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'Dessert Speakeasy' to Take Over Former Beast Bar Space

By Rachel Holliday Smith | April 30, 2014 2:42pm | Updated on April 30, 2014 3:52pm
 Spirited bar and bakery will open at 638 Bergen Street in July.
Spirited Bar and Bakery
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PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A bakery that features liquor-infused baked goods and specialty cocktails is set to open up in the former space of the popular bar and restaurant Beast, DNAinfo has learned.

Spirited, which calls itself a “dessert speakeasy,” is set to take over Beast’s lease at 638 Bergen St. within weeks, according to its proprietor Kimberly Wetherell. The new shop and bar has long been a dream of Wetherell’s, who previously worked as a filmmaker and stage director, but always had a talent for making “tipsy desserts.”

“I found baking to be sort of my meditative art,” she said.

Over the years, she’s perfected recipes for Limoncello and Sorel sandwich cookies, chocolate whiskey pecan pie and Drambuie and honey spice apple Bundt cake, just a sampling of the dozens of items she expects to put on the menu.

“If you can think about it as dessert, we’re going to make it,” Wetherell said.

But desserts are only half the offerings. Wetherell will take full advantage of the location’s 15-seat bar to serve a host of creative cocktails and liquor-and-sweets pairings, like a shot of Cardamaro with a peanut butter cookie, one idea she’s playing with.

“It will be on par with the better cocktail bars in the city,” she said, adding she's in talks with an "exciting" beverage director to join her staff at Spirited, but said it's too soon to identify the person.

The bar will also be true to its “speakeasy” name by creating semi-secret drink specials patrons can order — but only if they provide a secret password, which will be posted to Twitter and Facebook each day, to the bartender, Wetherell said.

While the space takes its theme from Prohibition-era watering holes, Wetherell says the speakeasy name came from the subtle, under-the-radar taste of the booze in her desserts — rather than the quantity of alcoholic content.

“The alcohol’s in there and you’re going to taste it for sure, but you’re not going to get drunk off of it,” she said. “It’s kind of flying under the radar.”

In addition to table service for desserts and drinks at indoor and outdoor seating, Wetherell said Spirited will have a take-out counter for those who want to pop in to pick up pie, cake, cookies, lollipops or pastries. Prices will range from $2.50 cookies to $75 specialty cakes, with most plated desserts falling between $6 and $12. And a note for parents: Wetherell says Spirited is definitely "geared toward adults," meaning all of the desserts will have alcohol, even the lollipops.

Wetherell said she fell in love with the Beast space, which was built in 1912 and restored by Beast’s owner, Debra Bicknese, as soon as she saw it.

“Before I even walked in, I knew this is where I’d want to be,” Wetherell said of the bar space. “[Bicknese] did all this work to make it so beautiful and I appreciate that so much,” she added, saying she plans to give the place “a facelift,” but will keep most of the original details including the bar, tin ceiling and tile floor.

Beyond the building, Wetherell feels the neighborhood is perfect for her shop, as well. She lives in Park Slope just across Flatbush Avenue from Prospect Heights, where she feels there’s an opening for a high-quality dessert place.

“There are people in Park Slope and Prospect Heights who are going to the East Village and Williamsburg and Greenpoint to eat,” she said. “But not a whole lot of people stick around in the neighborhood. So, I wanted to create something that was close.”

“I want to have a nice little spot where people can go after dinner and have a nice drink and a slice of cake,” she said.