Greenpoint Gazette
Lori Erlitz

Beaner Bar Keeps it Spicy

BY Kylie Jane Wakefield

Tucked between Graham Avenue Meats and Muddy Paws is Beaner Bar, a small, yet comfortable coffee bar, offering Mexican flavors in a European-style atmosphere. For three years, they’ve served the neighborhood one-of-a-kind blends, putting their signature spicy twist on traditional drinks.

Beaner Bar is owned by Lori Erlitz, Rudy De La Rosa, and Veronica Trevino, all of Mexican descent. The bar is lively and bright. Its walls are painted green and Mexican decorations, such as Dia De Los Muertos dolls, are scattered throughout.

“In Europe, a lot of the coffee bars are small,” Erlitz said explaining their choice of a small space for Beaner. “Each of them has a little social network. It’s European style in the fact that everybody is socializing. Someone will be on one side of the bar and another person will hear their conversation and join in. It’ll get the whole bar talking. It’s interactive. In Spain there is this romance surrounding coffee that they create and we hope we can continue to capture and create it as well.”

The Mexican-influenced drinks at Beaner Bar contain a variety of spices, giving customers a kick with each sip. Their Mexican hot chocolate, which contains cayenne pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon, was named one of the most decadent hot chocolate drinks in the city by Time Out New York. Their most popular offering is spicy Mexican mocha and they are developing a beverage called Brown Sugar Mama, which will include Mexican hot chocolate, caramel, sea salt and a spicy honey-infused drink geared towards tea lovers needing a homemade remedy.

Lori Erlitz

Beaner Bar also claims to be the first coffee shop in Brooklyn to offer single-drip brew, or pour-over drinks. “The beans are from Ecuador or Papua New Guinea,” said Erlitz. “I’ll grind it and brew the cup just for you. It’s almost like fine tuning.”

Hungry customers can sample vegan treats from Champs Bakery on Ainslie Street or Manhattan-based This Chick Bakes. The menu also includes homemade tamales that can be filled with fruits, cheese, or vegetables. A side of beans and rice complements them well.

Erlitz, who has lived in Williamsburg on and off for 19 years, said a sense of community played a primary role in choosing Beaner Bar’s location. “You get to see the people not only for the brief few minutes serving them coffee. We get to see them everyday. We like to really interact with our customers, and we know everybody by name.”

Erlitz continued, “Sometimes we see notes or smiles or nice comments on Facebook, or posts on Yelp saying we’ve made somebody’s day. We’re getting more attention now. A lot of people didn’t realize that we were here. It’s nice to be recognized and to be seen.”

Beaner Bar
447 Graham Avenue

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2 comments

  • Angela:

    I find it offensive that anyone who is promoting Mexican culture would use the name Beaner in their title. The term is derogatory and is used often as a racial slur against Mexican people. Anyone who is racially aware should boycott this establishment.

  • Adey:

    Being able to laugh at yourself is a sign of maturity. I think anybody with half a brain sees the joke; coffee shop, coffee beans, mexican. And awesome vegan treats x

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