The recently opened William Vale Hotel just begs to be Brooklyn hip: the zany architecture, the dominance over the relatively short Williamsburg skyline, the stunning panoramic views of Manhattan, and a chic new cocktail bar on the top floor. After a few months of seeing jealousy-inducing cocktails and views on social media, I made the “trek” to Brooklyn last weekend.
I managed to snag a reservation at 7pm on a Friday night. In retrospect this was not at all imperative, but the hype of new cocktail bars in New York often necessitates this type of behavior. After strolling through the William Vale’s bright and art-filled lobby, you take the elevator to the 22nd floor. Stroll down the narrow wood-paneled walkway and around the hostess stand, and you are greeted with a fantastic view of New York City.
When rounding the entrance, you first come upon the bar filled with a large standing only crowd scattered amongst high-top tables. The bar itself appears to be relatively small to handle the large crowd, but with a little touch of bravado, puts its various glasses and bottles on display above the guests. Just beyond are large – and extremely comfortable – lounge chairs of various textures and colors as well as cushy velvet golden couches, situated around small tables. The glass-enclosed main room is surrounded by a terrance which in the summer must be filled with more tables and seating.
The Weslight original cocktails was a short list, and I went with the most interesting drink that caught my eye: the Delores Royale. Made with mezcal, sherry, vodka, apricot, and cava, the variety of flavors was simply overwhelming. Frankly, mixing mezcal and vodka didn’t actually sound good, but my interest was piqued by this unusual combination and I simply had to try it.
As the bar was starting to fill, the drink arrived in a coupe glass garnished with a lime. The drink was airy, bubbly, and fragrant –
the smell of apricot excites me every time. The mezcal weighed it down a bit, but overall it was more sweet than smoky. I finished rather quickly and found myself browsing the list for my next order within what felt like just a few minutes.
My friend and I went on to order a few cocktails as the bar became fully packed and the sun began to set. Nothing I ordered particularly struck my fancy, and amongst the half dozen or so drinks ordered, we weren’t impressed by the presentation either. Given the luxury feel and exclusive air of the place, I was expecting more from the cocktails in terms of both style and substance.
That being said, the view of the City is simply unmatched. The Wythe Hotel has now officially been upstaged, and given the William Vale’s proximity to the water, one wonders how the view from Westlight will ever be surpassed. But, given the commercialization of cool and the prices for ultimately underwhelming cocktails, I would imagine you would be hard-pressed to ever find anyone from Brooklyn at Westlight. But in this city, you could drink just about anything looking at a view like this.
Westlight at the William Vale
111 N 12th Street