New Kid on the Block: Holywater

It’s always hard to put your finger on vibe, but once again, the brothers from the Grand Banks have hit it with their newest venture: Holywater, which officially opened last week in the underground space at 112 Reade at the corner with West Broadway.

Alex and Miles Pincus are New Orleans natives, so there is a taste of Nola both on the walls and on the menu (crawfish étouffée, gumbo, the Roffignac cocktail, named for a mayor of New Orleans from the 1800s). But the overarching theme is sailing and drinking, a natural combination they say. (In fact, Alex said it so succinctly in his interview with The Times that his wife had it made into a desktop name plate.)

The space was designed by Alex and it is a wonder: wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling of found objects, maritime artifacts, signs, photographs and paintings — all hung Barnes Collection-style with just an inch between them. The wood soffits on the ceiling were there, left over from the previous tenant Holy Ground, but they add to the atmosphere and look great. (I am using some of their pictures since my phone didn’t do it justice and maybe I was a couple beers in…)

(NB: The two holy-s are a coincidence: the Pincus brothers registered the Holywater name a decade ago, and were just waiting for the right opportunity.)

They came across this spot during covid and it struck all the right notes: size, coziness, location. A week in it is already a tough reservation to get. This is their sixth restaurant, and the team is working on a seventh in Brooklyn and trying to juggle it all in what is their busy season, since two of their restaurants float and the rest are waterside.

“It’s like having a baby,” said Alex, who actually does have a 9-month-old as well as a 7-year-old. “You totally love it and it’s so awesome but it keeps you up at night.”

The chef is the celebrated Kerry Heffernan, who has to have one of the most enviable resumes in New York City kitchens. The list goes something like Montrachet, Bouley, chef de cuisine at One Fifth Avenue, executive chef at Eleven Madison Park, where he worked with Danny Meyer to develop the menu for Shake Shack (so the burger at Holywater was pretty damn good). He’s also a seafood expert and consultant — he’s a clammer himself — so we loved the salmon collars and the tuna, which was just barely seared. (He also gets his knives from Korin.) They offer three towers of oysters.

I’m always a sucker for any ’70s rock and they had that going — Steely Dan, Nick Lowe — and we caught a little Calexico before we stopped listening and started talking.

It is loud in there, so beware if that bothers you, but for me that’s what makes a place feel festive and in this case, like the party’s on.

112 Reade at West Broadway
Reservations on Tock



1 Comment

  1. Love your site. My father (Wilfred Chetwynd) sailed on the Sherman Zwicker with his uncle Lucky Tanner (Blue Rocks, NS) when he was 13. When he left he took the compass. I have had it restored and it now graces my beach house in NS. I live in Houston and am currently transitting the Suez Canal. When I get back I’ll send some pictures. Best Regards