FORT GREENE — There's new life at the corner of DeKalb and Vanderbilt Avenues.
New bar and eatery The Great Georgiana opened in the former Tillie's of Brooklyn space earlier this month, nearly two years after the much-loved coffee shop closed.
"It's nice to finally have people in the space after all this time," said owner Dominic Tracy, who lives in Fort Greene. "We are delighted to be open."
The one-time rough-around-the-edges coffee shop at 248 DeKalb Ave. has now been replaced with a sleek candlelit venue with polished hardwood floors, a DJ station and zinc bar. A vintage library card catalog, patinated copper tiles, and wooden benches in the entrance way are a nod to the space’s past.
Tracy has big plans for the Great Georgiana's future, including hiring a new chef who will roll out a menu with “meats, cheeses, dips, quince paste and small plates from all around the world,” and the creation of a new cocktail menu.
After the beloved Tillie's closed on Dec. 31, 2011 after fourteen years of business, Tracy quickly snatched it up in hopes of opening a bar. But the road would be rocky for the Australian music producer, whose liquor license application was initially rejected by Community Board 2.
“This is a great shock,” he told The Local following the 2012 vote. “We can’t do this without liquor.”
The board reasoned that with two other bars nearby, the neighborhood might become "miffed with the extra noise,” according to The Local.
Still, Tracy and his business partner Chris Connor moved forward, renovating the space and paying monthly rent for a business they could not yet open.
One year later, pending a "letter of no objection" from the city, the State Liquor Authority conditionally approved The Great Georgiana's license.
The arrival of the liquor license in September coupled with a glowing health department inspection allowed Tracy to open his doors.
“We never in a million years thought we could open a place in Fort Greene,” he said. “And here we are — we couldn’t be happier.”