Will the Montrose L stop be the next Jefftown? (Mo-town? Ugh.) That remains to be seen, but the existence of a new cocktail bar mere steps from the subway station would seem to indicate it's heading that direction. Meet The Topaz, which opened mid-July on Bushwick Avenue, taking over a space that previously housed (ha) a bicycle shop. It joins Post No Bills and Boulevard Cafe to form a neat little row of next generation Bushwick spots on the block.
It's a first-time venture for owner Brandon Davey, who previously managed Elsa in Manhattan before setting out to do his own thing. He's created a small menu of cocktails plus a few classics; by keeping it small, he says it's easier to maintain an element of excitement. "Introducing people to flavors they've never tasted before is important for me. It's a challenge because it becomes more and more rare as we age, and you usually have to leave the country to find it," he says. "I want it to be tough to decide for every single guest, but I don't want to overwhelm people."
Davey grew up in Las Vegas—the bar's name references the street where his father lived—and perhaps that's where his cheeky sensibility comes into play. Cocktails bear monikers like Bottle Blonde, The Safe Word and Night School but they'll make you a classic Old Fashioned or Sazerac, too. Beer includes $4 Budweiser to $7 Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, with glasses of wine going for $9 each.
"I love Japanese small plates, so izakaya seemed like an obvious choice. I prefer the style and methodology of Japanese bartending, and I wanted the food to match," Davey says of the five item food menu. Steamed Buns ($9) are either shiitake mushroom or pork; the 45-Minute Sous-Vide Egg ($9) is an umami bomb of roasted chanterelles, dulse seaweed and bonito dashi; and there's also a daily charcuterie option ($14) loaded with three types of meat, a Balthazar baguette and olive oil.
251 Bushwick Avenue; website