The new location of Amor y Amargo had been in the works for “5 minutes and 5 years,” before doors opened in Brooklyn this past September, says beverage director Sother Teague. The idea to launch another outpost of the revered New York bitters bar had long been rumbling around in the minds of Teague and owner Ravi DeRossi, as the 9-year-old East Village location proved so successful. But it wasn’t until a certain space in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood became available that they decided to make the second location a reality. “I know the neighborhood pretty well, and there are some great hospitality spots nearby. It’s an area that is growing rapidly, and it seems that amenities aren’t growing quickly enough,” says Teague. “The space, though larger than the East Village location, has a lot of qualities that I want in a bar, and we saw an opportunity to serve the growing neighborhood in a lot of ways.”
Housed in an old standalone one story building, the new bar has a larger footprint than the tiny East Village location—there are 24 indoor seats and 10 outside in the new one, versus six in the original—with a higher (original) ceiling, more room on the backbar for bottles and a special nook for the retail part of the business. With more space, there’s extra room for seating, so the team added elevated banquettes and hightop tables in addition to the stools that line the large marble bartop.
Teague says the interior’s design is minimal, but they tried to strike some similarities between the two locations. The aesthetic, defined by wood walls and a rich color scheme of navy, copper, purple and red, hearkens back to the original. “We took some elements from the East Village location and made them fit in the new space, so there are visual cues that let you know we’re connected,” Teagure says. “All the signage at both shops are lettered by [barista] Natalie Czech, so the look is cohesive.”
They also enlisted a few techniques to ensure that the new bar maintains the same cozy vibes as the original. Teague even built a couple of false walls with nothing behind them just to make the room smaller. “It’s crazy in a city where rent is based on a high price per square foot, but one of the things that I believe makes Amor y Amargo successful is its intimacy. I’m trying to maintain that level with the new space,” he says.
The approach to cocktails will remain the same, with a focus on all things stirred and bitter (try out the Waterproof Watch at home). In addition to new creations, guests will find three Amor y Amargo signature drinks on the menu, including the popular Sharpie Mustache, the 8 Amaro Sazerac (a blend of eight different amari with two bitters served in a Chartreuse-rinsed glass) and the Di Pompelmo (two types of grapefruit amari, grapefruit bitters and tequila).
They’re also planning to bring back some of the events they used to hold in the East Village location. “We’ll be hosting monthly cocktail classes; we’re looking forward to resurrecting our weekend coffee and amaro program deemed “Double-Buzz” (coffee is a buzz, Amaro is a buzz = Double-Buzz); We may even bring back our popular monthly prix fixe cocktail event called “Two Weeks Notice” where we served inventive cocktails and light snacks (I’m a former chef) with an educational slant,” says Teague. “Finally, the new location is available for private parties and events where we really don’t offer that in the East Village as I hate the notion that someone visiting from far away may have read about us and they arrive at the door only to see they can’t enter.”
Did you enjoy this article? Get more of the best of liquid culture when you sign up for a print or digital subscription to Imbibe Magazine. Click here for special savings!