2007_01_rebar3.JPGRebar resides upstairs in Retreat, a Dumbo “gathering space” that advertises its “5,000 square feet” as more of a dare than a boast. What to do with all this space in a city not known for having much of it? What they ended up with was Rebar, a new bar that tries a little of everything.

There are the ubiquitous tapas, a wine list that leans more towards to France than Spain, and a massive beer selection. The 15 unique beers on tap, and many more bottles, highlight Belgium, pause briefly in Brooklyn, and all look great. They are also offering live music on occasion.

The generous amount of space seems enormous and disproportionate at first. Iron bars separate the large well-lit lounge area where coffee drinkers in search of wi-fi hang, from the dark, brick hue of the bar. At first, it has the appearance of a gated off drinking spot in an airport, complete with signs telling you that no drink may pass beyond this spot. If all this sounds scattershot, it surprisingly doesn’t feel that way. And it’s probably all because of the space. It's beautiful. The spotlighted terra-cotta ceiling, large tables, and gorgeous long bar create a place that feels intimate, but never cramped.

2007_01_rebar1.JPGUnlike some tapas restaurants, the food is affordable (nothing is over $10, most around $3) and very small (you're warned that some things are 3 bites). Which is exactly the way it should be. You’ll pay for this with the drinks, which are never cheap, but they are mostly excellent, and punctuated with the food, we ended up staying a while. It has been open for 7 weeks or so, but only in the last 10 has it gotten any food, "And that's made all the difference," said the bartender as he handed over a big glass of cava. “They used to drink and leave. Now people linger.”

Rebar in Retreat
147 Front Street