Let’s not mince words here. The Anchored Inn is a awesome new bar in industrial in East Williamsburg. It’s a rowdy, nautical themed space, as if Jacque Cousteau liked to listen to Manowar and drink cans of Tecate with limes dipped in chile salt and bottom-shelf tequila. The owners, Carmen Mello and Adrienne Dowd are lifetime barkeeps themselves, and know how to keep the taps clean and the kegs cold.
It’s a two-story space, a 2nd floor loft holding an office/storage accessible via a staircase that pulls down like a drawbridge. Metal plays loudly from the sound system; an impressive collection of garish black-velvet paintings on the wall stare back at you silently. The bartender wears a tight Drawn and Quarterly t-shirt, and like many of patrons, has a long mane of hair. I’ve seen five (count ‘em, five!) denim vests in one sitting, torn at the sleeves and battered with patches, as worn-in and soft as a grandmother’s quilt. It’s quite the little scene on Waterbury, in an otherwise dead industrial zone, where cars sometimes drive the wrong way down one-way streets late at night but the one-block jaunt between Meserole and Scholes is covered in vibrant murals and humms with energy. Yummus Hummus soothes the vegans, the rock venue The Acheron supplies thrash, and a roving bicycle workshop parked out front fashions fixed gears out of bamboo.
The Anchored Inn fills the last hole, with six rotating beers on tap, a magnanimous happy hour, and a serious kitchen doling out heat. Chef David Peterson, formerly of El Quinto Pino and Tia Pol, and Mike Bergemann, who cooked at The Brooklyn Star, have sanctioned a menu of Mexican-inflected bar food. Open from noon til 3am, the kitchen smokes garlic and Serrano chiles to infuse a tomatillo pickle and deep-fries chunks of tender beef tongue for their tacos. Anything wet and loaded is a standout, like the chicken enchiladas, flopped-over tortillas holding moist shreds of chicken slicked with refried black beans and mole verde. There’s a bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog, like the ones you’ll find outside bars in the wee morning hours of Los Angeles, doused in mayo and fat slices of avocado.
At happy hour, there’s a bangin’ burger and a draft beer deal, for just $10. It’s on a soft Martin’s sesame seed bun with spicy mayonnaise, two patties, with a pickle and fries — though you have to dig around for the crunchy ones. The kitchen is kind to the vegetarian set; the tostadas hold barely cooked chunks of squash and roasted poblano peppers, and are heavy with queso fresco and a scintillating salsa. Not too kind though: “No mayo, No mames” reads the menu in fine print; a crass version of “No mayo, No way.”