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The Shanty

Bars, Cocktail bars Williamsburg
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonPink gin at the Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonTot & Tonic at the Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonSneaky Sour at the Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Virginia Rollison)
Photograph: Virginia RollisonThe Shanty
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul WagtouiczNew York Distilling Co.
 (Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz)
Photograph: Paul WagtouiczPerry's Tot at New York Distilling Co.

If you've ever visited a vineyard, you're familiar with the tasting-room drill: Watch a promotional video, then sip minuscule pours in a makeshift barroom. But things are a bit different at the Shanty, a new drinkery attached to the manufacturing floor of the New York Distilling Company, which recently kicked off production in Williamsburg. There's no hard sell at the door, no retail shop on the way out and, aside from a couple of posters in the bathroom, no branding in sight. The understated approach has its pitfalls—turn your back on the copper still, visible through two large bay windows, and the bar can feel like any number of Brooklyn joints, with exposed brick and light fixtures fashioned to look like old whiskey bottles. The lack of self-promotion can be frustrating: The distillery is doing very interesting work, producing unusual spirits with local ingredients, but the menu—currently a study in minimalism—offers little in the way of background. Still, the place offers a unique tippling experience, allowing drinkers to compare the borough-made booze side-by-side with more familiar brands or try it in a range of well-built cocktails.

DRINK THIS: Gin is the thing for those looking to explore the distillery's signature spirits. There are currently two varieties to sample. Anglophiles may be drawn to the juniper-forward Perry's Tot, made to the historic strength approved by the British Royal Navy (the sailors needed an overproof spirit that wouldn't prevent gunpowder from igniting in the event of a spill). The Tot & Tonic ($8) provides a clean platform for its nuanced earthiness and dry finish; start here, then see how it plays in more baroque creations. The gentler Dorothy Parker, meanwhile, is described as a modern American gin, with nontraditional botanicals such as elderberry and dried hibiscus petals contributing to its rounder, fruitier character.

Try it with a splash of Campari and Angostura bitters in the Pink Gin ($8), dispensed from a 19th-century moonshining still and served with a Brooklyn Lager chaser. While the proprietary stuff anchors the cocktail list, head bartender Nate Dumas (Prime Meats) employs outside spirits, too. The Sneaky Sour (Tito's vodka, lemon, Carpano Antica, juniper-coriander syrup, egg white; $11) is a sly recruitment tool for gin agnostics, simulating the spirit's juniper notes without overwhelming the drink's tight balance of sweet and tart flavors.

GOOD FOR: Local-hooch boosters. While you don't have to visit the Shanty to taste NYDC's products—pick up bottles at Astor Wines & Spirits—there's certainly an allure to sipping them just feet from where they're made.

THE CLINCHER: The distillery is in only its first wave of production, so there's more to look forward to. This fall, patrons can expect an Old Tom (a lightly sweetened gin) and a rare Rock and Rye—young rye whiskey flavored with rock candy. The latter should tide over dark-spirits enthusiasts until 2013, when the team plans to release its first aged whiskey, made with grains from New York State.

OVERHEARD: "Tell him I was too fucking busy, or vice versa."—A patron invokes the wit of 20th-century scribe Dorothy Parker while sipping a gin named in her honor

By: Time Out New York editors


Venue name: The Shanty
Address: 79 Richardson St
New York
Cross street: between Leonard and Lorimer Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 5pm–2am; Sat, Sun 2pm–2am
Transport: Subway: L to Lorimer St, G to Metropolitan Ave
Price: Average drink: $10. AmEx, MC, V
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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The shanty is a fun bar located at the New York Distilling Company. The bar hosts some local bands at night. It's a chill place where you can drink rye and gin made on premises. I attended a distillery tour. I found the tour very informative and interactive. It lasted about 45 minutes and included 5 tastings. Some of the tastings were great, while others were too strong for me. After the tour, you can purchase rye or gin made at the distillery.

This is the home of the New York Distilling Company. I stopped by last night to try it out and I was pleasantly surprised they do a comedy night on Tuesdays. The cocktails were great too, I started out with a gimble, then their Manhattan and topped it off with Mister Katz's Rock & Rye - delicious!