It’s getting hard to keep track of Michael Solomonov’s restaurants at the Hoxton Hotel. Last year, the Philadelphia restaurateur — or is he a New York one? — brought two of his most popular restaurants from that city to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. First up was Laser Wolf, his booked-out Israeli skewer spot on the hotel’s rooftop, and next came K’Far, a restaurant and cafe on its first floor.
On May 18, the team will open Jaffa Cocktail and Raw Bar on the hotel’s second floor. It’s the last of the projects Solomonov has planned for the Hoxton, and his first to open only in New York.
The bar, named after a historic port city adjacent to Tel Aviv, opens on Thursday with 32 seats indoors and another 86 outdoors on a terrace. Similar to Laser Wolf and K’Far, every piece of furniture seems to have a different texture and pattern — colorful checkers, zigzags, shapes, and cross-hatches soon to be covered in passionfruit mignonette and melted frozen drinks.
It’s not the kind of party you’ll find at, say, the Williamsburg Hotel, whose DJs subject anyone within earshot to thumping house music on summer nights. The bar is table service with some indoor seats that will eventually be reservable online, but Solomonov imagines it as a place that’s easier to get into than his other restaurants at the hotel. “How would you want to use this space?” he asked from a chair on the patio earlier this month. “I would want to come up and have an Arnold Palmer and a plate of raw fish.”
Jaffa falls into that newer category of bars that don’t quite qualify as restaurants, even if it’s possible to have a full meal at one. The food comes from chef Sam Levenfeld, who moved to New York City to work at Laser Wolf and now oversees the kitchen at K’Far. His menu revolves around raw seafood: oysters with zhug, plump shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, and slices of yellowtail sprinkled in pastrami seasoning.
For something more substantial, there are cast-iron skillets with scallops and merguez cooked a wood-fired oven, or an order of squid stuffed with brisket that “definitely isn’t kosher,” Levenfeld says. Pull-apart challah rolls, the same ones served at K’Far, are also on the menu.
Whatever its owners’ intentions, Jaffa is a bar on a Williamsburg rooftop at the end of the day. The drinks list seems to be nurturing a party vibe with frozen cocktails, buckets of Miller High Life (listed on the menu under the name “Bucket of Ponies”), $40 pitchers, and boxes of wine. Several cocktails are made from oranges, at one point a main export from Jaffa.
Jaffa is open Wednesday to Friday, from 4:00 p.m. to midnight; Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. The bar has a separate entrance located on Ninth Street.