absinthe and oysters at maison premier

Visible only by the bar/oysters sign swinging gently in the rain is Maison Premiere, a new oyster house and cocktail den on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Inside, you will find a cross between a Paris bar of the 1930s and a  New Orleans speak easy. The vibe is a little burlesque, a little grungry and a little Donald Draper.

The bespectacled waiters and lacy waitresses serve cocktails, oysters and other raw bar delights. The only choices there are to make here are what to drink and which oysters to choose from the 22 or so varieties offered. 

This place definitely transports you for a moment. Everything about Mason Premiere has been considered, even the tiniest details. It rides the current wave of decor that nods to Hotel Delmano or Freeman's. Maison Premiere has a slightly decrepit and battered look. Portraits of someone's ancestors line the walls, oil lamps flicker quietly against the cracked plaster, even the wooden pull chain toilet is meant to transport us, if only for a bit, to another time.

We ordered both East Coast and West Coast oysters. Our favorite, hands down, was the Beau Soleil; a small creamy, sweet, almost buttery oyster, from Neguac, New Brunswick .

Maison Premiere offers dollar oysters monday through friday 4-7pm. So go, sit, and sample a dozen or so. Try a glass of absinthe (they have the largest offering of premium absinthes in New York City) or have a cocktail or a glass of bubbly and allow yourself to be in another time.