Williamsburg’s Bar Beau Specializes in Strong Cappuccinos and Douglas Fir Cocktails

Bar Beau’s espresso drinks are made with Parlor Coffee. Photo: Melissa Hom

For her second project, Claire Chan wanted to expand on the premise of the Elk, but also to open a more properly expansive space. With its bright interior and handful of seats, the all-day café component of Bar Beau at first resembles exactly what one might expect from a Brooklyn outpost of her bustling West Village café — “It kind of has the same point of view as the Elk,” Chan says — but her new project comes with the bonus of a stylish 65-seat bar behind the coffee setup.

When it makes its debut next month, small plates and cold drinks will be served in the quasi-secluded space, which is accessible by going through the café and into a curved passageway. Up front at the now-open café, there are grab-and-go pastries from the likes of Bien Cuit and Ovenly, plus a selection of Raw Bliss Balls, the raw vegan snack dense with so-called superfoods like chia seeds and dates. Brooklyn’s Parlor Coffee goes into all brewed and espresso drinks.

The marble and concrete bar is reached by walking through the cafe. Photo: Melissa Hom

The credentialed talent behind the scenes includes Isaac-Rae, the architecture and design studio, and the MP Shift, the illustrious team behind De Maria. Small plates were devised by chef-consultant Gil Calderon, formerly of Foster Sundry; head chef Gemma Kamin-Korn will be at the stove. Beer and natural wine will also be served at Bar Beau, and bartender Grant Wheeler consulted on a menu that goes heavy on ingredients like Japanese whiskey, yuzu, and peppers.

The ‘So Sorry’ includes tequila, amaro, pineapple, yuzu, habanero, and a tuft of shiso. Photo: Melissa Hom

Eventually, ten house cocktails and 15 small plates will be served. Both menus, in fact, are replete with Japanese ingredients. In a format similar to the Elk, Chan says she wanted to imbue the bar’s identity with restrained cues from the Pacific Northwest, where she’s from, without tipping into full-fledged fusion territory.

In terms of food, that means blistered shishito peppers laid out with Kewpie mayo, licorice-like Thai basil, and Romesco sauce, along with asparagus spears with tonnato, cress, and toasted bonito flakes. A bowl of warm udon noodles comes swirled with shiso pesto, lemon, and Grana Padano.

Udon with Grana Padano, lemon, and shiso pesto. Photo: Melissa Hom

A drink called Tall Trees involves floral gin from Northern California, smoky mezcal, and bitter gentian. A drop of hemp oil adds a resin-like note, and a smoke gun is used to coat the glass with a sprig of torched Douglas fir.

The arboreal leitmotif, along with elements of smoke and cedar, is meant to evoke a distant but welcoming fire. “For me, it’s the next step,” says Chan. “More than anything, what I wanted to create is a space that resembles a home away from home.”

Shishito peppers with Romesco and Kewpie mayonnaise. Photo: Melissa Hom
Asparagus tonnato. Photo: Melissa Hom
The ‘Tonka Truck,’ with two gins, aquavit, lemon, yogurt, egg white, and rhubarb. Photo: Melissa Hom
‘Paisley Island’ includes, among other ingredients, Japanese whiskey, amaro, cucumber, coconut-cardamom, and chili-sesame. Photo: Melissa Hom
A few of the ten house cocktails include Japanese whiskey. Photo: Melissa Hom
Grab a seat. Photo: Melissa Hom

Bar Beau, 61 Withers St., nr. Lorimer St., Williamsburg; 917-909-1960

Bar Beau Opens in Williamsburg