First Norwegians, then John Travolta, and now — hipster wine lovers looking for a night on the town.
Bay Ridge welcomed a touch of Park Slope to the parkway this week when Owl’s Head Wine Bar debuted on Fifth Avenue’s restaurant row. Ridge resident John Avelluto and Bushwick’s Steve Weintraub opened their romantic new dining spot on 74th Street — featuring a mostly Brooklyn-made menu of drinks and nibbles — to lure foodies and wine aficionados looking for a special night out in the neighborhood.
The pair looked at spaces in the now chichi neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick, but chose bucolic Bay Ridge because they think it has a shortage of date spots.
“Bay Ridge restaurants are known for their family-style atmosphere, sports bars, and casual take-out — we should be able to bring a high quality of food that you would find in the city,” said Avelluto, who named the place after his favorite green space in the Big Apple: Owl’s Head Park on Shore Road and 68th Street.
The warm and inviting atmosphere is magnified by a few carefully chosen appointments, including a bar made of a thick slab of polished maple fabricated by an upstate carpenter, matching maple tables and swivel stools, Edison bulbs, exposed brick walls and an original tin ceiling that Weintraub spent a month polishing to an eye-blinding shine.
A floor-to-ceiling chalkboard displays the changing menu of Italian, French and New York wines, beers, and bar snacks. More than a dozen wines are also available at $6 to $12 per glass or $23 to $38 per bottle. There’s the Channing Brothers Rosso Fresco, a blend of Merlot, Syrah and two other grapes varieties for a fruitier, more tannic experience. The Italian Primitivo wonderfully whets dry mouths, and the Brooklyn Oenology’s 2010 Riesling offers a light white remedy to frosty days.
Pair your selection with a delectable crostini or panini prepared by Owl’s Head head chef Michael Kogan, who uses a sandwich press and a convection oven the size of your grandma’s old Magnavox boob tube to make the incredible edibles. We recommend the Brussel sprout and kabocha squash crostini with pomegranate reduction, the artichoke and shaved fennel crostini or the truffled three-cheese panini.
Brooklyn’s homemade bounty figures prominently on the menu. There’s Sixpoint’s Sweet Action and Diesel Stout from Red Hook, pork charcuterie and hard cheese from D. Coluccio and Sons in Bensonhurst, bread from Il Fornaretto Bakery also in Bensonhurst, soft cheese from Boerum Hill’s Stinky Cheese, chocolate bars from Williamsburg’s Mast Brothers, and lavish Nutella cheesecakes and Mexican spiced chocolate cookies from Brooklyn Treat Shoppe in Dyker Heights.
The new kid on the block is also the cool new place to chill, according to its owners.
“We want people to come in after work, have a drink with some friends, a bite to eat, and have a conversation,” said Weintraub. “It’s a very comfortable place to be.”
Owl’s Head Wine Bar [479 74th Street at Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge (718) 680-2436] Tue-Thurs, 6 pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 6 pm-2 am; Sun, 2-8 pm. For info, visit www.theowlshead.com.
Reach reporter Aaron Short at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2547.