Bernie Sanders embraced “new acquaintance” on New Year’s Eve: He and his wife, Jane, reportedly ate at a communal table at Clinton Hall Seaport in New York, spending a total of just $16 on their celebratory dinner. Establishing a tone for 2018 of camaraderie and cheer, we endeavor to follow the politician’s example at restaurants that feature communal tables (and particularly unique or outstanding design elements as well). Because, perhaps, as the song goes, old acquaintance shouldn’t be forgot—but new acquaintance should be welcomed as well.
CLINTON HALL SEAPORT: This Bernie Sanders–endorsed establishment is a drinker’s destination for craft brews and craftier eats (e.g., a “doughnut grilled cheese”). We recommend ordering at the mosaic-decorated bar and, then, proceeding to the area with foosball and table tennis.
DINER: This intimate restaurant is housed in a 1920s Pullman car—a hipsters’ harbor at the Williamsburg Bridge. The cuisine is, well, anti-diner, with menu items that include scallops and spätzle.
IPPUDO: Chef Fumihiro Kanegae’s restaurant is as famous for its ramen as it is for its collaboration with Brooklyn Brewery: Brooklyn Kaedama Ale. The design elements (e.g., the red accents, the wood façade) are, at once, authentic and modern.
FETTE SAU: In 2007, this meat-centric canteen was installed in what was a Brooklyn garage. The aesthetic is as BBQ-themed as the eats—the bar stools were once tractor seats and there are pictures of butcher cuts on the walls.
ROBERTA’S: This indoor-outdoor gastro-pizzeria is as iconic as it is Instagram-able, from the elevated pies to the graffiti-decorated walls. Brooklynites and their brethren-commune-style picnic tables and a tiki-style bar.
IL BUCO: This beloved restaurant has embraced its rustic character with homey interiors and a Mediterranean menu. Downstairs, the cellar boasts 500 bottles—and the rumor is that it inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado.
VIA CAROTA: This Italian gastroteca is furnished with chairs from an old church and reclaimed-wood floors (which were sourced from a gymnasium). The menus—an endeavor from the same chefs/owners as Buvette and I Sodi—are presented on the backs of the chairs (in their “bible” pockets).
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