Even in an era of rotating hipster havens and designer resto pop-ups, sometimes the oldies are still the goodies.
I've been going to Waterfront Ale House on Atlantic Avenue for over 15 years, which is more than enough time to know that this stalwart Brooklyn Heights pub is a casual, comfort food-focused charmer. From kickin' Barbeque Spareribs and a killer French Dip with Fried Onions and Melted Farm House Cheddar Cheese, to a heaping platter of Nachos topped with Venison Chili and a bamboo steamer filled with delicate Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, the menu hits all the right "neighborhood saloon goes to the CIA" notes.
And, for all the time that I've called Waterfront Ale House a "go-to," I've been privileged to know one of the most winning bartenders in the borough -- Mary Haegele. A fixture behind the bar at Waterfront Ale House for more than 16 years, Mary's cheery smile and way with a cocktail shaker makes her one of the restaurant's prime attractions.
Pictured above, she is particularly adored for her ongoing Friday night "Drink of the Day" series, when regulars jockey for positions at the bar to try her latest potent concoction. Using housemade syrups and infused liquors that take advantage of a range of ingredients like ginger, black pepper, apples, cinnamon, lemongrass, cilantro, raspberries, rarely do you you get to see the same drink hit the Friday specials list more than once.
I know you're about to ask about the "ale" at the Waterfront Ale House, and I can guarantee you that they have craft beers aplenty. But, cocktails have always had their place at the bar. In fact, the "Libations Goddess" herself, Audrey Saunders, used to be behind the bar. And, owner Sam Barbieri makes an Eggnog that puts the ho-ho-ho in the holidays with bourbon, three kinds of rum, and cognac for good measure.
So, even if you can't make it to the bar next Friday night, you can be assured of a fine drink whether Mary is on the scene with her "Drink of the Day" or not. And, I heartily recommend that you order up a sandwich with their 14-Hour Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket while you're at it too.