Two entrepreneurs take a risk on a sophisticated cocktail bar near the fast-changing Barclays Center hood
by matt Scanlon
In the wake of disappointing seasons for both the Nets and the Islanders, a stunning announcement was made in January that the latter would be leaving the Barclays Center. To a number of nearby bars and restaurateurs, this move was a suggestion that the character of the neighborhood might be evolving, too, from one in which quick-hit drinks and chain fare had sway to a scene that perhaps better mirrored the Park Slope/Fort Greene area as a whole.
For Murat Uyaroglu (who owns the coffee bar and cafe Hungry Ghost on Flatbush Avenue) and Bruno Dias, there was an opportunity to be had near the Center, now more than ever, for an honest-to-goodness craft cocktail bar, one with a European vibe, no less. The result is Sweet Polly, which opened in November and is home of some of the most adventurous drink mixes we’ve tasted in months, thanks principally to the efforts of mixologist Dias, who offers such wonders as the Bad Hombre (tequila, bison grass vodka, and yogurt), Pet Ocelot (rum, passion fruit, ginger, and lime), Chris P. Bacon (bacon fat-washed Midori, lemon, and sour melon), and the Golden Eye (chocolate bitters and cold beer). The first, which we tried on a crisp May afternoon while Sweet Polly staff was preparing for a Star Wars-themed “May the 4th Be With You” party, is served in a ceramic shark’s head with a burning cinnamon stick imitating a cigar.
The space—cool and woody but with witty counterpoints like a grass wall—is going to be an ideal refuge from the summer heat, and simply a great hangout for a neighborhood that badly needed a break from wall-of-TVs sameness. There’s an emphasis on local sourcing throughout, in both the principally small plates (such as oysters, fresh cheeses, and sweets) prepared by chef Jared Stafford-Hill (formally of Wallflower and Maison Premiere) and in the bar selections and their focus on local brews and spices.
If this is a taste of where the Barclays hood is trending, we can see ourselves quickly becoming craft cocktail and sports fanatics simultaneously.
71 6th Avenue / 718.484.9600 / sweetpollynyc.com