Andy Ricker’s Thai canteen was conceived as a spillover spot for Pok Pok Ny hopefuls, killing time across the street while they wait for tables and cultish fish-sauce wings. But the boozier kid bro isn’t just a stopping-off point—it’s a destination in its own right, offering a highlight reel of ahaan kap klaem (Thai drinking food) and smartly tweaked cocktails.
DRINK THIS: Not surprisingly, whiskey—commonly drunk with fizzy water in Thailand—is front and center. The nouveau shophouse stocks a 30 plus roster of American slugs (Michter’s, Four Roses), as well as selections from Japan (Hibiki), Ireland (Connemara) and Canada (Pendleton). For a culturally appropriate nip, order two fingers of the menu’s solitary Thai hooch, the rummy, sugarcane-sweetened Mekhong ($10). Cocktails ($12) are Pok Pok carryovers (Mango Alexander, Rhubarb Blush), some slightly updated: The lounge swaps Pok Pok’s Salted Plum Tom Collins for a refreshing, lightly tart salted-lime variety.
GOOD FOR: A hard-to-pronounce bar snack. Coal-toasted cuttlefish ($8), né plaa meuk ping, is flattened through a squid press into smoky, rip-apart strips, while deep-fried marinated pork ($9)—studded with Thai coriander seeds—is the chewy crossbreed of good jerky and spareribs. More elegant is a fragrant tumble of Manila clams ($16), stir-fried with krachai root, Thai basil and galangal.
THE CLINCHER: The low-ceilinged rec room is sparse—wood-paneled walls, drooping Christmas lights—but dashed with poppy touches of Bangkok-in-Brooklyn kitsch. Sodsai Chaengkij’s jangly, Thai-language covers of Elvis Presley and the Beatles serve as a soundtrack, and one wall is devoted to clippings of Muay Thai champ Tri Dumkham, who introduced Ricker to northern Thai cuisine. Like Pok Pok, it’s a thoughtful tribute to the country thankfully with less wait and more whiskey.—Christina Izzo