Last summer I was lured down to the Kings County Distillery tasting garden by a mention in the New Yorker. The piece described a calming pastoral scene with cold whiskey cocktails and a Hank Williams soundtrack. My kind of place.
Shortly after, I headed down again to help produce a piece for Redwing Amsterdam and then brought friends to take in the sanguine scene. It quickly became a favorite retreat of mine for the summer. This year, Kings County Distillery is at it again, though in an even better location. They’ve taken up residence in the old gatehouse of the Brooklyn Navy Yard (right near the tow yard) and converted the space into a full-on bar with ample seating, lush greenery, snacks and another outdoor hangout area.
There was no Hank Williams playing this time, but all in all, it’s a giant step-up from last year. That’s a great thing because by the end of last summer, there was talk that it would also be the end of the outdoor tasting room situation, thanks to a new Wegman's going in next-door that would take the coveted garden space. I’m not sure what happened, but I'm glad to see the good people at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Kings County Distillery were able to figure out this new location.
The bar itself maintains much of that sweet Navy Yard charm — paint peeling on the walls, decay and the general air of fading military industrial complex. A fantastic place for a drink!
The cocktails are as strong as ever and this year the menu includes an expanded snack list too, which goes a long way when drinking whiskey. I only have one minor gripe: The bar is in desperate need of a beer or wine offering. The strict whiskey-only (and moonshine) drink list is without flaw, until you decide you shouldn’t have another whiskey drink. Unless this is some "tasting room" restriction, I suspect, and hope, that the team will expand their offerings to include a few softer drinks (Brooklyn Lager?) soon.
With the gravitational pull only getting stronger to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I’m guessing that the Kings County Distillery Gatehouses tasting room will become a mainstay for the emerging scene down there. In a few years, we’ll all be hanging at the Brooklyn Brewery in the Navy Yard, then we’ll hoof it down the street to the Kings Country Distillery for a nightcap, and it will be glorious.
Now if we could just get rid of those Navy Yard guards.