For Garry Embry, co-owner of Greenpoint’s new bourbon bar The Moonlight Mile, it’s all about three things: “whiskey, beer and rock ‘n’ roll.”
“We wanted an environment where if you want to talk whiskey, we would talk whiskey all night long,” he told the Gazette. “And do it in a way that would be fun, low-key and rockin’ out.”
At the recently-opened watering hole, whiskey neophytes and connoisseurs alike can sample from a menu of about 150 or so whiskies and more than a dozen whiskey-based cocktails.
Why whiskey? As a Kentucky-born Greenpoint resident, Embry is “freakin’ nuts” about the stuff and dreamed for years about opening up a bourbon bar. After leaving his corporate job, he did just that with his wife – and so far they’ve attracted a steady stream of whiskey-loving locals.
Embry admits that some people raised their eyebrows when they learned of his intention to open a concept bar focused on the brown liquor. But that never deterred him. If the bar is hard to define, it’s because Embry prefers it that way.
“We really wanted to put together something that would be a little different,” he said. “There’s some great freakin’ whiskey here and lots of products you can’t find.”
He’s also committed to maintaining an environment that – unlike some other whiskey spots – is casually upscale without being pretentious or pedantic (meaning “no attitude” allowed). And Moonlight Mile, with its airy, woodsy aesthetic and laid-back but knowledgeable bartenders, easily accomplishes both those tasks.
There’s something for everyone on the meticulously-curated menu, from cocktails with house-made syrups and bitters to a dozen craft beers and wine. And of course, lots of whiskey.
“I think we have something that will get a non-whiskey drinker into the whiskey world or a give hardcore whiskey drinker a drink they’re going to respect,” he said.
Embry offers a deep selection of Kentucky bourbons, but he’s also embraced the recent “explosion” of whiskies produced in other states. Uninitiated – or indecisive – whiskey drinkers can try one of three flights centered around a theme: ‘Difference in Proof,’ ‘Steeped in Tradition,’ and ‘The New York Flight.’
While the bar features unique whiskies from all over the country, 21 are produced in New York, and a few are even made in Brooklyn. Hillrock is one of his favorite Brooklyn-produced labels – though at $19 an ounce, it isn’t cheap.
“They kick *ss,” he said. “There are some rock star whiskies being made in the state of New York.”
But the bar isn’t only about whiskey – it’s about tunes too. They’ve refurbished an antique jukebox and loaded it up with thousands of handpicked tunes (all playable for free). They’ll also be playing tunes on a turntable that spins vinyl records.
The name of the bar was inspired by music too: It’s a reference to the Rolling Stones song of the same name – one of Embry’s favorites.
A New Yorker for over 15 years, Embry and his wife like to keep things local (southern twang not withstanding). They hired subcontractors from North Brooklyn during the building process and remain very supportive of other bars in the neighborhood.
“We really do believe we’re not in direct competition with all the other bars,” he insisted. “If we do well, we all do well.”
200 Franklin Street
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