Bar Velo is a place that has the vibes that your non-New Yorker friends talk about when they talk about Brooklyn. The space is industrial, raw, and it's Bicycle themed. Bar Velo is tucked underneath the J/M/Z subway line in South Williamsburg but still carries the charm of a welcoming, yet exclusive eatery. There are tons of bicycle imagery, exposed hanging light bulbs, green tinted wine bottles that are filled with water, and a lot of wooden stools, benches, and chairs that complete the 1930's look the restaurant is going for. When you step in Bar Velo, you're actually stepping back in time, except with more vegan food.
Bar Velo used to be known as Cafe Moto for 14 years (since 2002), serving up bar snacks, chicken, mussels, and ribs, but in the summer of 2016, husband and wife team, John McCormick and Vannesa Shank decided to make this restaurant vegan, or as they say call it, "a vegetarian bistro" (but everything on the menu is vegan). Locals were at first upset over this menu change, but the menu was changed discreetly, and the flavor and diversity of dishes kept bringing customers in. In fact, people didn't even notice it was vegan.
The change came as a result of John and Vannesa being on again, off again vegetarian and vegan. They wanted to create a restaurant that they enjoyed eating at, especially because they have a 2 year old that they want to feed clean food to. John is a designer by trade, so he remodeled Cafe Moto to align with is passion for cycling, while they both were also actively recipe testing. They were going to create a vegetarian restaurant, but they quickly realized that they could easily make many of the recipes vegan.
Vanessa says that "good food is good food," and she's right, the food is flavorful, as beautiful as the space, and inclusive. Customers love the food because it's "cleaner and leaner" without any morally superior labels declaring everything being vegan.
So if you find yourself in South Williamsburg, looking for a beautiful space to eat in, love sophisticated cocktails and/or delicious food, Bar Velo has something for you.
394 Broadway (corner Hooper St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11211
PS: There's live music 8:30-9:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday and Brunch options on Sunday!