Tørst is one of the most talked-about bars in Brooklyn at the moment and it’s easy to see why – there’s nothing quite like it in New York. It serves only artisan, often obscure and hard-to-find beers from around the world.
The low-key bar on Greenpoint’s Manhattan Avenue is the creation of ‘nomad brewer’ Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (the guy behind Evil Twin Brewing) and former Noma and Momofuku chef Daniel Burns.
Tørst (‘thirst’ in Danish) is the kind of bar that you might go on a mission to (we certainly did) rather than stumble upon, with a barely visible marble-carved sign above the door – blink and you might miss it. Inside, the reclaimed wood-panelled space is minimal – a little like a bunker – and very Scandinavian, with rows of tidy benches, tables and high stools around the bar.
We visited on a grey, rainy Monday afternoon with just a few people propping up the bar. I imagine in the evening, the atmosphere will be great, particularly with the cosy, sociable set up and the buzz surrounding the bar. The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has already been spotted drinking there.
The marble bar is a thing of beauty – the taps feature no branding or logos due to the beers constantly changing. Instead, the 21 taps are colour coded and categorised, from the lightest to the darkest. A cool feature is the ‘flux capacitor’, which allows the bar staff to adjust the nitrogen and carbon dioxide levels, so that the beer is poured perfectly every time.
Tørst may be targeted to the serious beer drinker, but the friendly, clued-up bar staff are happy to recommend a beer or explain the menu to the uninitiated. I went with the bartender’s current favourite, Perennial Saison de Lis – a light and crisp beer that is brewed with camomile for a herbal flavour. The beer was refreshing, easy to drink and zesty.
Steven’s Evil Twin Low Life Pilsner ($4) was slightly stronger and more complex. The beer had a cloudy, honey shade and a distinctive, slightly sour aftertaste. Both beers were served in clear wine glasses with a turquoise geometric pattern. This may seem unusual, but apparently oversized wine glasses are well suited to strong or high gravity beers.
Food at Tørst is currently limited to charcuterie and cheese plates with olives and pickles. However, when the kitchen is fully complete in May, Tørst will also include a tasting menu restaurant called Luksus (translated as ‘luxury’) , seating just 26 guests. Chef Daniel Burns will offer a five-course menu featuring Scandinavian dishes made with local produce and there are plans for events with guest chefs from Denmark.
Tørst is an innovative, exciting neighbourhood bar that lives up to the hype and is certainly one to watch, particularly when the restaurant is up and running. I can see it making all of the ‘best bar’ lists, so visit now before the crowds start flocking.
All photos by Cherie City