The dining and drinking options at Williamsburg's
Eye of Sauron William Vale Hotel are coming together nicely. Today, Mister Dips made his grand debut slinging burgers out of an airstream, and the hotel's rooftop bar has been in the swing of things for a little over two weeks. (Andrew Carmellini's restaurant, Leuca, doesn't have a set premiere day yet.)
Up on the 22nd floor, Westlight, the bar, affords nearly 360 views out over Queens, Brooklyn and the east coast of Manhattan—even the elevator vestibule offers an incredible vista. Swinging by last Saturday, a small line had formed outside the hotel when the bar opened at 4 p.m.; be forewarned that the outside line leads to yet another line inside. The system's a good one, though, as it means the bar's not slammed all at once and really everything moves pretty quickly from line to line to seat.
Reservations are not mandatory but recommended, especially if you want a seat at one of the coveted outdoor tables, where a piece of plexiglass is all that separates you from safety and imminent demise. Don't expect much privacy, however, if you do score one of those seats. Every few feet there are neon yellow binoculars (free!) for peering across the East River or into the wilds of Williamsburg below. Expect a few butts in your face as you're unwinding with a cocktail.
Are we all down with $15 cocktails now or do I just have Stockholm syndrome for food writers? Either way, for a rooftop, prices aren't completely heinous. The Billy V ("vee," not five) is a good end-of-summer-please-don't-say-it's-really-over sipper. I observed another couple sharing a bottle of bubbly at 5 p.m.; there are no rules in the rooftop class. You can get a decent glass of whiskey for $13 and beers are around $7.
Unsurprisingly, the food's solid and, again, in rooftop land you could do a lot worse quality- and price-wise. The Spicy Coconut Cashews ($6) and Fried Olives stuffed with blue cheese ($8) will keep the salt factor flowing for a drinking snack. The Chicken-Fried Chicken Wings looked impressively fried (in a good way) and the Westlight Burger a more dinner-forward choice (herb fries sold separately).
If you don't score a more formal table, you can perch at the bar or one of the low-lying couches both inside the bar and on the adjacent patio. There are some foosball tables that were languishing off to the side—and a DJ booth that wasn't yet in rotation that early in the day—but otherwise it's all about drinks, food and those breathtaking views.
111 North 12th Street, 22nd Floor, 718 307 7100; westlightnyc.com