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Chemistry Lab-Themed Gastropub Opens in Bed-Stuy

By Camille Bautista | January 2, 2015 11:52am | Updated on January 5, 2015 8:47am
 Khemistry Bar, an American gastropub with vintage chemistry lab decor, opened in Bed-Stuy on Dec. 31. 
Khemistry Bar, an American gastropub with vintage chemistry lab decor, opened in Bed-Stuy on Dec. 31. 
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Khemistry Bar

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new American gastropub opened its doors in Bed-Stuy, with a vintage apothecary and chemistry lab theme.

Khemistry Bar, located at 216 Malcolm X Blvd., made its debut in the neighborhood Wednesday with a grand opening New Year’s Eve party complete with a three-course prix-fixe menu.

Owner and chef Shana Cooper-Silas takes pride in the restaurant's locally sourced and organic meals, including crostini with jalapeno and avocado spread, lemon herb roasted chicken and orange zest pork chops.

“We want to take your palate and stretch your comfort zone a little bit,” Cooper-Silas said.

The bar and restaurant’s name plays on the theme of chemistry in friendships, as well as in the creation of food and drinks, she said.

Specialty drinks are named after friends of Cooper-Silas and her husband, Earl Silas, and are based on traditional cocktails with a twist of each individual's personality.

Classroom chairs set an old-school vibe for the restaraunt's decor, along with a long, reclaimed desk serving as a communal seating area. A former library card catalog works as a hostess stand, and Khemistry's concrete bartop imitates a chemistry table, complete with lab stools.

Behind the bar, brown apothecary bottles hold house-made bitters and sodas. 

A decorative wall paying homage to contributors of the restaurant's crowdfunding campaign is still in the works, Cooper-Silas said. Its designer is looking to display names and messages in a periodic table, with well wishes from campaign supporters.  

A 3,000-square-foot backyard, The Lab, is still under construction and is set to open in spring 2015 with an outdoor kitchen, bar and beer garden.

“We want to turn ourselves into the largest backyard venue in Bed-Stuy and the surrounding neighborhoods,” Cooper-Silas said, adding that the couple plans to rent out a covered and heated space during the fall and winter months.

Ingredients for Khemistry’s dishes will come from Brooklyn food co-ops and local markets, all based on Cooper-Silas’ experience running several pop-up food establishments, including a spot at the former DeKalb Market.

Cooper-Silas, who lives in Park Slope, looks to keep the local ties strong by hiring the majority of her staff from Bed-Stuy.

“It was hugely important to me,” she said. “The more successful the neighborhood, the more successful your business is.”

The restaurant and bar is open from 10 a.m. through midnight, Tuesday through Sunday.

Check out these other eateries that recently opened in Bed-Stuy:

Bar Lunatico
486 Halsey St.
The bar, described by its owners as “a little space that would feel like home for musicians, lunatics, and lovers of the good things in life,” offers live music throughout the week.

Owners and musicians Rosita Kess and Richard Julian opened the spot on Dec. 5 with tapas on the menu, along with wine, cocktails and an emphasis on tequila.

Eugene & Co.
397 Tompkins Ave.
The farm-to-table eatery opened on Dec. 9, serving lunch and dinner, continental breakfast on weekdays, and brunch on the weekends.

Owner Tara Oxley launched the restaurant after living in the neighborhood for five years and looking for healthy choices in the area.

“This is my home now and I wanted to be able to provide something for myself and everyone else,” Oxley said. “I want to keep the energy here in Bed-Stuy as opposed to people leaving to seek other places.”

Eugene & Co. also works with local farms and purveyors for its seasonally changing menu, which includes quinoa salad, smoked salmon rillette sandwiches and roasted cauliflower steak.