no. 226

It feels like you can’t throw a rock without hitting a serviceable craft beer bar in New York City. To stand out, a spot needs some personality. And that’s exactly what Joshua Van Horn set out to do with Gold Star Beer Counter. In creating the hip, casual space, he was inspired by Parisian natural wine bars “where you can have a drink and light food, then grab a bottle of something amazing to take home.” 

At Gold Star, linearity is abundant, everything flowing in parallel from front to back. There’s greenery and a notable lack of brewery paraphernalia. Stepping into the place feels more akin to entering a cozy neighborhood restaurant than another watering hole. Throughout your night, you’ll be treated to any number of interesting tunes being served up by the house record player. Van Horn’s been collecting vinyl for a while. “Having that be one of the center pieces really allows me to listen to records and talk about them all day,” he says. “Which is my dream.”

And if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s the takeout window. If you find yourself in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, know that you can pop by Gold Star for a growler to-go. Chances are you’ll encounter Van Horn’s smiling mug when you do.

—Cory Smith