After fourteen years in the bar business, Kent Lanier (Carnegie Club) has staked out on his own in Greenpoint, at the Black Rabbit Bar.
As soon as you’re in the door of this brand new Brooklyn bar, you’re met by a portrait of an elderly gentleman wearing a stern expression and an unruffled suit. “He’s the original Black Rabbit,” says owner Kent Lanier of his great-grandfather, and the bar's namesake.
The past seems to be the theme here, as Black Rabbit conjures up a Prohibition-era speakeasy vibe and combines it with the feel of an old-time Western saloon. In fact, nearly every aspect of the former 19th-century row house is a thoughtful creation inspired by the hush-hush spirit of the roaring ‘20s, with hefty influences from Louisiana-born Kent and wife Anne Lanier’s favorite European pubs. “Every fixture, from the lights to the chandeliers on the ceiling, is pre-1945,” Lanier says. “The floors are salvaged from an 1880s mill in South Carolina. They have holes and scratches, and the planks are all different lengths.”
About a 10-minute walk from the Bedford L stop in Williamsburg, Black Rabbit is a visual standout with its jet-black exterior, red wood-paneled ceiling, and antlers, vintage lamps and portraits adorning the walls. “That’s what I wanted to do,” Lanier says. “A neighborhood bar that has cheap drinks. I’m getting a feeling people are walking by, thinking it’s fancy somehow. But it’s not.”
Expect over 10 beers on tap, a changing roster of specialty cocktails and the overhead sounds of indie rock and local bands. With as many gorgeous antique touches as there are peppering the place, there are also a couple of modern ones as well—like the push-button service for booth dwellers who can beckon the staff for a refill, literally, with the push of a button.
For drinks, expect ten beers on tap and a cocktail menu that rotates daily. Try the signature Cactus Berry, a concoction of tequila, rioja wine, fresh lime juice and triple sec.
Jukebox-hater Kent Lanier controls the music -- and that's a good thing. Lanier selects a good mix of ‘90s indie rock and local Brooklyn bands.