Chef Emma Jane Gonzalez with a curry chickpea and apple salad
A few months back, I heard there was a newish bar in Gowanus, Brooklyn that had a vegan night. That bar is Halyards, at 3rd Avenue and 6th street. I still haven’t been myself, because I am extraordinaly
lazy busy, but I did ask host/organizer/chef Emma Jane Gonzalez a bunch of questions over e-mail. And I promise I will go soon, because it sounds totally great!
The only bad thing is that once a month it overlaps with Vegan Drinks (but not this month, thanks to holiday schedules). This Thursday (December 15) will be the last Halyards Vegan Thursday until the New Year. So go tomorrow, then go back starting January 5.
Now here’s what I asked Emma:
Is every Thursday at Halyards a Vegan Thursday?
I’m there, serving vegan food almost every Thursday from 7pm, usually till midnight or a little after. This Thursday is the last one before the holidays. But it will be a good one! Holiday-themed food. And starting in January, there will be trivia every Thursday, to accompany the food. (It’s totally fun and not obnoxious or fratty!)
If I show up at Halyards some time other than Vegan Night, is there vegan food to be had?
Other nights, you won’t find vegan food (other than potato chips), so save your Thursdays for us.
What food do you serve? Is it the same menu every time? Is it good for a meal, or just snacks? Is there savory food and dessert?
I change the menu every week. There are always 4 items, usually 2 of which are gluten-free. Small plates, that you can totally make a meal of. Here are a few things I’ve made in recent weeks, to give you an idea: Cashew-based Welsh Rarebit, Smokey Grits with Black Eyed Peas and Crispy Onions, Baked Chickpea and Cauliflower Croquettes, Spicy Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate pressed sandwich, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Agave-Mustard Sauce, Corn Taco with Kale, Tofu, Roasted Sweet Potato, and BBQ Sauce…I focus on savory foods, but often include a hint of sweetness.
Side note: If you come in one week, and give me a request, I will try my darndest to incorporate it into next week’s menu (as long as the request isn’t something gross).
Are there any special vegan beverages (alcoholic or otherwise) to go along with the food?
You know, specialty vegan-drinks are a great idea! I will absolutely bring that up with the Halyards team.
How long have you been doing Vegan Night at Halyards? How did it start?
I started cooking at Halyards over the summer- June, I believe. I typically (and continue to) work as a personal chef, but Halyards owner Edward Colley was interested in starting a vegan night. My pal Mickey Guagno, an amazing bartender (at Halyards) recommended me for the gig, and it’s been going really well!
What’s the crowd and atmosphere like? Is it more rowdy or mellow? Do people come alone, with friends, with dates? Is it mostly people there specifically for the veganity, or people who’d be there regardless?
Halyards is a relaxed neighborhood-y bar. It’s a big space, lots of seating, board games, nice dim lighting (the most flattering kind!). And I find the crowd to be really cool- a ton of musicians and artists have studios/ practice spaces in the area, so there are plenty of tattoos and glasses : ). Singles, couples, big groups, sports lovers, seniors- we get all kinds. People like it because it’s friendly and cool, but not cramped or divey like a lot of bars. It’s a nice place to bring people- both vegans and omnivores!
Do the non-vegans make fun of you?
I do occasionally overhear newcomers asking the bartender if there’s any “like…non-vegan food”, but I generally win them over! They have the rest of the week to order grilled cheese and pulled-pork. Thursday nights are animal-free!