Fort Defiance

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82 Good

The waterfront neighborhood’s de facto social center is café by day, cocktail bar by night, with satisfying snacks at any hour.

365 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231


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The lowdown

Modest and inviting, with a smattering of tables and front windows flung open to the street, the multi-hyphenated café-bar–home away from home operates as Red Hook’s de facto social center, and it provides the food and drink to facilitate that role at any hour. At 10 a.m., that means coffee and eggs; at lunch, there’s sandwiches and salads. At night, despite the presence of a full dinner menu, the place tends to function largely as a watering hole, thanks to the high quality of the drinks and the pedigree of the owner and bartender, St. John Frizell, who honed his craft at Pegu Club. Prior to that, he spent time in New Orleans, which explains the special attention paid classics like the Sazerac, the Ramos Gin Fizz, and bourbon milk punch, not to mention the presence of a respectable lunchtime muffuletta. And if there’s any silver lining in the warning of an impending bomb cyclone or deep freeze, it’s the prospect of a world-class hot toddy or Irish coffee at Fort Defiance’s cozy bar.

Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld

What you need to know

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized