Four friends with a common love for whiskey and grilled cheese recently teamed up to open Noorman’s Kil. The new bar, whose moniker comes from the original name for Bushwick Creek, has been enjoying early success in its first few weeks.
The bar offers 240 kinds of whiskey, which range from $3 to the staggering, rare glass of $120 Yamazaki from 1984. Marcel Simoneau, who owns the bar with his brother Harold and their friends Gary Forsyth and Billy Deal, said their experience over the past three weeks has been positive, despite odd occurrences. “We had a mini hurricane, a mini earthquake, Labor Day weekend, and the trains have not been working, but it’s been fun. We’re trying to keep it nice and personal and local. Everyone’s been really nice.”
The owners learned the business working at local bars such as The Gutter and Barcade. But since opening Noorman’s Kil, they have been discovering even more about their favorite drink. Simoneau said, “We all were whiskey drinkers basically and then we developed a deeper level of enthusiasm. We’re learning a lot as we go along.”
According to Forsyth, all the grilled cheese sandwiches were named after important women in the four owners’ lives. The Jane sandwich contains New York Sharp Cheddar and My Friend’s Mustard, a Greenpoint-based mustard brand, on sourdough. On Betsy, there’s Vermont Chèvre, apricot jam, thyme, and honey on olive bread. Aside from those two, the menu features five other varieties of the classic sandwich. The cheese is from Murray’s and the bread is delivered fresh from Orwasher’s Bakery, two Manhattan-based businesses.
Opening night, sandwiches outsold expectations by more than triple. “We were sold out at 8:30,” said Forsyth. We had to prep as we were bartending, which was not fun. It was sort of messy. We ended up selling 100 sandwiches opening night. I’m thankful for it.”
But Noorman’s Kil isn’t just about whiskey and grilled cheese. They also have 12 craft beers on tap, and the normal selection of hard liquor besides brandy. In their vow to support local businesses, the bar uses Hella Bitter, a cocktail bitter company based in Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Brine’s pickles.
The four owners plan to increase the community’s (and their own) whiskey education by offering weekly tastings. The first, which occurred around the time of the opening, was conducted by Bushwick’s own Kings County Distillery, and gave the nearly 70 people who showed up a chance to try moonshine and bourbon for free.
The bar doesn’t close its doors until 4 a.m., so hungry insomniacs on Grand Street can stroll in for a grilled cheese any night of the week. They even have a backyard that’s open until 12 a.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends, where fellow whiskey devotees can sip their drinks in the last days of summer.
Forsyth, who, like his co-owners, has been involved in North Brooklyn’s bar scene for some time, simply wanted a place of his own to hang out and sip his beloved drink. “We all love whiskey and we like drinking quite a bit and grilled cheese,” he said. “So we built ourselves a clubhouse that no one can take us out of.”
609 Grand Street