Talk about whistling Dixie!
A team of hospitality pros who are not from the South just opened a new bar in Williamsburg themed after a fictional Southern town they invented called Belle Shoals. The manager said he couldn’t say exactly what part of the South — or what era — the Mayberry-esque hamlet is supposed be from, but each barfly can just decide for themselves.
“Everyone can have their own idea about it,” said Long Island native Christopher “Peaches” Szablinski of Belle Shoals — both the name of the bar and the non-existent town — which he opened earlier this month with a team of other non-Southerners who also run watering holes in Manhattan and the Rockaways. “It’s just the place to be.”
Indeed, visitors who amble into the Hope Street faux-dive could be entering a quaint middle-of-nowhere town anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line, Szablinksi said, though he did narrow down the time frame to within the first half of the 20th century.
The bartender is at least from South Carolina, he said, and is serving up Southern “inspired” cocktails such as a pecan pie-flavored Mai Tai as well as classics such as Hurricanes and Mint Juleps. The food follows a similar theme, with comfort food dishes including fried duck leg on a biscuit and a $15 po’boy.
The bar’s interior has a sultry, Southern gothic theme — red neon lights cast a hellish haze over the dark-wood bar while blues and rock tunes warble out of a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox, said Szablinski.
“You could probably shoot ‘True Blood’ here and it would fit perfectly,” he said, referring to the sexy vampire Home Box Office show, which was set in the swamps of Louisiana.
Szablinski said they are also fixing to create a peaceful outdoor seating area with lavender blossoms and iron-wrought furniture, which will offset the hellish inside.
Belle Shoals [10 Hope St. between Roebling and Havemeyer streets in Williamsburg, (718) 218–6027, www.belle