When historic Williamsburg bar Teddy's was sold in February, there were the usual fears that a neighborhood institution would be altered beyond repair, taking its 128-year history and throwing it to the curb. But luckily—and unusually, for the neighborhood—Teddy's most recent owners, Felice and Glen Kirby and business partner Lee Ornati, were determined to pass along their bar baby to a group that would respect the bar and neighborhood's history by keeping Teddy's as grounded as its been since it first opened in 1887. To that end, the trio sold the business to local bar owners and residents Richard DeVore, Scott Davis and Kate Buenaflor, who promised to retain the Teddy's the neighborhood has known for decades.

"Honestly, we wanted to keep everything, there really wasn't anything we wanted to change. Its an historic building, we love the look of it. It's one of the few Victorian-era bars left in New York City," explains DeVore. "All we did to change it was redid the top of the bar, which over the years had warped and shifted and wasn't really structurally sound. We put in a new pub rail on the customer side, which makes it more comfortable to sit and eat. That was it! Otherwise we just cleaned and polished and stained and just tried to bring life back to everything."

Besides minor aesthetic upgrades, the biggest change is a new food menu, executed by Chef Jared, a Bobby Flay vet who the team brought aboard to update the kitchen (much of the rest of the kitchen staff has remained). "We think of it as a typical pub food menu, we just wanted to elevate it a little bit," DeVore says. "Obviously the burgers have always been a big seller at Teddy's, we've just added a large signature burger." That would be the 1887 Burger—a nod to the bar's birth year—consisting of two five ounce patties stuffed with NY State Cheddar, wrapped in four slices of bacon and topped with BBQ grilled onions. It costs $18.87, naturally.

Price-wise, things are more or less unchanged—an extra dollar here or there, perhaps, but Teddy's was never known for dirt cheap drinks. The new owners have substantially increased the draft beer options—Teddy's was the first bar to serve Brooklyn Brewery's beers—including some New York-based options plus standard craft-minded faces like Lagunitas, Oskar Blue's and Bell's Brewery. Draft wines, Teddy's special Bloody Mary "blend" with various liquors and other specialty cocktails complete the refreshed beverage selection.

What do the regulars think of the new and improved Teddys? "It's a tough thing to takeover something that has such a following and history in the neighborhood. But the feedback has been great!" DeVore reveals. "One of the most amazing pieces of feedback we've gotten from people is, 'How did you make it bigger?' Honestly, it was just cleaning up some things. After 28 years of owners, things just kind of built up."

96 Berry Street, (718) 384-9787; website

Teddy's Menu

Teddy's Drinks Menu