Cocktails are everywhere in New York City. But the extent to which some border on art is thanks to the legacy of Sasha Petraske, founder of Milk & Honey, the game-changing speakeasy he opened in 1999. Petraske, whose cocktail empire included Little Branch, Dutch Kills, and Middle Branch, among others, was in the thick of many new projects when he died last August. One of them, now-called Seaborne, was slated to open in Red Hook; tonight it finally does.
Petraske’s focus on artful cocktails, finishes, and manners will also be the focus at Seaborne. (The first of Milk & Honey’s eight rules was “No name-dropping, no star-f**cking.”) But two new features are especially exciting: water spigots at every booth, so that patrons can keep hydrated at will; and booze-infused frozen drinks, something that would be hard to imagine at Petraske’s other venues.
Longtime Petraske employee and partner at Middle Branch, Lucinda Sterling helped John Bonsignore, a partner in the Red Hook spot, realize Petraske’s vision, and made one major change to the planned bar. Originally, Petraske had wanted to name the bar Falconer, in tribute to the William Butler Yeats poem “The Second Coming,” but, Sterling told the New York Times, “the owners of Fawkner, a bar that recently opened on Smith Street in Brooklyn, suggested it might not be good business to have two similarly named bars so close.” So instead, Sterling selected the name Seaborne, from another Yeats poem, “The Political Prisoner,” as tribute to the Red Hook waterfront, as well as to Petraske.
Celebrate Petraske, his cocktails, and mannered drinking tonight at Seaborne, opening at 5pm, 228 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook.