The team behind one of New York City’s oldest and most beloved modern speakeasies, Angel’s Share, has opened a casual Japanese cocktail bar in Sunset Park’s Industry City.
NYC has no shortage of Japanese-inspired cocktail bars, but at Oldies inside Japan Village, the menu is simple. Drinks have just a few ingredients, and the cocktails all have freshly squeezed fruits in them, says Erina Yoshida, the COO of the Yoshida Restaurant Group, which owns Angel’s Share and now Oldies. She was inspired by some of Japan’s buzziest, intimate cocktail bars including Bar Orchard Ginza, Bar Ben Fiddich, and Gen Yamamoto — all of which focus on the use of seasonal fruit and herbs. Here, each of the fruit cocktails has whisky, some honey, and various fruits such as strawberry, pineapple, yuzu, and persimmon.
Aside from the fruit cocktails, the bar serves Japanese highballs — a drink typically made with whisky and carbonated water. Japan’s popular Suntory Toki whisky will star in these, while other Japanese spirits such as rum from Okinawa and gin from Osaka and Kyoto are also available, sourced from Kuraichi, Japan Village’s sake and Japanese spirits store next door.
Food is kept to snacks, with over a dozen dishes such as Japanese-style fried chicken, fried tofu served with grated radish and nori, a Japanese egg omelet, and grilled eel with pickled cucumbers, seaweed, and crumbled egg yolk. The full menus are below.
As for the space, Oldies is going for a casual vibe — a striking difference from the sophistication of Angel’s Share. Gone are the tuxedoed bartenders, rules about groups smaller than four, and no standing room. At Oldies, there’s seating for 12 at the bar and plenty of standing room and counter space along the walls. While Angel’s is on the darker side and has drinks with more complicated ingredients, Oldies is filled with light and has a minimalist aesthetic.
Aside from the two bars, Yoshida Restaurant Group also runs Village Yokocho — the restaurant that leads to East Village’s Angel’s, and Kyo Ya, also in the same neighborhood. Then there’s also the second speakeasy that’s down the street from Angel’s, on Stuyvesant Street, only open on the weekends. Considered one of the original modern speakeasies in NYC, Angel’s was opened by Erina’s father, Tony in 1993, and it remains popular today.
Industry’s City’s Japan Village has been open for just over a year now and has numerous food stalls, an izakaya, and a grocery store. Japan Village is just one many components of the Sunset Park mega-development’s rapidly-expanding dining scene, which also includes outposts of Red Hook’s Hometown Bar-B-Que, and Middle Eastern grocer Sahadi’s.
Oldies — at 269 36th Street, between Second and Third Avenue — is open Wednesdays through Fridays at 5 p.m, and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., with closing times depending on foot traffic.