The old JJ's Navy Yard cocktail lounge, an infamous dive that served cheap drinks to longshoremen and sailors on gritty Flushing Avenue, has been transformed into a sleek new Brooklyn Roasting Company outpost. What was once a dark and rather ominous watering hole (which, in its twilight years, presented topless dancers) is now a bright and airy cafe with an espresso tasting bar and fresh croissants from Williamsburg's Margo Patisserie Cafe. Here comes the neighborhood!
The new location marks a significant expansion for the Brooklyn Roasting enterprise, which opened in DUMBO in 2011. Co-owner Jim Munson says his operation has outgrown the spacious original location, and 70% of the new establishment will be used as a packaging and distribution wholesale center. But up front, you'll find a pleasant place to sip a coffee and nosh a doughnut from Dough. Three to four espressos, rotating seasonally, will be available for tasting at any given time, as well as two varieties of strong hot and iced coffee, made from organic fair trade Rainforest Alliance beans roasted fresh each day.
The decor nods to the location's illustrious history, as well as traditional industrial coffee roasting methods. Marble used for the counters and bar was discovered behind drywall in the back room, and the smaller coffee tables are supported by old industrial coffee fly wheel bases. Theatrical dressing room lights evoke the strippers' former backstage area in the basement, and the bar's linoleum was stripped away to reveal the original antique hextile floors.
"Our company in general is about respecting some of the crazy history of Brooklyn while doing our best to look to its future," Munson tells us, adding that Brooklyn Roasting employs 65 people and roasts 10,000 pounds of coffee every week. "It's about time New York had its own great coffee, to match Portland and Seattle." The new Flushing location, conveniently located across the street from Steiner Studios, will open daily at 6 a.m., with closing hours TBD.
Flushing Avenue and Washington Avenue, Brooklyn