The sun's setting and the first drink goes down easy. The second drink, sipped from a weighty tiki mask, slides down nicely too. The third you've left up to the bartender who now knows you pretty well. You may have told him about your last two dates while sharing a key lime wedge from Pies 'n' Thighs across the way with a newly acquainted barmate. Such is an early evening at Dram.
Vinyl spins in the background and a luminous oversized canoe casts shadows up and down maple-syrup-colored walls. An aberration from most cocktail dens, Dram's floor-length windows are thrown open to the street letting twilight seep in amongst punchbowls and lovers in booths. Calves dangle along stools and relieved staff linger about for last words and Diesel stout.
House-made ginger beer is like summer-mown grass, piquant and green in variations on a gin-spiked, mint-muddled southside and the "knuck if you buck" buck, a keen and clean mix of rye, lemon and lime juice. A negroni on the rocks with hand-carved 'bergs is well-suited to long sipping at the windows. If this was New Orleans, we'd spill onto the sidewalk, slinking along to the house's swerving records, hootch in plastic cups. But we're still in Williamsburg, cocktails in coupes, legs in cutoffs, courting long evenings along the windows.
177 S. 4th Street,
Photo by Jackie Neale Chadwick