Bocce & Beer

Brooklyn Athletic Club

George Alexander. Photography Jenny Antill.
April 10, 2013

Restaurateur Shepard Ross — whose ancestors crossed over from the old country, around the Lower East Side of Manhattan, all the way over the East River, into Brooklyn, in the 19th century — has created an homage to the world of his forefathers in the form of Brooklyn Athletic Club, a bustling, cheerful restaurant/bar/ice house/country clubette. Located in the building that formerly housed Zimm’s Little Deck on lower Richmond, you’ll find a little Astroturf croquet pitch, bocce-ball lanes, beanbag horseshoe courts and even a badminton court. In the evenings, a fire burns, ready for toasting s’mores. Indoors, the dining room seats 42 and serves a menu that allows patrons to go from nosh to posh at their discretion: herb-roasted Bryan Farms chicken, pei mussels and fries and a clubhouse burger with green tomato jalapeño jam on a slow-dough bun. Ross is busily reworking a food truck to serve the sporty expanse south of the restaurant. Already, a contingent from the Houston Texans was spotted on a coolish night, toasting s’mores over the gas flames — an activity Ross encourages. As a man who worked in soap operas and television long enough to earn a SAG card before taking up the restaurant business, he observes, “This is still show business.” Open lunch and dinner.