Hipster invasion in Bay Ridge?

Brooklyn Daily
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First Norwegians, then John Travolta, and now — hipster wine lovers looking for a night on the town.

Bay Ridge welcomed a touch of Park Slope to the parkway this week when Owl’s Head Wine Bar debuted on Fifth Avenue’s restaurant row. Ridge resident John Avelluto and Bushwick’s Steve Weintraub opened their romantic new dining spot on 74th Street — featuring a mostly Brooklyn-made menu of drinks and nibbles — to lure foodies and wine aficionados looking for a special night out in the neighborhood.

The pair looked at spaces in the now chichi neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick, but chose bucolic Bay Ridge because they think it has a shortage of date spots.

“Bay Ridge restaurants are known for their family-style atmosphere, sports bars, and casual take-out — we should be able to bring a high quality of food that you would find in the city,” said Avelluto, who named the place after his favorite green space in the Big Apple: Owl’s Head Park on Shore Road and 68th Street.

The warm and inviting atmosphere is magnified by a few carefully chosen appointments, including a bar made of a thick slab of polished maple fabricated by an upstate carpenter, matching maple tables and swivel stools, Edison bulbs, exposed brick walls and an original tin ceiling that Weintraub spent a month polishing to an eye-blinding shine.

A floor-to-ceiling chalkboard displays the changing menu of Italian, French and New York wines, beers, and bar snacks. More than a dozen wines are also available at $6 to $12 per glass or $23 to $38 per bottle. There’s the Channing Brothers Rosso Fresco, a blend of Merlot, Syrah and two other grapes varieties for a fruitier, more tannic experience. The Italian Primitivo wonderfully whets dry mouths, and the Brooklyn Oenology’s 2010 Riesling offers a light white remedy to frosty days.

Pair your selection with a delectable crostini or panini prepared by Owl’s Head head chef Michael Kogan, who uses a sandwich press and a convection oven the size of your grandma’s old Magnavox boob tube to make the incredible edibles. We recommend the Brussel sprout and kabocha squash crostini with pomegranate reduction, the artichoke and shaved fennel crostini or the truffled three-cheese panini.

Brooklyn’s homemade bounty figures prominently on the menu. There’s Sixpoint’s Sweet Action and Diesel Stout from Red Hook, pork charcuterie and hard cheese from D. Coluccio and Sons in Bensonhurst, bread from Il Fornaretto Bakery also in Bensonhurst, soft cheese from Boerum Hill’s Stinky Cheese, chocolate bars from Williamsburg’s Mast Brothers, and lavish Nutella cheesecakes and Mexican spiced chocolate cookies from Brooklyn Treat Shoppe in Dyker Heights.

The new kid on the block is also the cool new place to chill, according to its owners.

“We want people to come in after work, have a drink with some friends, a bite to eat, and have a conversati­on,” said Weintraub. “It’s a very comfortable place to be.”

Owl’s Head Wine Bar [479 74th Street at Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge (718) 680-2436] Tue-Thurs, 6 pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 6 pm-2 am; Sun, 2-8 pm. For info, visit

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:04 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reader feedback

Joy Fields from Bay Ridge says:
Thank God! This is exactly what we have been waiting for: a place that is dedicated to supporting local economies not just in itself but through it's purchasing on items from food to tables and even liquors and beers. It is easier than people imagine to help our local economy grow and Owl's Head is going to help Bay Ridge move into the new economy. Along with Glow Thai on 3rd Avenue who is planning to source their food through local farmers, maybe more of our business owners will come full circle and realize that their own business will thrive by utilizing other local businesses. We are educated consumers in a recession. We want to spend our money with discretion and we want to be helpful with every dollar. Thank you, Owl's Head for opening here. I hope the love spreads!

Your Mom-About-Town,
Joy Fields

P.S. If you are looking to move your business forward, please contact me for more ideas at
Dec. 14, 2011, 9:39 am
Kristen Pettit from Bay Ridge says:
Just last weekend I had friends in from out of town and was looking for a sophisticated place to have an adult drink on a Saturday night. I could think of no such place in the neighborhood, and we all ended up going to Clover Club on Smith Street.

I am SO GLAD to hear of Owl's Head's opening as I would much rather keep my patronage here in Bay Ridge! This wine bar is exactly the kind of place I've been looking for. Congratulations to Mr. Avelluto on his vision and the opening of his new place! I will be visiting him very, very soon!

-Kristen Pettit
Dec. 14, 2011, 10:04 am
D from Bay Ridge says:
John has excellent taste and always picks out great wine for me at Longs on 79th and 5th (the only liquor store I will step foot into in Bay Ridge). Nice to see places like this open in Bay Ridge. Ditto to what Joy said. Get there, drink wine.
Dec. 14, 2011, 10:49 am
Maureen from Bay Ridge says:
Yes!! I am thrilled. This is exactly what we need in the neighborhood.
Dec. 14, 2011, 2:41 pm
rj from bay ridge says:
They're about to find out why hipster places that belong in Park Slope or Cobble Hill don't work out in Bay Ridge say like the Chip Shop. That said, I hope it works out for them.
Dec. 14, 2011, 3:06 pm
M from Bay Ridge says:
Why is every non-traditional restaurant/bar considered hipster? I like wine bars and I'm pretty far from hipster status. I also feel that there is a population in Bay RIdge (like myself) looking for something near home that isn't a dirty sports bar or a mediocre italian american style restaurant. Cheers to Owl's Head!
Dec. 14, 2011, 3:46 pm
Hunter S from Bay Ridge says:
John is very knowledgeable about wines and he is a great artist. I think that Owls Head is going to be a great success! I rarely go out into the neighborhood to get a drink because...Well, there really isn't anywhere to go. Def excited for this, now I won't have to go to other neighborhoods to get some tasty vino!
Dec. 14, 2011, 4:02 pm
liz says:
hooray! I think we'll come by for a drink this weekend.
I recognize john as a fellow bay ridge parent, a knowledgeable and friendly help at longs, an now as proprietor of what I'm hoping will be my new go-to place for a drink.
Dec. 14, 2011, 5:59 pm
Gabby from Bay Ridge says:
I agrees with "M"...this place is not hipster just because it's new and young. It's just a wine bar. I was afraid when I read the title, because Williamsburg-type hipsters would not do well in Bay Ridge, but this is just a modern, new wine bar that will do GREAT in Bay Ridge. It probably would fare better in the 80's instead of on 74th, but I think it'll do good, nonetheless. This will bring great diversity to Bay Ridge!
Dec. 14, 2011, 9:59 pm
Gabby from Bay Ridge says:
Dec. 14, 2011, 10 pm
Justin Brannan from Bay Ridge says:
Bay Ridge... like no other place on earth!!! Just wait and see.
Dec. 15, 2011, 1:25 am
mamarana says:
Is it entirely too late to suggest you change the name of your date night spot to Bliss Wine Bar, since that is what the park is known as to oldschool bay ridge folks?
Dec. 15, 2011, 10:15 pm
Specialk from Bay ridge says:
Mediocre Italian restaurants??? If you mean family style places that have been around for decades and don't charge $50 for an entree then I love the mediocre Italian restaurants here. This isn't park slope, this isn't "the burg", bay ridge doesn't need a "sophisticated hipster" wine bar to make the neighborhood better. If that's what you need in your life then bay ridge isn't the best place for you.
Dec. 16, 2011, 9:39 pm
Sam from Bay Ridge says:
Welcome! Who knew you would bring on such explosive, ignorant comments from the crowd? I for one have grown up here and always leave the neighborhood to find a place to dine and drink. How about you all just look at it as a new place that is opening and stop judging it with your pedestrian views? If it's too much for you - don't go. Oh and "Specialk" speak for yourself- and keep going to Trace.
Dec. 19, 2011, 7:59 pm
J from Bay Ridge says:
Great! Can't wait to check it out. This are just the types of places Bay Ridge needs to catch up with some of the other neighborhoods in Brooklyn that currently have more to offer, in almost every way.

And for those who don't like the sound of it, I hope you'll stay away, otherwise we'll just end up with a classier Salty Dog.
Dec. 19, 2011, 8:13 pm
Jack from Bay Ridge says:
Owls Head Wine Bar has added another dimension to one of Brooklyn's finest neighborhoods. Bay Ridge and Owls Head Wine Bar...perfect together. The Owl has landed! Good luck and may you remain a destination in the neighborhood for many more years to come.
Jan. 2, 2012, 8:59 pm
Nick from Bay Ridge says:
I'm definitely NOT going here. Bay Ridge is a regular neighborhood in Brooklyn and we these "upper-class" kind of places don't belong here. These kinds of boring places belong in Williamsburg. I mean think about how many of these places exist in Brooklyn let alone the city. Once one of these things pops up it will be endless and the next thing you know you're priced out of your own neighborhood. Oh...wait, that's already happened. Well guess what? I bought my place and I pay my taxes so I'm not going NOWHERE! Do you really want Bay Ridge to be just another destination neighborhood?
Jan. 17, 2012, 8:01 pm
Sam from Bay Ridge says:

Are you for real? C'mon- someone must be making this guy up! What are you TRYING to say? What is boring about a wine bar? What does paying your taxes have ANYTHING to do with this bar?!?!? I cannot believe the mentality of these so called "Bay Ridge People". I've lived here for quite a long time and I welcome this bar.
Feb. 2, 2012, 11:50 pm
Dick from Bar Ridge says:
I definitely do NOT want Bay Ridge to improve in any way. I don't want progress, or class invading we these rows of dollar stores and nail salons. I would prefer my neighborhood fall into total disarray, so nobody wants to live here, or even visit. I would rather have a bad neighborhood to myself than have to share a nice one. I hate improvements of any kind. Thats why I refuse raises at work, encourage my kids to not study or try, and I never read anything longer than 1,000 words. Oh, and I pay taxes. And I'm ain't not ungoing noplace! Ever!
Feb. 4, 2012, 10:16 am
Maria from Bay Ridge says:
We Bay Ridge "hipsters" pay taxes too and love the neighborhood for all it offers, including, and most especially, the new alternatives that have been popping up over the years along the side streets. The Owl's Head is a wonderful addition: great food, quality, adult drink options and friendly owners. Places of this sort already exist in BR and are beloved by those who insist on "boring" sophisticated, well-prepared food and selected wines. For all others, by all means enjoy Trace and its ilk and the bump and grind that goes with it. No one said those places should close. Do calm down.

Kudos to The Owl's Head!
Feb. 5, 2012, 7:32 pm

Comments closed.

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