We’re so used to seeing hipster bars usurp Eastern European establishments that we did a double take when we saw a brand-spanking-new Polish bar open up on East 7th Street. Klimat has what must be the most impressive assortment of Eastern European beers this side of the Bohemian Hall in Queens: So sure are the owners that you’ve never heard of the Czech pilsners on tap that they let you sample a flight of them before you commit to a 16.9-ounce mug.
Same with the Eastern European wines available by the bottle or glass (Bear’s Blood, anyone?). There are also sixteen-ounce bottles from dozens of vowel-challenged breweries in Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland, with Slovakian and Slovenian brews on their way. Also soon to come are menu items like smoked salmon, fillet of sole, and grilled shrimp. Grab a bench there this week and you may just be plied with free appetizers, or wait a few weeks until the menu has filled out and the basement bar is open. Just don’t think this constitutes an old-world comeback: Practically next door, what once was a Ukrainian dive, Verchovyna Tavern, is now the gussied-up Café 81, serving Sex on the Beach shots and penne alla vodka. Oh, well — you win some, you lose some.
Klimat, 77 E. 7th St, nr. First Ave.; 917-214-0589
Café 81, 81 E. 7th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-473-4900