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Fort Defiance Is Finally Slinging Cocktails After Year-Long Wait for a Liquor License

Plus, a couple of major restaurant closures hit the East Village — and more intel

A blue brick restaurant exterior with a ship mural painted on the side.
Artist Beau Stanton created a mural for the exterior of Fort Defiance.
Alex Pearson Looney/Fort Defiance

Grub Street reports that Red Hook stalwart Fort Defiance has finally reopened after two years in the way that bartending legend St. John Frizell always hoped for: with drinks. The laid-back neighborhood cornerstone, where Frizell — who also co-owns Downtown Brooklyn’s Gage & Tollner — became known for mixing upscale, critically acclaimed cocktails, has been in a constant state of flux during the pandemic. There was a relocation, a pivot to groceries, and a year-long wait for a liquor license.

Now, the 500-square-foot bar, situated behind Fort Defiance’s grocery store (which is slated to reopen sometime this summer), will be open from Thursday through Sunday to start, and Mission Chinese Food alum Allie Gassaway is overseeing a menu of “slightly southern comfort foods” in the space, according to Grub Street.

The East Village loses multiple longstanding restaurants

Royal Bangladesh Indian Cuisine, the brightly lit, downstairs neighbor to Panna II and Milon on the corner of East Sixth Street and First Avenue, appears to have closed, according to EV Grieve. The restaurant has reportedly not been open for weeks and there’s a for rent sign in the window. EV Grieve also reports that a couple blocks up, all-day cafe Tarallucci e Vino has closed its outpost at East 10th Street and First Avenue after 20 years. Three other locations in Manhattan remain open.

A beloved Crown Heights restaurant is crowdfunding its way to a bigger space

Black Nile, the seafood-and-soul-food spot in Crown Heights known for viral hit dishes like a crab-smothered fried chicken, is moving to a bigger spot in nearby Prospect Lefferts Garden — but it needs to raise funds to underwrite construction on the space, according to Crain’s New York. Owners Hasson and Fanerra Dupree have launched a Kickstarter to crowdfund $48,000 to help support the relocation.

Which startup will be the last 15-minute grocery delivery service left standing in NYC?

Yet another grocery delivery startup — Jokr — has called it quits in NYC, according to Bloomberg.

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