BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Located at 425 Troutman St. off the Jefferson Street L train station, The Rookery was founded in 2013 by Jamie Schmitz and his wife, Shana Bellot. Schmitz had worked as a bartender in Bushwick and got to know the neighborhood very well. After years of bartending, Schmitz was inspired to open a place of his own. He relocated to Bushwick with Bellot eight years ago and the couple began their search for the perfect location.
Housed in a former warehouse, the bar itself combines modern, urban elements with a cozy, rustic aesthetic. The industrial loading bay doors flood the bar with light. Soaring ceilings are accented with skylights, vintage pendant lamps and exposed bronzed metal beams. An impressive traditional high-backed oval mahogany bar is the pub’s centerpiece.
The bar, created by a local Bushwick-based carpenter, features a bronzed accent wall and shelves filled with heirlooms, portraits, a taxidermy peacock and an extensive Scotch selection. The rustic booths are complimented by vintage floral block print wallpaper that was transported from the UK and carefully installed by Schmitz’s mother as a labor of love.
The menu itself is a unique mix of Schmitz’s British roots with Bellot’s West Indian heritage. “What we did here came very easily. They work together very well,” Schmitz explained. The British-West Indian fusion comes through in dishes like the Oxtail Sloppy Joe ($8), Curried Goat Shepherd’s Pie ($13), Oxtail Pho ($12), Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts ($8) and Mum’s Chips, a plate of slow roasted potato wedges served with Jamaican dipping sauce and scotch bonnet mayonnaise ($5).
The Rookery is also known for its traditional Scotch egg ($8) which features a soft-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and panko served on a bed of watercress and arugula. The Scotch egg is fried until it is crispy on the outside with a runny yolk at its center.
In addition to pub fare, The Rookery also boasts an impressive collection of British cocktails and beer, including Bellhaven Scottish Ale. The cocktail menu features British classics such as the Pimm’s Cup, as well as more adventurous offerings like The Blackwatch ($12), a mix of Jonnie Walker Black, Becherovka, Sweet Vermouth and Creme de Casis. The Alexander Fleming ($14), named for the Scottish biologist and inventor of penicillin, combines Jonnie Walker Red with triple Laphroaig, Drambuie, honey, ginger and lemon.
The popular Highland Boy ($12) blends Cragganmore 12, Heering, Stones Ginger Wine with Ramazzotti and orange. The cocktail was named after the large painting of Schmitz’s great uncle Thomas Macrae that overlooks the bar.
The portrait, painted by well-known Scottish artist and relative Thomas Austen Brown, is a family heirloom that once graced the dining room wall at Schmitz’s grandfather’s house in Durington, UK. “That ended up being what we built the bar around,” Schmitz said, “It kind of helped set the bar’s identity as well.”
In honor of Tartan Week, The Rookery will feature specials on their Scotch egg, Bellhaven Scottish Ale and Scotch cocktails.
“We hope to get a lot of kilted folk through here,” Schmitz said. “I’ll be going to the Tartan Parade on Saturday in my kilt for sure.”
425 Troutman St., Brooklyn