Craft ice is so ubiquitous in New York City that you might not remember the first time you splurged on a meticulously designed libation in a so-called speakeasy or nouveau cocktail den and thought, Wow, there’s like a big thing of ice in here, as an oversized crystal-clear cube kissed your nose like a friendly Arctic fox.
The frozen water that shined like diamonds at Dutch Kills more than a decade ago, for example, drove the drinking discourse at the time, though it wasn’t the first or last to do so. Philomena’s, a new bar set to open at 790 Grand Street in East Williamsburg on August 4 is the latest to light a fire under NYC’s icy landscape.
Brothers Kyle and Sean O’Brien (both of Den Hospitality), aim to spotlight “unique carved and infused ice cubes,” at the new venture named for their great aunt. Philomena’s opening cocktail menu includes the Felix, with a cucumber/lime/Tajín ice cube in mezcal and expressed orange, the Aileen, with a habanero ice cube in tequila blanco, guava, lime, Cointreau and the Philomena, with a watermelon-rosé ice cube in prosecco.
Other cocktails are served up, and the Willy’s 50/50 pulls a 180, lighting vodka and citrus-infused Dolin blanc on fire. Beer and wine are also available and every drink runs from $6-$13. Snacks from nearby restaurant Pomp and Circumstance include hummus ($8), duck liver ($9) mousse and pickled crudité ($4).
Philomena’s seats 75 in its cerulean-hued space, including ten spots at the bar and on a big oxblood banquette. It will open for walk-ins only at 5pm daily.