13th Sts.), Brooklyn, 718-768-0515