Photograph by Liz Clayman

Since 2017, the Dekalb Market Food Hall at City Point has been a great spot to grab lunch, with over thirty-five different vendors offering foods from all over the world. Now, two new additions to the underground market are bringing nightlife and culture to the foodie hotspot. Untapped Cities sat down for cocktails with the team from Understudy, a new craft cocktail bar, and Dekalb Stage, a 7,500-square-foot events and live entertainment space, on their first Friday night to discuss the future of the new spaces.

The goal of Understudy and the Stage, according to Patty Kan, the Director of Marketing and Event Programming, is to help make the Dekalb Market not just a place to grab a quick bite, but a place that is a must-visit destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. “The driver for the Stage and Understudy is to bring more traffic and attention to our vendors and not just be a food hall but an entertainment and gathering space,” says Kan. She notes that for almost sixty years there hasn’t been much of a nightlife in the neighborhood and hopes that the Stage and Understudy can change that.

Photograph by Liz Clayman

Dekalb Stage will host both private and public facing events that will be “very inviting, new, weird and different,” and resonate with a lot of different people. So far, confirmed ongoing programming includes Tuesday night trivia with Geeks Who Drink (starting March 5th), silent discos, and a bi-weekly bingo night, Balls to the Hall, with Michael Stauffer who formerly produced the cult-favorite Bingo Night at the Standard. Also in the works are a reading series, live local music acts on Friday nights and a meditation series with MNDFL. Kan also plans to bring more cultural events to the space that will engage the community.

Inside the space, pieces of work from Brooklyn-based artists are on display such as a large Brooklyn landscape Bernardo Siciliano. Kan plans on hosting a rotating gallery of work from local artist and photographers in the space.

Photograph by Liz Clayman

Directly adjacent to Dekalb Stage is Understudy, a speakeasy style bar that plays off the theater theme. Drink menus will be packaged like scripts and the cocktails carry names like The Ensemble, The Leading Lady, and Upstage. During our visit the Turner Classic Movie channel was playing on the television screens, further enhancing the showbiz atmosphere. George Duval of Open Bar Hospitality, who crafted the cocktail menu, treated Untapped Cities to a sampling of the bar’s signature cocktails that span a wide spectrum of flavors. We started with the Drama Queen, a citrusy rum drink served in a tiki style glass with a pineapple wedge and ended with the Leading Man, Duval’s favorite which is a play on a Manhattan that uses a Panamanian rum rather than whiskey.

Duval explains that the inspiration behind the drink menu was to create a cocktail list with upscale and well crafted drinks but is approachable and unpretentious. The drink menu is seasonal and includes signature cocktails, classics, Brooklyn-brewed beers, a selection of natural wines, and mocktails that are just as finely crafted as the alcoholic beverages. Accompanying the drink menu is an in-house menu of small plates that bar manager Seth Gordon says will soon be complimented by a rotating menu of specialty food items created by market vendors especially for Understudy.

Photograph by Liz Clayman

Understudy was designed by Dekalb Market founder Anna Castellani in collaboration with the award-winning HOME Studios based in Greenpoint and Dekalb stage features furniture created by local artisan furniture maker Joybird. The ethos of the two projects is collaborative and focused on drawing the best out of the market to create engaging experiences that bolster local business, arts and cultural in Downtown Brooklyn.

Understudy is open Monday through Wednesday from 3:00PM until midnight and Thursday through Sunday from 11:00AM until 2:00AM. While the market usually closes at 10:00PM, many vendors may extend their hours.

Next, check out The Top 14 Food Courts to Check Out in NYC

 Brooklyn, City Point, Dekalb Market Hall, Downtown Brooklyn

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