A stretch of Ninth Street in downtown Manhattan has reigned for years as the so-called “Little Tokyo” of New York with its spate of sushi restaurants, yakitori joints, a popular Asian grocer and bars flowing with sake.
But now, Angel’s Share, the revolutionary speakeasy tucked inside the restaurant Village Yokocho, has opened its first bar outside of the East Village. Owner Tony Yoshida debuted Oldies on Dec. 19th within Industry City, the sprawling development along the Brooklyn waterfront.
The 12-seat boite—there’s standing room at the counter spaces along the walls—is located next to Japan Village, the wonderful food court we reviewed earlier this year. This new hotbed of Japanese business features nearly a dozen vendors selling everything from creative bowls of ramen to fluffy milk bread. Just a few steps away is Brooklyn Kura, an American craft sake brewery.
While there’s already a bar within Japan Village, its drink menu is limited. At Oldies, you can order classic cocktails ($13), wine ($12-$16 for glasses) and sake. There’s also a bar menu with bites to soak up all the booze, including fried chicken karaage ($9), corn tempura ($7), oysters ($10 for four) and fried squid legs ($8).
The bar opens at 5pm Wednesday-Friday and 2pm on weekends. We’re told the closing time will vary daily, which is not surprising given how slow foot traffic can be around Industry City after work hours. During a recent review of Sahadi’s, another notable coup for the complex, there were few other diners, despite being another hybrid market-bar.
No matter the case, one thing is clear: there’s a big demand for Japanese-owned bars. In recent years, spots like Katana Kitten, Bar Goto, Hi-Collar and Bar Moga have populated the lists of best bars across the city.
But Angel’s Share was an early leader in the craft cocktail movement. The team’s ice program was unparalleled (serving crystal clear ice), patrons were only served if they were seated and classic recipes replaced overly sweet Appletinis. (Disclosure: Time Out has worked with the speakeasy to create an opening cocktail at Time Out Market New York this year.)
Recently, NR opened on the Upper East Side with a creative cocktail menu (exhibit A: the Transparent Tomato features tomato shochu, clear tomato water, green tomato jam and lemon). The bar’s owner and beverage director, Shigefumi Kabashima, had previously opened ROKC, a well-regarded spot in West Harlem that opened in 2016.
Further downtown, Bar Goto has been one of our favorite Japanese bars with its well-crafted drinks and fun bar snacks. Kenta Goto, the owner, has plans to open another bar in, you guessed it: Brooklyn.
Oldies bar is located at 69 36th Street at Industry City, Brooklyn, NY 11232.