The month of March is dedicated to women, so why not spotlight a new, solo project from celebrated bartender and eco-activist, Claire Sprouse.
Before, Sprouse poured cocktails at some of the most considerable bars in the states such as ABV in San Francisco and Sunday in Brooklyn in Brooklyn, and consulted with renowned restaurateurs to create their opening beverage programs – i.e. The Bywater in San Jose and Tosca in DC. Now, she hails an all-day sustainable bar and restaurant in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn serving up clean, crave-able food and fun cocktails with a keen focus on low waste which can be seen through every aspect, starting with construction.
Called Hunky Dory, the free and easy hangout (which replaced Brooklyn Winery’s BKW) is dressed in cobalt blue and pale pink with scattered greenery and sun-drenching light. The geometric tiling, raw shelving and hardwood flooring was all laid down by Sprouse herself – a true blue DIY project that would blow away Pinterest users. “We used a single white Oak tree to build the back bar; the ‘leftovers’ were used to construct the center [drink] rest,” Sprouse mentions. The hanging artwork adjacent to the bar was created by various female artists from around the world.
It is no surprise that the bar program, obviously powered by Sprouse, applies thoughtful and sustainable practices, too. The well-curated menu highlights flavorful cocktails with no more than four fresh ingredients – a ‘less is more’ approach. Low waste is demonstrated through crafting bourbon-based Mai-Tai, Golden Year with a sunflower seed orgeat over the classic style orgeat (made with almonds) which require gallons of water to grow, to working directly with local brands. Stop & Stay is built with rhum, cold brew coffee provided by local roaster Parlor Coffee, amaro, and fig leaf.
From left to right
Alligator Arms with dry vermouth, celery juice, absinthe, and lime
Smoky Mountain Song Bird with mezcal, turmeric, madeira, and lemon
Golden Year with bourbon, sunflower seed orgeat, cynar, and lemon
The kitchen also follows an eco-friendly code. Backed by Chef Kirstyn Brewer, formerly of The Bazaar by Jose Andres, the food menus – Day and Night – feature eclectic options such as Smashed Cukes, Cod “Tots,” and our favorites, Green Eggs & Ham – a warming bowl ‘o green chili broth with braised ham, rice and rice-beans; topped with thinly-sliced radish and six-minute egg. “I want to create a menu that is creative, lively, and a little cheeky,” Brewer describes. “We take sourcing and technique very seriously, but the food should be fun, crave-able and approachable.”
Brewer carries out interesting cuts of meat and sustainable fish, and cross-utilizes ingredients with Sprouse in the bar. “We are also getting [together] with local community gardens for composting,” says Brewer. “There’s lots of dehydrating, re-working, jarring, and fermenting happening at Hunky Dory.” The Onion Chip & Dip dish is a true collaboration between the bar and kitchen, using leftovers of the Ooh-la-long cocktail (a Milk Punch twist) and lingering egg whites to whip up the custard dip with cippolini onions, tangerine, orange zest, pumpkin, passion-fruit seeds, and finally, candied fennel seeds which are utilized in the non-alcoholic, espresso and fennel tonic drink.
“We want to set examples of sustainable or low waste practices that can be implemented by other bars and restaurants when they operate and make purchasing decisions,” Sprouse adds. “It’s about finding ways to chip away at it. We’re just working to be better, not perfect.”
Hunky Dory Details
747 Franklin Ave., 516-418-2063, www.hunkydorybk.com, @hunkydorybk
Hours of Operation
Wednesday – Monday, 8:00AM – 2:00AM
*Dishes served ‘til 1AM
*Drinks poured ‘til 2AM
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