Brand New Kilo Bravo Enriches Williamsburg

Kate Buenaflor has had a successful nine-year run in Williamsburg with Soft Spot. Now she has opened Kilo Bravo with partner Richard DeVore. It’s slick but comfortable, the right balance between high-design and ease. It comes at a time when a new Williamsburg is being defined, a Williamsburg that retains much of its creative edge while catering to those who seek that edge. Williamsburg is a global city and Kilo Bravo has positioned itself to embrace the ever-changing and burgeoning market. I caught up with Kate Buenaflor and asked her all about it.

There is a great deal of detail in Kilo Bravo’s design, a pleasant departure from the rustic reclaimed wood and dive bar look so common in the neighborhood. Why this look?

During the design stage of Kilo Bravo we were presented with a lot of that “rustic reclaimed wood” and aged-this-and-that.  My thinking was that my other bar, Soft Spot, has been open for nine years, and through those nine years it has earned some wear and tear. I already have a bar that “looks old,” I want Kilo Bravo to look new! Basically, if the wood in Kilo Bravo becomes rustic looking, it’s because we’ve earned it through years of  business. Kilo Bravo is constructed out of a combination of mahogany, brass and blackened steel. The color combination and textures of these materials supported our concept of creating a warm, comfortable, slightly elevated bar. 

We wanted all of the details of the bar to connect in some way without being too symmetrical. Small details like the shape of the brass inlay in the bar being imitated in the brass ceiling design is just one example of this connection. We followed two trains of thought with our design.  One, was to support our idea of Kilo Bravo as a neighborhood bar with American soul and a hint of Rock n’ Roll.  Two, was to build a bar that would satisfy all of a customer’s needs without them noticing. Kilo Bravo was built to be both fashionable and functional. For example, we have four cocktail tables that line the wall across from the bar. Each is made from mahogany and it’s edge has a router detail that is our salute to the grill of an American muscle car. Each table is legless and can flip down against the wall for when the bar is crowded. Fashion and Function. Kilo Bravo is full of it. From the faces of American, female rock stars peering out from our mirrors, to our under bar outlets, we feel that we have satisfied our fashionable and functional goals and designed a bar that people will happily call home.   

So what will we find at Kilo Bravo?

Kilo Bravo has two cocktail menus.  One is a series of tasty drinks that are either elevated, like our Spicy Start mixing tequila, jalapeños, and maple syrup, or they are deliciously whimsical like our series of Soda Jerk cocktails served over chipped ice in a frosty mug and a straw that changes color as you drink. The other cocktail menu is our Road Trip Menu. This is a series of 50 cocktails, one for each state. Customers have one year to take their road trip.  Once they have completed their “journey”, they get a “Welcome Home Party” at Kilo Bravo for themselves and their friends.  We have a simple menu that  features five types of slow-cooked pulled beef sandwiches, and five types of grilled cheese sandwiches, and the kitchen will encourage substitutions. All of our food is made in-house, and we’re bringing bread in from Northside Bakery, located just down the street.  

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From where will you draw your clientele? Is there a new Williamsburg crowd?  Is the neighborhood around you bringing in a client quite different than a few years ago?

We hope to have customers from the neighborhood to the Netherlands!  All are welcome! I’ve been living in Williamsburg for 12 years and I have had Soft Spot for nine. Although I’ve seen great change during this time one thing has remained the same: the quality of people remains top notch. New York is a magnet to all types of people. It always has been. Williamsburg is part of that magnetism. The customers are now and always have been great. There’s just a lot more of them now!!!!  

Is there a music program?

Our music program is rock n’ roll and soul based.  On any given night you’ll hear artists like Ike & Tina Turner, Merry Clayton, Sam Cooke, and Janis Joplin.  

Tell us about where the name came from.

Kilo Bravo are the military call signs for “K” and “B”, which are my initials. My parter, Richard DeVore is “Kansas Born” and our bar mascot is a “Killer Bison”.

How were the recipes for the state cocktails determined?

The Road Trip Cocktails are sourced by:

  • It is the famous cocktail from the state
  • An ingredient is from the state
  • The name of the cocktail is named after the state (we did not invent these)
  • The name of the cocktail is from the state sports team
  • The name of the cocktail is named after something invented in the state
  • The ingredients are super popular in the state
  • Or it was just funny as shit (New Jersey Turnpike)

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