License to swill: W’burg food fest will start season dry

Livin’ on a prayer — and some killer anchovies
Photo by Tom Callan

The Brooklyn Flea’s food festival won a major victory in its quest to serve booze outdoors on the Williamsburg waterfront this summer, but it’s triumphant return this weekend will be a dry one.

Smorgasburg — which will open again beside the N. Sixth Street pier on Saturday — found allies at Community Board 1’s liquor license committee weeks after the same panel voted against its alcohol bid over concerns the food festival would attract intoxicated revelers.

Brooklyn Flea co-founder Eric Demby managed to win over critics by bringing the board 10 pages of signatures from nearby residents who approve the plan to pair locally made foods with locally made brews and liquors.

“We’re excited to provide a platform for Brooklyn’s growing community of top notch beer, wine, and spirits producers, and think it’ll be a perfect match for Smorgasburg’s food vendors,” said Demby. “We worked hard to get to this point, and we continue to do everything we can to be a good neighbor.”

If CB1’s full board signs off on the seasonal liquor license on April 17, Smorgasburg will likely start serving booze inside a cordoned-off pen in the center of the festival in several weeks.

The grub gala will be dry this weekend, but Smorgasburg planners say the event will boast plenty of new mouth-watering goodies that should whet the appetites of Brooklyn foodies.

New vendors will be hawking giant Bolivian empanadas, homemade flavored soy milks, mozzarella balls deep-fried in polenta, fried fish sandwiches, lentil pancakes, and goat milk ice creams, in addition to the beloved array of prepared sweets, beverages and grilled meats that made the fair a major neighborhood attraction last summer.

And if the booze plan goes through, there are several more surprises in store later this year — including a top-secret food and alcohol-pairing project from the carnivorous geniuses at The Meat Hook, who cheered Tuesday’s decision.

“I think it’s great,” said The Meat Hook’s Harry Rosenblum. “It shows that the community supported it and the board listened.”

A scaled down winter version of the Smorgasburg spent Sundays during the cold months selling local grub from inside the nearby Brooklyn Brewery, where beer is readily available.