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Photograph: Courtesy Kevin Lapsley

The ice shines at Philomena’s, a new bar in East Williamsburg

Frozen infusions are the focus at this Grand Street spot.

Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Kevin Lapsley

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. 

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