You can have your fancy fro-yo and candy encrusted sundaes, we’ll be sipping traditional shakes and sodas at Brooklyn Farmacy.
We’re too young to have lived through the days of drug store soda fountains, thought the Australian equivalent, the milk bar was still a treat for ice creams and milkshakes in the eighties and nineties. We missed the American Saturday morning traditions of an egg creme and a movie with the possible addition of cake or pie for behaving. At Brooklyn Farmacy, everyone can experience these treats.
This Carrol Garden favorite is worth stepping off the well-trodden tourist track to walk the stylish neighborhood with its wealthy double income young family community. The Farmacy sits in the shell of a former 1920s apothecary store, the type that had genuine character unlike the sterile Walgreens, CVS and Duane Reades that have become the norm for your pharmacy needs.
Pressed metal ceilings and paneled walls set the scene. Nine red twirling stools sit at the bar and traditional Bastien brand soda fountains provide the vital ingredient. Opened in 2010, its founders had the good fortune to be part of a reality TV show, Construction Intervention which saw 60 crew transform the space into a beautifully renovated shopfront in five days. The rest is history.
From its exterior, the color scheme is locked in the post-war era, with pastel aquas and pinks. Classic 50s rock and pop sets the scene as you enter the space, with almost overpowering sweetness hanging in the air from the freshly baked cookies and pies.
The staff are known as soda jerks, a title they wear proudly on their sleeves. We order their specialty, an egg creme, which contains neither egg nor creme. It’s basically seltzer, chocolate syrup and milk, creating what tastes like a fizzy chocolate milk. It’s fascinating watching the process, as the carbonat d water melds with the syrup producing large chocolaty bubbles.
The other big fave in the carbonated drinks category is a float, icecream floating on top of the soda, something back home we’d call a spider. Then there’s also the shakes menu. This isn’t the place to come when you’re on a diet. To accompany the drink on what is a cold winters day, we opt for a grilled cheese though the selection of cakes are very, very tempting.
Brooklyn Farmacy is a charming place to reminisce and experience a slice of neighborly New York life when a trip to the drug store soda fountain was a way to bond with your parents and siblings, with no phones to distract – just the latest DC comic issue. It’s perfect for families, but better in the evenings for couples looking a little old style courting.
Brooklyn Farmacy is an old-style soda fountain and cafe in Carrol Gardens.
513 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 522-6260