Revelations: Brooklyn Rum Bar The Rogers Garden Pours Up For Its Community

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The Rogers Garden is a rum lover’s paradise. Sourcing its wide selection of spirits from Barbados to Grenada and beyond, this charming neighborhood bar celebrates the rich flavors and cultures of the Caribbean, a reflection of its surrounding community of Flatbush, Brooklyn, in New York.

Owner and entrepreneur Garnett Phillip drew inspiration from her travels to the islands and her own heritage. “I am who I am today because of my Ethiopian mom and Trinidadian dad, who has instilled these amazing morals in me as far as entrepreneurship,” says Phillip.

A Hard Lesson Learned

Phillip held onto her entrepreneurial spirit despite a major setback when she had to close her previous business, a candy store on nearby Franklin Avenue.

“It was a hard lesson for me to learn,” she says. “It can’t be just for the money. I think the success comes when you’re absolutely passionate about it. So I learned from the candy store.”

Determined to try again, the Brooklynite realized that with her 16 years of bartending experience, she was well-equipped to open her next business venture: “a true rum bar.”

“I know how to mix [cocktails]; I know how to create them. I know what they taste like, smell like. I can make syrups. I know how to be creative. I can make them look pretty and taste amazing. And I knew, let me give this a shot,” Phillip says.

The Rogers Garden was born, named for the bar’s Rogers Avenue address.

From The Islands To Brooklyn

Now a bustling business with a steady stream of happy patrons, The Rogers Garden is thriving.

The unique bar offers a global selection of rums from the Caribbean and beyond—from Bounty Premium White from St. Lucia to El Dorado from Guyana to Leblon Cachaça from Brazil. The rum stays flowing in this inviting space.

“There’s probably like 70 or 80 bottles of rum in this building from all over the world,” says Phillip. “In order to fill that back shelf up with all that rum, you really need to know your rums. I really know my rums.”

Beer drinkers will also discover a nice selection of international fare—from the familiar Jamaican Red Stripe to Carib from Trinidad and Tobago and more.

The Rogers Garden’s impressive drinks selection is inspired by Phillip’s travels to the Caribbean and her desire to sample each destination’s local spirits.

“My thing was, when I go to these islands, don’t make me a cocktail that’s not from your island. Don’t give me rum or beer that’s not from your island,” the avid traveler explains. “I wanted to bring this feeling back. I wanted to do a rum bar, and that is because of the island hopping and the traveling and being in love with that.”

Garnett Philips Rogers Garden

Source: Courtesy of iOne Digital

Embraced By The Community

The Rogers Garden’s welcoming atmosphere and Caribbean-and-proud vibes have made it a fixture of its local Brooklyn community.

Hosting live steelpan performances in the bar’s charming patio space, the music draws in the people in the neighborhood. (Steelpan, or steel drum, is a musical instrument from Trinidad and Tobago that many Caribbean cultures have embraced.)

That was “the moment I knew I was making a difference,” says Phillip. “The older people, the older Caribbean people, would just stand on the sidewalk and dance … and when they found it was a Black-owned bar, the community, it was just this huge support.”

Phillip’s motivation for it all is to build a legacy for her children. “Legacy is a big deal for me. I want to build an amazing legacy for my kids,” she says.