By James Reddicliffe
Sam Cooke sang, “So mister, mister DJ, keep those records playing, ‘cause I’m having such a good time, dancing with my baby.” There isn’t much room to dance in Bierwax, but the vinyl records spun here ensure people are having a good time while they enjoy beers from a well-curated list of craft ales and lagers, with an emphasis on local brewers.
The shop boasts over 5,000 records but no requests, please---because space is tight and records can be hard to reach or find on the shelves behind the bar, the set list for the day is pre-selected and ranges from hip-hop to soul and everything in between. Just as fine as the records being played are the beers, all served by a laidback and friendly staff.
Bierwax is nestled between a Mexican restaurant and a bike store on Vanderbilt Avenue (556 is the address), a street chock full of bars and restaurants and just a couple of short blocks from Atlantic Avenue.
Since opening in 2017, the spot has steadily gained a following among record aficionados and beer nerds alike. On a recent Friday night visit, I was able to snag a beer from the famed Ohio brewery Hoof Hearted as well as local favorite Other Half. While it can be a swinging place on a weekend night when guest DJs visit, at other times it ‘s a low-key hangout where you can sip and sway while chatting with friends.
We’ve wasted away entire afternoons trying most of the beers on the list, bringing in sandwiches from local establishments, or noshing on fried chicken from Mitchell’s across the street (Bierwax is a bring-your-own-food establishment). Heck, we’ve even brought our parents to the backyard at Bierwax after a day of visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden nearby. Vines dangle from the white lights and trellises in the backyard, which give you the feeling of being far away from busy New York. Bierwax: one part quiet backyard escape, one part lively music bar. Like Mary Wells sang, “I got two lovers and I ain’t ashamed, I got two lovers and I love them both the same.”
Bierwax is located at 556 Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.