April 5, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
A new Asian-inspired cocktail lounge opened last week on Manhattan Avenue.
Sama Street, located at 988 Manhattan Ave. in north Greenpoint, is the brainchild of two longtime friends, Avi Singh and Rishi Rajpal.
The bar, which opened last Monday, serves up handcrafted cocktails infused with Asian ingredients and small pan-Asian plates.
Singh and Rajpal met when they were four years old, growing up in New Delhi, India. From a young age, they both knew they wanted to have their own space in the hospitality industry.
A few years ago, they both found themselves working in New York City—Singh in consulting and Rajpal in tech—when they finally decided to take the leap and open their own bar.
“Since we were kids we always had this passion to want to be in the hospitality industry and just sitting down one day, I told him I think I’m going to quit my job and try to pursue my dream,” Rajpal said. “From there we both just started doing it together because we had the same dream, the same passion.”
Growing up, Rajpal and Singh traveled around Asia, trying out food and drinks all over India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand and elsewhere, which ultimately inspired their idea to open an Asian-influenced bar.
“We love trying out their food, trying out their drinks, and we just wanted to bring something that we enjoyed growing up into a place here where other people could enjoy as well,” Rajpal said.
On the drinks menu is wine, four different Asian beers and 15 cocktails that all feature Asian ingredients. The Eastern Medicine cocktail utilizes Japanese whiskey, yuzu and black cardamom, while the Slow Boat to China, a Thai rum-based drink, features mint, pandan and coconut.
The small dishes on the food menu are influenced by the plates Rajpal and Singh ate during their travels growing up. On offer are spicy Thai prawns, green papaya salad, curried shishito peppers, and much more.
Both Singh and Rajpal have lived in Williamsburg and became very fond of the North Brooklyn area. When they began searching for a space to open their bar, they looked all over Brooklyn but ultimately came back to their home area.
“Greenpoint just kept calling us back because we loved the neighborhood feel and we loved all the residents around the area as well,” Rajpal said.
In the near future, Rajpal and Singh are hoping to be able to add larger plates to the menu, as well lunch during the day and brunch on weekends.
Sama Street is open seven days a week from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.