The Canadian-born pair says the idea behind this placed was rooted in nostalgia: They grew up in Quebec and wanted to bring “a little taste of their hometown to New York.”
Brothers Harold and Marcel Simoneau, who also are behind Noorman’s Kil in Williamsburg, have opened a restaurant and bar that taps into their Canadian roots. UpNorth’s menu focuses on poutines, including a straightforward classic version as well as takes that bring in Indian and Mexican cuisines. There are also burgers on the menu. A cocktail list includes classics like an old fashioned and options like the “Everything Nice,” made with tequila, nutmeg, mace, lime, and cucumber.
NAFTA poutine at UpNorth
It’s not exactly health food, but it sure does taste good. Facetiously named after the North American Free Trade Agreement, this bar snack ($11) combines elements of the three treaty signatories: Canada, Mexico, and the United States. From Canada comes poutine, but with American tater tots substituted. The dish also resembles Mexican nachos, with its toppings of cheese sauce, sour cream, flavored ground beef, and pico de gallo. Find it at UpNorth, a new Quebec-inspired bar; wash it down with Canadian beers in bottles and on tap
It is, however, a Canadian spot, and you might get that sense from how incredibly nice the bartenders are. They’ll be happy to give you an excellent recommendation for a cocktail that you otherwise might not have ordered. There’s also poutine, a few Canadian beers, and some charming ram taxidermy on the walls, but when it comes down to it, Upnorth is just a great simple bar in the middle of Bushwick’s busiest area (right off the Jefferson Avenue L).
A taste of Canada is surprisingly close in Brooklyn. UpNorth draws on the roots of its Québécois owners, brothers Harold and Marcel Simoneau, the duo behind Williamsburg bar Noorman’s Kil, for its menu and theme. The new Bushwick spot resembles an industrial-style ski lodge accented with Brooklyn-bar essentials: taxidermy, reclaimed wood and exposed brick. Several variations on poutine dominate the food menu in addition to smaller snacks like bacon chips and Canadian candy bars. The drinks menu extends beyond Canada’s signature offerings, with Calvados brandy, mezcal and spiced rum-based cocktails. Bottled and canned Canadian beers include the popular Labatt Blue, Moosehead Lager and St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout.
Behind it: two brothers of the team that brought us Noorman's Kil (Brooklyn bar of countless whiskies, if you don't know) who had this vision of bringing a taste of their hometown to New York. Luckily for all of us, that happens to be Québec: home of fries drenched in gravy and cheese curds. Also, ketchup chips, we guess.
"Brand new Canadian bar in Brooklyn serving higher end spirits and terrific food. They did a great job with the interior of the place. I was able to sample their burger and several different poutine options. Highly recommend starring this on your Google Map."
A welcoming yet tasteful atmosphere flaunts a lofty space accented by subtle details. Offering a wide range of drinks, bar fare, and specials, UpNorth has something for everyone.
BEDFORD + BOWERY
I ordered the large Deluxe Poutine ($12) which is tender bits of smoked meat, cheese curds, onions, and mushrooms slathered in gravy, atop a bed of French fries. Poutine is usually served out of food trucks and in walk-up restaurants, the perfect eats for a drunkard stumbling home from the bar. The appeal of UpNorth, I think, is that you can eat poutine while getting drunk at the bar. To drink, I ordered a Molson Canadian ($6). My date ordered a small vegetarian poutine ($9), which is a similar dish with porcini gravy. Her Rose is a Rose cocktail ($14) was made with Dillon’s Rose Gin, cucumber, elderflower, pomegranate, and soda. The whole thing cost $46, and I tipped $8 (because my date was watching).
On the menu, look for the "Classique" poutine, consisting of hand-cut potatoes, local cheese curds and gravy; a grass-fed beef burger draped in mushrooms and Gruyere; and a variety of chocolate snacks. There are 10 beers on tap and the cocktails change seasonally.
The new cocktail bar has already attracted fans thus far, with a five-star rating out of four reviews on Yelp.
Jean-Yves R., who was among the first Yelpers to review the new spot on March 20th, said, "This is the best new bar in the hood! Love the black white contrast and all the subtle details...Amazing cocktails, food, service, space."
Unsurprisingly, the whiskey collection here is pretty impressive.
Poutine is something I was always rather on the fence about prior to visiting Canada, where I had both really good and really bad poutine. To my mind, really good poutine requires the fries to be crispy, otherwise they can't stand up to the gravy, the curds need to be really fresh, with gravy that's not too watery or oily. This met all those criteria. The fries were pre-seasoned with a little hint spice, very crispy, and topped with really fresh, squeaky, local cheese curds.
This spacious spot transports urban residents to our crisp neighbors up north, Canada. While sipping their extensive collection of stouts and ales, and munching on authentic poutine, make sure to glance up at the rare sighting of deer head taxidermy on the wood-paneled walls.
It’s about time for an awesome Canadian bar, eh? This recently-opened spot is called UpNorth for a reason, and it’s about as “up north” as you can get with half a dozen poutine options and an impressive collection of Canadian beers. Enjoy it all in a very Canadian-feeling clean, wood-accented space with a taxidermied ram overlooking the room.