Far be it from us to indulge in gender stereotypes. We know a lot of manly men who can appreciate a good pear and goat cheese salad or an elderflower-based cocktail. Our editor — a man last time we checked — even boasts of a drink named after him comprised of ginger vodka, grapefruit juice, grenadine and cherries.
And yet, there are still plenty of dudes who crave nothing more than a shot of Wild Turkey and a bloody hunk of meat with a steak knife driven through the middle. Luckily for them, these Brooklyn restaurants and bars provide ample opportunity to indulge the masculine id:
At Benchmark in Park Slope, it’s all about the beef. Free-range, responsibly raised beef, but beef all the same. It’s all here — bone-in New York strips and ribeyes, veal porterhouses, or filet mignons, dandied up with little more than au poivre sauce or bordelaise. Forget the side of creamed spinach and go for a Second Street Manhattan, made with Old Overholt Rye, Lillet Rouge Canton Ginger Cognac and vermouth, because in the words of owner Ryan Jaronik, “It really doesn’t get manlier than a sizzling steak and a strong whiskey.”
Benchmark [339 Second St. at Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, (718) 965-7040].
It may not get manlier than steak and Scotch, but brats and beer are pretty damn masculine. And Bay Ridge’s Schnitzel Haus keeps things positively Teutonic, with an exhaustive selection of wieners and wursts, schnitzels and sauerbraten, and, of course, giant steins of imported lagers and bocks. “Sure guys love it here,” affirmed manager Jimmy Autrum. “Great beer, comfortable atmosphere, huge portions.” Specials of venison and quail are about to find their way onto the menu as well; only thing manlier than tucking into these babies would be to shoot them down yourself.
Schnitzel Haus [7319 Fifth Ave. between 73rd and 74th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 836-5600].
Char No. 4 nurtures a serious passion for bourbon; featuring more than 150 American whiskeys served either straight or in cocktail form. Try the Spicy Buck, made with Weller Antique bourbon and Blenheim Spicy Ginger Ale, alongside some smoked and fried pork nuggets. Or maybe a pour of Old Grandad 100 Proof with the beef and cheddar sausage, topped with barbecued onions, dill pickles, and borracho beans.
Char No. 4 [196 Smith St. between Baltic and Warren streets in Carroll Gardens, (718) 643-2106].
Prohibition-era quaffs are the thing at Rye (Classic Old Fashioneds with whiskey and orange, The Havemeyer with rye, vermouth, sherry and bitters) — and Henry Public (Kings County Sour with rye, lemon, egg white and port, Wide Awake Cocktail with gin, ginger, and Islay malt) — but classy doesn’t mean dainty at these speakeasy inspired joints. Get down caveman style with Rye’s Berkshire pork belly “bacon” sandwich, or Henry Public’s turkey legs, devilled eggs, or marrow bones on toast.
Henry Public [329 Henry St. between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill, (718) 852-8630]; Rye Restaurant [247 South First St. at Roebling Street in Williamsburg, (718) 218-8047].
For the man who doesn’t care much for amenities or pedigreed cocktails, only a dive bar will do. Thank goodness for Red Hook Bait and Tackle, where dirt cheap PBR’s flow like, well, PBR’s, and the décor runs to taxidermied animal heads on the walls. The ideal man cave! The testosterone continues to flow just next door at Brooklyn Ice House, where $6 will buy two grilled cheese sandwiches and a side of fries, and nothing on the globetrotting beer menu tops $7.50.
Red Hook Bait and Tackle [320 Van Brunt St. at Pioneer Street in Red Hook, (718) 451-4665]; Brooklyn Ice House [318 Van Brunt St. at Pioneer Street in Red Hook, (718) 222-1865].
For lots of guys, the epitome of XY chromosome cuisine is anything that can be basted, brined, and thrown into a yawning chasm of fire. That’s where Brooklyn Smoke House in Marine Park and The Smoke Joint in Fort Greene come in. The Smoke Joint likes its “NY ’Cue” (barbecued beans and greens, Black Angus hot dogs topped with slow-smoked pulled pork) followed up with a glass of artisan whiskey. That’s why they opened a spot next door — the Pig Bar — devoted exclusively to slinging single barrels and small batches.
The Brooklyn Smoke House keeps things simple with Texas hot links and beer can chicken — the secret to their saucy success is location location location. The outdoor ’cue slinger is located on Hanger 5 of Floyd Bennett Field, near the Aviator Sports Complex, where ribs and rubs can be followed up with rock climbing and flag football.
Stop the presses, gentlemen; I think we’ve found Valhalla.
The Smoke Joint [87 S. Elliot Pl. at Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 797-1011]; Brooklyn Smoke House [Hangar 5 at Floyd Bennett Field, 3159 Flatbush Ave. in Marine Park, (718) 758-7500].