Set in a revitalized factory, the Wythe Hotel offers a glimpse into a bygone chapter of New York, when the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was an industrial dynamo ultimately paving the way for a new generation of affordable loft-seeking artists. At the same time, the Wythe, nearly a decade after its 2012 debut, continues to embody an evolving Williamsburg’s stylish ascent over the past 20 years.
Consider Bar Blondeau, Golden Age Hospitality’s classy transformation of the old rooftop hotspot Lemon’s on the sixth floor. Designed by Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture (the New York firm has worked on projects spanning the West Hollywood EDITION hotel and Donna Karan’s Central Park West apartment) the space is kitted out with leather, velvet, and oak.
Inside this gold-tinted room, chefs Aidan O’Neal and Jake Leiber, who are also behind Le Crocodile, the well-loved restaurant in the Wythe lobby, turn out seafood-centric small plates with French and Spanish inflections, including pickled onion smoked trout toast, mustard seed and aged soy tuna tartare, and apple- and ginger-flecked oysters, that conjure a pared-back European bistro’s seaside patio.
These dishes intentionally mesh well with the wine list assembled by beverage director Rafa García Febles. Begin with a Lebanese pét-nat at the marble-topped, sea green-tiled bar, and say goodnight over a sweet Malvasia from the Canary Islands, but don’t overlook bar manager Sörine Anderson’s cocktails. There’s a quenching chile salt-rimmed Sunbird with tequila blanco, yuzu, pink grapefruit soda, and Suze, for example, as well as the L’Orange, a frozen melange of orange wine, Lillet blanc, aquavit, and orange oil.
From a curvy banquette, one of these drinks in hand, stare onto the East River for a good, long while through Bar Blondeau’s panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s hard to feel anything less than heartened by the possibilities of an unpredictable, ever-shifting skyline.