The interior atmosphere and aesthetic is similar to Austin’s Weather Up, which means the Austin branch – which came later – replicated its sisters well. It’s service structure is similar to other New York speakeasys – a manageable bar, a couple of booths, and a window area. This location also has a patio, but it is still cold enough on this April night not to indulge the outdoors for a beverage. Being Brooklyn, more standing room is found around the bar – it is cozy but not claustrophobic. The bar is full at 8:00pm on a Sunday, yet not brimming. I still find a seat.
Set in front of me is the Pied Piper (mezcal, olorzco sherry, meletti amaro, angostura bitters, lemon twist). It is sweet, light, crisp, with a smokey finish. “If you don’t like it, I’ll drink it,” he says.
“That’s the best – the money back guarantee,” I say. It is the very same thing I tell to my patrons who let me play with their choices. “I love it. It’s really good.” And by really good, I mean incredible.
The backbar is full of staple liquors, standard amaros and vermouths, gins and bourbons. An absinthe drip is featured in the middle of the bar. The Sunday night is managed by one bartender one server/barback. Drinks are produced beautifully. Every motion is executed with speed and care. The others at the bar are small groups of friends, casual couples on an outing rather than a serious date, and a few other solo patrons including one woman next to me. It feels like a neighborhood bar.
I want to stay all night now, as I sip the drink to savor every moment and the steadfast nature with which the lightness of the drink transitions to a hint of smokiness. I know I can have only one; I slotted this stop 30 minutes before dinner, so I will have to come back.
One man orders two Miller High Life and the bartender opens one for himself as well. The woman next to me orders a beer and a shot, we all cheers, though I have not spoken to her while I furiously take notes. The three of us entertain some talk about the weather and the long coming spring. The busy spell calms and the bartender refills water. Bartenders at Weather Up from Brooklyn to Austin are groomed to do this – cocktail machines with amazing personalities and eloquently casual customer service.
“Only one?” he says as I decline the gaze that asks “what do I refill your glass with?” I explain. I leave with the feeling it is my neighborhood bar, despite its location nowhere near my apartment.