It's no secret that Bushwick's been delving deeper into that high-end Williamsburg-esque food and drink territory of late, with all the fancy grown-up bars and restaurants that have been popping up in the neighborhood recently. The Rookery, which opened last month off the Jefferson L stop, is another one such sophisticated spot, serving stylish cocktails and British-meets-West Indian-inspired dishes out of a refurbished loading bay.
The Rookery is the brainchild of Jamie Schmitz, a musician who's had a hand in establishments like Cake Shop and St. Dymphnas in Manhattan. He and wife Shana Bellot, who have lived in Bushwick for six years, spent the past year or so transforming the industrial space into an elegant pub, complete with a beautiful oval bar and a large patio out front.
Their hard work paid off; the bar is exquisitely decorated, complete with flowery vintage wallpaper courtesy of Schmitz's British mother, long wooden communal tables and a commanding 15-foot-high back bar topped with a portrait of the Highland Boy, a replica of one of Schmitz's family heirlooms. The front patio, enclosed by a high wooden fence, is also a highlight, decorated with scattered patio tables and potted plants, with two raven statues sitting atop the old loading bay dock door.
The drinks menu includes specialty cocktails, wines and beers, and while there's no Tecate, Narragansett or PBR to be found here, there are cans of U.K.-imported Old Speckled Hen ($8) and Belhaven Scottish Ale ($7), as well as drafts of Wolavers Organic Brown Ale ($7) and Mackenzie Cider ($7) in addition to more local offerings. Cocktails include the Pimm's Cup ($10), a U.K. speciality drink made with cucumber, fresh squeezed lemonade, mint and ginger ale; and the Highland Boy ($12), a combination of Cragganmore 12 whiskey, Heering liquer, StonesGinger wine, Ramazzotti and orange juice.
And while Schmitz didn't originally set out to build a kitchen, he decided to add culinary fare, taking inspiration from British cuisine as well as that of his wife's West Indian heritage. "Food variety is always welcome in our neighborhood, so we decided to add a menu with reasonably priced, but well thought out, comfort food," he told us, noting he wanted the joint to have a "neighborhood pub vibe, good drink and good conversation, but with service and an environment that makes you feel really taken care of." Delicacies include the juicy Oxtail Sloppy Joe ($8), the deep-fried and sausage wrapped Rookery Scotch Egg ($8); pair them with the crispy, thick potato wedge Mums Chips ($4).
If you haven't stopped by the Rookery yet, they're hosting an opening party starting at 4 p.m. tonight, complete with drink specials, free sweet and spicy hot wings and a musical performance by dub artist Dr Israel.