Sneak Peek at Putnam’s in Clinton Hill

LATEST UPDATE*** 8.27.11

Yes! Putnam’s has started a Happy Hour! With $4 select beers. Yesterday they had Oysters on special for Irene, $1.50 a piece. Well done. DO try the Putnam’s Pilsener. This place keeps getting better and better. 7 out of 10 now.

UPDATE *** I went with the missus on grand opening week and they didn’t have the kinks worked out. The waitress and host Connor were gracious though and comped our meal due to a kitchen malfunction that had us waiting more than an hour. Their mint julep was PERFECT, the lobster roll (OK…it ain’t no Red Hook Lobster Pound roll that’s fo’sho, and the burger was acceptable pub fair). Oysters check, beer specials…er….no check. YELP has the latest reviews. I’ll wait a few months and give it another shot, but it’s about a 6 out of 10 right now.


So I live about fifty feet from a new restaurant going in at the corner of Clinton and Myrtle Avenue. The wood panels are finally down and everyone’s buzzing about the new pub. So after a few pints at my local, Rope, my six-foot tall friend and I peered in the windows and got a sneak peak.  We think its called Putnam’s Bar and Cookery (UPDATE – it’s Putnam’s Pub and Cooker) or something, according to a sign. The pressed tin walls and ceiling, sumptuous-looking enclosed banquets, edison-style light bulbs give it away a bit. While I have no idea of the menu, I’m hoping it’ll be along the lines of nearby Dean Street Cafe, No. 7 or Roman’s, excellent pub fare with the odd oyster or two.

I hope the this post will serve as a polite plea to the owners and managers of Putnam’s–please, consider having a decent happy hour and specials–a buy-back wouldn’t hurt either. Remember, this is Clinton Hill, not LES. Pay attention to your neighboring pubs–most have good happy hours to accommodate the mixed nature of this neighborhood (Pratt students, middle-class bohemians, and blue-collar folk with actors and novelists sprinkled-in). Don’t worry about fancy cocktails, focus on local beers and a good wine list. Hell, you don’t even need a back yard, and the sidewalk is wide enough to fit a table or two.

Bear in mind these grainy mobile pictures don’t do ANY justice to what the owners probably have in mind. I spotted beautiful wood paneling inside, a curved bar, and outside the windows have beautiful transoms and leaded wavy glass as if they’d been there forever.

Wondering where the name Putnam’s came from? Similar to say Buttermilk Channel in Red Hook, I believe that the owners have taken a cue from local history. According to wikipedia  in 1776, under the supervision of General Nathaniel Greene of Rhode Island Fort Putnam was constructed during the Revolutionary War. Later renamed after Greene, the fort was a star-shaped earthwork that mounted six 18-pound cannons, and was the largest on Long Island at the time. It was an instrumental fort in shielding General George Washington’s escape from Long Island in the “battle of Brooklyn.”

According to the Myrtle Minutes, “the 68-seat restaurant will evoke the inns and dining rooms found in New York during the Prohibition-era and at the turn of the century. The menu will offer 24 quality draft beers, 40 quality bottled beers, 2 highly unique Cask Ales, an extensive wine menu and delicious assortment of small plates, salads and large plates for lunch and dinner, and weekend brunch.”

Ever since leaving Williamsburg and my favorite pre-prohibition era saloons behind (Dressler, Walter Foods, Five Leaves and Rye), I’ve been pining for a good all around pub (with oysters-hint-hint AGAIN). I wish I could say the Brooklyn Public House on Dekalb does it for me–but its kinda soul-less and the menu is all over the place, though the Public House DID learn to provide a decent happy hour. I look forward to giving Putnam’s a try–if they put half the effort of the design into the menu and staffing, they’ll create something quite special and enrich this increasingly vibrant stretch of Myrtle Ave.

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