Brooklyn >Weather Up
“I guess part of mixing an excellent drink involves letting it sit and chill for a certain amount of time.”
“But if the bartender had his way, there'd be a red velvet carpet and a beefy bouncer to be his bitter sidekick.”
Lessons for life at the WeatherUp.
I came to Weather Up in Brooklyn just as it opened, and it immediately became my favorite bar in the world. Better than Nutch in Barrra Brazil, better than the Edison in Downtown Los Angeles, better than everywhere and he's why:
The first time I arrived at the WeatherUp, it was not crowded, my sister had planned a celebratory dinner for my 30th birthday, catered by a chef friend of hers who lived in the area. During the dinner I fancied the attention of a long leggy blond lady and attention I received. After the meal I said, "Hey Baby, lets split." and split we did, to the WeatherUp.
We sat in the corner and drank strong Bourbon drinks, as I am a U.S. Army Ranger who once spent a good chunk of my time training on the hot grounds of Ft. Knox, KY. After we left, well I needn't mention, but I assure you that I entered my 30's on a pleasant note.
The next time I entered the WeatherUp, I was alone with my thoughts, seated in the corner before being roused by a divine cocktail girl named Catherine. I named her Catherine the Great and I have never looked back.
The next time I went, and mind you these visits were spaced out over the three years it has been open, as I do not live in Brooklyn, instead I live in Downtown LA, but I digress, and the next time I entered the WeatherUp, it was midnight, and I hadn't been on the streets because of the heat. I needed a respite to replenish liquid, I was on death's door due to the July heat. The bar was crowded as is indicative of anyplace worth a damn, I wedged to the bar and said to the man who keeps it, "Who are you." The man said, "I'm Gabe." I said, " Give me strong drink!" and a whiskey arrived with the signature large single cube. I gulped at my beverage and said to Gabe, "You're all right, I like you." and the barkeep said, "I like you too." When the glass was empty I said to the man, "Another except this time without the purse...and make it Rye." Gabe gave me a snarl, lifted an eyebrow, and poured me a twenty year old Rye neat. By the end of the evening my Ipod was plugged into their sound system, I was taking requests, and I have never felt more at home.
And this is why the WeatherUp is the best! Because it has values, because it doesn't cater to the fly by night aristocratic windbags on a "city search" to try every Tom Dick and Harry! Because you need to settle into the WeatherUp, use some charm in the WeatherUp, be a decent human in the WeatherUp, and if you do you'll find more than a perfectly made cocktail that could pass the glaring discern of Pol Pot himself, that's right...you might just find a friend.
Not Friendly or Happy.
You'd expect from Prospect Heights a diverse crowd and some chill, good times. But if the bartender had his way, there'd be a red velvet carpet and a beefy bouncer to be his bitter sidekick.
A group of us showed up, despite the torrential rains, only to be yelled at through his open windows that the place doesn't open until 7. It was 6:55. We obediently waited until 7pm sharp, and when he opened up shop, he didn't even open the door for us. He just unlocked it and walked away. So we troop in, soaked, and ask if he has a hot toddy to warm us up. He barks out again, NO.
We ask him if he's heard of hot toddies, but before if we can finish the sentence and ask if he has anything else to recommend, he yells out YES. Then there was silence in the bar, as we stood and stared at him, while he ignored us completely. Perhaps sodden customers is not to his liking. Perhaps we looked disreputable. Either way, we took our eventual $150 bill and $40 tip up the street to Soda, which may not be beautiful, but has a great garden and a really nice waitress.
Glacially Slow-made Drinks, Beautiful Place. This unmarked bar has a gorgeously designed interior. My suggestion is to go when they just open because drinks can take many minutes to make. When there are more people, drinks are even slower. My companion waited 20min while the bartender stirred the drink, let it sit, made 2 other drinks, stirred the drink, let it sit, started 2 other drinks....until finally asking for it. He told her he'd bring it to her .... it came out 5min after that. She asked, politely, why the drink took so long since it appeared it was just, well, sitting. He said, "We have a special process here. Do you need me to explain it to you?" -- "Uh, yes please." I guess part of mixing an excellent drink involves letting it sit and chill for a certain amount of time. That's fair enough. But a shred of cordial communication and awareness of time are part of excellent service and an overall excellent experience. Too bad for now Weather Up is focused on excellent drink process and the look of the barstaff at the expense of good ol' customer services.
At Brooklyn's own speakeasy, the well-mannered cocktail bar shows no signs of the Prohibition era..
Brooklynites in search of a perfectly made cocktail need look no further than this low-key Prospect Heights classic. Despite its more remote locale, a trail of Town Cars loiters outside this "speakeasy," marking the otherwise inconspicuous entryway. Inside, marbled luminaries splash color across glazed tile ceilings, and old-fashioned cocktail tools stand at the ready for the careful muddling of rye-fueled classics like the Presbyterian and the Brooklyn. Patrons sidle up to the burnished copper bar to chat up the amiable tender (who might spill the address of a loft party nearby), or retreat to a pair of leather-padded alcoves with glasses of Laurent-Perrier.
Hits: Not overrun with gawkers--yet--and reasonable drink prices (under $10 in some cases).
Misses: Though the staff was trained by cocktail maven Sasha Petraske, the menu is surprisingly basic; the drinks are impeccably made, to be sure, but we've seen them all before.
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