Take a fashion guru’s interior design skills and mix it with the small plates of Spain and the cocktails of a hipster lounge and you have Bar Celona, the hot new tapas bar in Williamsburg.
Hidden off the main drag on S. Fourth Street, Bar Celona offers that rare mix of great food, humbly priced (and authentic) cocktails, and a chic, warm, date-night atmosphere fitting for the fashionista who designed it.
“I’ve always looked for a place with a hot lounge setting without the guy at the door with a list telling people they can’t go in,” said Cynthia Diaz, owner and designer of the spot. “That, paired with good food and good drinks, didn’t exist, so we brought it here.”
Diaz called in Chef Jordy Lavanderos — a genuine Spaniard — to create the menu, which features mostly light, tasty delicacies reminiscent of the city that cheekily lends its name to the joint.
Our meal started with bombas, small breaded balls of rich codfish and potato over a sweet orange-garlic marmalade — which were perfectly matched with a Sea Monkey, a specialty gin and tonics comprised of celery and apple juices, lemon, Anise del Mono and fennel salt. Round 1 was a knockout for Diaz.
Next came the paella negra, demonstrating Spain’s domination of all things seafood. Mussels, shrimp, clams, calamari and chicken were tossed in a slightly salty mixture of chorizo and squid ink rice. It was perfect with another of the specialty drinks.
The lounge is Diaz’s first restaurant venture since she left the fashion world, but she said her prior experience working at her father’s restaurant in Long Island makes her feel right at home.
“I love Brooklyn — it offers that boutique feel you can’t find in Manhattan, and that’s part of the reason we came here,” she said.
Bar Celona [104 S. Fourth St. near Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 237-7828]. Live jazz on Sunday. For info, visit barcelonaloungenyc.com.