You’d have to be crazy to open a bar in Williamsburg that specializes in pricey Belgian ales, right? Wrong. Everyone knows that most “artists” in Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhood are hardly starving, and the folks behind Spuyten Duyvil are onto them. But even so, they seem less driven by mere capitalism than by sharing their expertise: Ask these young connoisseurs about any one of the 100-plus rare beers—including the malty, rich, and potent (9.3 percent alcohol) Trappistes Rochefort ($7) or the nutty and smooth Double Kross Brown ($6)—and they’ll offer a thorough description. Aside from tasty brews, they also have an impressive wine selection that ranges from the full-bodied and aromatic Santi Solane valpolicella (Veneto, Italy; $9 a glass) to the lean and tannic Necken Markt Vinis Unitis (Austria; $7 a glass). The bartenders-owners gladly advise sophisticated hipsters on which wine will go best with their plate ($10) of, say, Gjetost (caramelized goat cheese), Tasso (ham), and lamb.
The name of the bar means “spitting devil” in Dutch, but aside from the fiery red and yellow walls, there’s nothing hellish about it. The decor has a charming country-kitchen/general-store feel to it: wooden tool chests, oversize glass jars, and other antiques (some of which are for sale) fill this former railroad apartment. And the jukebox—featuring music from Louis Armstrong to Mercury Rev—is as satisfying as anything on the menu. With many a cold night on the horizon, this is the perfect place to hole up till spring.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 6, 2004