BROOKLYN — More bars and restaurants opened in Williamsburg and Chelsea than any other neighborhoods in the city this year, according to an analysis of licenses awarded by the State's Liquor Authority.
Williamsburg's 11211 zip code, which includes sections of Bedford Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Street and stretches into East Williamsburg, and the Chelsea zip code of 10011, which covers the area west of Fifth Avenue between Eighth Street and 24th Street, added 22 new full liquor licenses each this year, according to the SLA's data.
The list includes a host of new East Williamsburg offerings like the new venue Sunnyvale on Grand Street and cocktail lounge the Starlight.
"You have multiple options on Grand Street you just didn't have 10 years ago," said John Roberts, owner of The Starlight which is just a few doors from another bar he owns, Bushwick Country Club.
"I think it's become more of a scene, not a destination."
It's a far cry from what the block looked like when he opened Bushwick Country Club 11 years ago, he said.
"There was nothing here. No place to eat apart from getting a sandwich from a bodega," he said. "People have more options."
Phil Boye, 29, who was drinking inside the 10-year-old Huckleberry Bar, agreed.
"It makes for a network of good bars to hop between if you're not the type of person to post up," he said.
John Moskowitz, 34, the co-owner of the new cocktail lounge Little King which opened in November on the corner of Graham Avenue and Metropolitan, said when he was hunting around for locations he considered other neighborhoods like Park Slope, Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights and the East Village.
But he shied away from opening near Bedford Avenue, he said.
"We didn't want to open there, it's over saturated," he said.
No matter how many condos they build, "there's still not enough people for the amount of bars and restaurants," he added.
Little King's location, on the other hand, is situated in a more residential part of Williamsburg. He hopes to tap into customers looking for a new local haunt, he said.
"Not a lot of people are visiting here from other neighborhoods, which we aim to achieve," he said.
It's the second year in a row that the Williamsburg zip code has topped the state's list for most new liquor licenses.
The number of successful applicants in Chelsea doubled this year, according to the statistics.
And a close third on this year's list was zip code 11237, which covers parts of East Williamsburg, Ridgewood and Bushwick. It had 18 new full liquor license applications accepted, going to establishments like Talon, The Starliner, Shipwreck Lounge and Starr Bar.
Across the five boroughs, the SLA approved just under 600 new licenses this year.
Here's a map of all the bars, restaurants and clubs that got full liquor licenses this year.