Maison Premiere

Bars, Cocktail bars Williamsburg
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 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Maison Premiere

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

San Domingo Julep at Maison Premiere

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Maison Premiere

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Maison Premiere

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Maison Premiere

 (Photograph: Lizz Kuehl)
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

Oysters at Maison Premiere

New Orleans is perhaps the most protean of American cities, attracting in near equal measure folks you'd kill to break bread with and folks you'd break a commandment to kill: For every Kermit Ruffins, there's a hurricane-swilling, chest-baring trollop leaving evidence of her last po' boy in a pile on Bourbon Street. And it's a shame that so many of NYC's NOLA-inspired haunts accommodate the latter sort, snubbing the romance found in the Crescent City's historic bars. Elegantly shifting the paradigm is Maison Premiere. Scuffed into submission by owner Joshua Boissy and the designers behind nearby Moto, this gorgeous salon—its green walls fogged with a faux patina that suggests decades of Gauloises smoke—is devoted to the twin pleasures of oysters and absinthe: two French Quarter staples with plenty of appeal in Brooklyn.

DRINK THIS: Absinthe, that mythical anise-flavored liqueur, is the obvious choice. There are 19 international varieties of the stuff, best enjoyed as an opalescent brew made by slow-dripping ice water over a sugar cube. But there's even greater sorcery to be found on the trim list of cerebral cocktails from barkeep Maxwell Britten (Freemans, Jack the Horse). Aquavit forms an herbaceous backbone for the Saint Helena, a delicate drink sweetened with cane syrup and topped with bubbly and mild yellow chartreuse. A San Domingo Julep mellows rich Venezuelan rum with gomme syrup (a thick simple syrup that gives drinks a smooth viscosity), crushed ice and fragrant plumes of mint. The Carondolet, meanwhile, deploys gin, orange-flower water, citrus and Maldon salt—the salinity draws out the drink's vanilla and honey notes, and makes it a fine match for briny oysters.

GOOD FOR: Sealing the deal with a new flame. It's dangerously easy to be seduced sitting round the oval, marble-topped bar, emptying beau soleil and belon shells—even if the sensuous atmosphere occasionally borders on parody (see: pull-chain toilets in the loo).

THE CLINCHER: Though it's not yet open, consider Maison Premiere's forthcoming 1,000-square-foot garden your secret weapon come summer. Iron tables, an outdoor oyster bar, creeping vines, and a garden sprouting wormwood and hyssop will ensure that the sunny space doesn't break character. A Bloody Mary menu (look for riffs made with ingredients such as Ardbeg Scotch, shrimp stock and yellow tomatoes) is in the works for your day-drinking pleasure.


Venue name: Maison Premiere
Address: 298 Bedford Ave
Cross street: between Grand and South 1st Sts
Opening hours: Daily 4pm–4am
Transport: Subway: L to Bedford Ave; J,M,Z to Marcy Ave
Price: Average drink: $9. AmEx, MC, V
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Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
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I absolutely love the design, fashion and flavour of this gem! The Cocktail program is out of the world. A well deserved 5 star, James Beard Award winner for best cocktail program in America 2017. The food is also top shelf! Sip it @siptips 


Is the vibe a little pretentious? Yes. Are the bartenders dressed like pompous assholes? Yes. Would I recommend going here? Absolutely.

Even with all of its frills and gimmicks, there's a reason Maison Premiere is one of the best bars in the city. If you're looking for a spot to grab happy hour with your finance bros, keep looking. If you're looking to pull up a stool with a good friend/S.O. and try a drink you've never had before and will probably not see elsewhere, you're in the right place.

The aforementioned bartenders, despite their suspenders and bowties, are god damn surgeons with a cocktail. "Bespoke" is probably the biggest buzzword for cocktail bars these days, but few places actually live up to the label. I won't bother recommending anything, because a) you like what you like, and b) you really can't go wrong here.

No surprise it's usually packed to the gills. But they only let you in if you can be seated, so it keeps the place from becoming a mob scene (also, drinks this good take time, and it's probably not ideal for the bartenders if there are a dozen people waving money in their face). So put your name down, grab a starter drink around the corner at Iona while you wait, and enjoy your night. 


Great bar experience. Formal and intimate atmosphere with knowledgeable staff. Traditional absinthe service, and fresh seafood specials. Best to reserve in advance.

I have only been here for drinks, not even to try the oysters. My friend and I went around 8 on a Friday night and were seated immediately. The place is beautiful and really romantic: low lighting, staff dressed in Prohibition-period clothes, a wooden horseshoe bar in the front room...Unless you're eating, too, I wouldn't wait too long to have drinks here. I ordered two cocktails, and while they were both delicious and elaborately decorated, they were so sweet that I could feel the impending hangover. And you sort of have to put up with the pomp that comes with being there, so it's not exactly a bar where you can sit with drinks for hours.

I had an evening here I would describe as the most Williamsburg evening of my life. We put our name in for a table and they quoted us an hour wait, which turned into a two-and-a-half hour wait without communication from the hostesses about this extreme underestimation. Once we finally got in the drinks were delicious, the food was okay, and the waiters were pretty rude. BUT I went there another evening with my mother and we had a long extravagant meal with a million smart details told to us by our lovely waiter who knew absolutely everything about the menu and was happy to talk about it. My mom and I both got very drunk and were very happy. That being said, I think twice was enough for me here. There's a lot of places to go with a lot less hassle. 

Love freshly shucked oysters and expertly made drinks? Duck out of work a little early to snag happy hour prices during the week. There’s an oyster shucking station in back, a rounded, beautiful bar in front, and plenty of nooks to settle in for awhile. Absinthe is the drink of choice here, but if you prefer not to drink the Green Fairy straight, there’s a refreshing, summery absinthe colada to try. Prefer to skip absinthe altogether? A Pimm’s Cup variation gets a strong backbone from Aperol and Campari-laced sugarcane, while a house sherry cobbler combines five styles of the wine with lemon and blueberry jam.

Did not had a chance to try food or wine at this venue. Yesterday in this half emty restorant full off waiters and half of an hour time waiting for a bottle of wine my romantic brunch had become a comedy. Best place for divorce scene!!! Yee.. to dont mention very williamsburgsien!

Long wait, only to increase the hype, they write your name down (on an iPad) and later let 'others' bypass you since 'their look' are more of hipster then yours? Really? We found 2 far better bars with no pretentiousness a few blocks without all this fake marketing strategy!