Adventuring around our city (and its outer boroughs) never ceases to amaze us: from the amazing new rolling hills on Governor’s Island to the insanely lush gardens up at Wave Hill in the Bronx, there are surprises scattered everywhere. This spring we finally made it out to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a dose of culture in the form of Duke Riley’s transcendent Fly By Night homing pigeon extravaganza—if you didn’t see it, this video sums it up beautifully (HERE).
Trekking out to that part of Brooklyn felt exploratory, and once on the grounds of the navy yard we made a brilliant discovery in the form of a tiny, but awesome, bar just inside the gates. King’s County Distillery has the quirky honor of being the city’s oldest operating whiskey distillery—even though they opened in 2010. While completely contemporary, the setup speaks of days of yore, with handmade moonshine, bourbon and other whiskeys being churned out in a 117 year old building that served as a bank for the military personnel.
The tipples are top-notch, as is the vibe of the distillery’s gatehouse tasting room and gardens. Picture a perfectly curated cocktail hour at your artsy, adventurous living-off-the-land friend and that kind of sums it up. There’s a patina of age everywhere, but the place is totally modern, and a wonderful place to hang as the summer sun is dipping below the skyline. Being so surrounded by history makes the place feel like a location from another time, and if you walk the grounds of the Navy Yard to scope out the rest of the scene (you can also tour the distillery itself), you’ll see historic buildings in various states of decrepitude, the kind of decay that’s so beautiful you can’t take your eyes away from it. Well maybe just long enough to have one more drink. May we suggest the margarita made with the distillery’s grapefruit and jalapeño infused whiskey swapped out for tequila? The other brilliant aspect of our new favorite watering hole? The booze they’re crafting on site is for sale, too. Retail therapy has never gone down this smooth.