Welcome to Little Poland, New York. The Brooklyn neighbourhood Greenpoint has always been called so because of its high number of Polish immigrants who have been filling up the avenues with stores, butchers and hair parlours from the old country.
Today, they are slowly disappearing because of the massive wave of gentrification that is sweeping its way from the neighbouring district Williamsburg in the south and where there once was union meetings, Wyborowa and Kielbasa now there are copywriters, fast bikes and probably also the occasional beginners’ courses in weird made-up sport hobbies such as urban axe throwing.
And of course there is Tørst, the most blatantly honest example of gentrification in progress. Just behold the painful cries of the post-industrial zeitgeist as every square meter of urban opportunity gets raped from behind. In an old Polish working-class neighbourhood in the unforgiving little town called New York, a famous Danish gypsy brewer opens up a sophisticated artisan beer bar where in the back, a Canadian chef serves Michelin rated food based on the New Nordic cuisine for 125 dollars every privileged soul. I guess the modern world doesn't really get more awkwardly blush than that? Well, perhaps. Take this undersigned blogging force of waisting everyone’s precious time as an example. He is always grieving about the old neighbourhoods that are tragically vanishing, still he is obviously not capable of fleeing the embarrassment of being the outmost definition of what makes them all die out. Let’s face it; he is a tall Swedish white guy who comes from a safe academic family background and he travels the world for the next amusingly designed beer label, obscure vinyl record or the most mind-gobbling way to devour the weird parts of an animal. Did you say rabbit’s spleen, first marinated in the contempt that the white creative class has towards its own dull suburban upbringing and then slowly braised in an ironic glace of Dr Pepper? I’ll have one of those. I mean, let's be real with each other from the get-go. Where do you think me and my girlfriend lived when we were residing in New York a couple of years ago? Most certainly the promised land of tunnelled hipster nescience; Bushwick, BK.
And I do enjoy Tørst. This I won't beat around the bush. It really is a great bar where the holy trinity of concept, design and product is being taken to its full potential. The fact that they have divided the place in two where Luksus (what they call the dining space) is hidden in the back room while the bar is in the front is to illustrate an example both a beguiling and hubristic feature. So bullishly New York, this thin line between enchanting and excluding. Interior wise it is also a hit. It may best be described as something as "country cabin minimalism" where pretty much everything, except for the stylish bar counter in marble is made in wood. This is the work of Brooklyn based Home-Studios, a company that are currently all over New York with their elegant yet warm interiors.
And then there is the product. For the beer aficionado there are not many places like this. From Shoreditch to Venice Beach and all the way to Fitzroy, there is no Ramen slurping graphic designer with a Pac Man tattoo who wouldn't drool through his groomed beard if he saw what’s on tap at this place. There are twenty-one beers that are always changing and apart from the owner Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsøs own brewery Evil Twin, there is a collection of some of the best microbreweries around the world. De Dolle, Tired Hands, Omnipollo to name a few. On top of this there is the Flux Capacitor, a highly advanced tool that only exists in a handful of bars around the world and which purpose is to regulate the draught system to the levels of carbonation and with this sick thing temperature can be managed individually for each type of beer. In other words, the ideal way of serving the world's most complex beer styles but also a true attestation of the process of technology. Hybrid airplane motors to save the world? No, more Flux Capacitors for the people.
In its own sense, Tørst may come out as rather elitist. I can see how many people can get nauseous of the way the world is turning in to a clogged bladder of hipster overkill. And those mom and pops, they won’t last another day. It is of course nothing but a tragedy. But this is New York, a city that has never showed mercy for anyone or anything. In this brutal urban organism that is constantly eating its own tail for survival, there is no room for the sentimental nostalgic. Just be brave and be aware of the hunting lion, otherwise you are going to end up like the gazelle. And in the meantime, just enjoy the savannah and if thirsty, head for oases like this one.
Drinks? Well, beers of course and in many varieties. But in this faddish environment I would root for a Lambic or Geuze, the champagne of the beer world. For this, ask the bartenders because they have more than 200 types of bottles stored in the back.
Munch? New Nordic grub all the way. Get some orders of great snacks from Luksus, prepared by chef Daniel Burns. There is of course the Danish rye but also small plates to share. For something more heavy, there are also some serious sandwiches with roasted pork or duck confit.
Where? Tørst, 615 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, US.
I'm always on the lookout for more bars to enjoy and write about. Do you know about an interesting place in your city or elsewhere, let me know and maybe I´ll stop by!
Photo Attribution: Photo 1: By Kgw01972 (Own work) [CC BY_SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo 2: upload-1e597b00-2e79-11e6-94f2-c3123c8d99ba, www.homestudios.nyc, http://homestudios.nyc/torst/ Photo 3: upload-d07425do-2d82-11e6-b236-d379b5729223, www.homestudios.nyc, http://homestudios.nyc/torst Photo 4: upload29166cco-2d83-11e6-8243-896d53bb3549, www.homestudios.nyc, http://homestudios.nyc/torst