It was a long, hard winter which, honestly, now that I’m looking back on it, I managed to block most of it out. But dare I say that spring has perhaps been worse, and not necessarily because of the fits-n-starts weather that teased all of us into thinking life was about to go our way (yeah right). Instead, it was the uncertainty of whether or not the Barge Bar was ever going to reopen along the Greenpoint waterfront.
Not realizing that the bar had closed up shop for the season only to experience a sea change of sorts, and rebirth as a “bar”-less barge (in name only, not in reality– thank the freakin’ sea gods), I and many other sea-legged imbibers watched the Brooklyn Barge Bar Facebook page with a pathetic level of attentiveness, to no avail. Each time fans of alcohol and sun like myself checked the page, it never updated from the last post on January 1 that wished everyone a happy New Year, which left me wondering whether we were ever gonna get a chance to get our float on this season. But, as we’ve learned, that’s kinda just how things go at the Barge.
Last year, as we were following the barge-bar story, from a pie-in-the-East-River idea to almost reality, and then a long, long wait. Finally, after several long months of waiting and wondering, the Barge Bar finally opened at the end of September.
That #BargeLife, if you will, is all about a slow, but assured chug-a-tug-tug course to the finish line. And by Poseidon’s will, The Brooklyn Barge is back, set to open on Wednesday May 25.
B+B spoke with Thomas Morgan, who we’re told founded the bar along with Jim Gill and Matt Perricone. Turns out that Will Drawbridge, the person who guided us through all the Barge Bar progress last year, is not in fact the owner. “He was just the general manager,” Morgan told me over the phone today. It seems that the three owners are playing a bigger role this season.
While the bar has a new name, a slightly slicker online presence, and are now seafaring sans their pirate logo, Thomas said there aren’t too many changes happening. The historic boats will be back, and the Manhattan Kayak Club is set to offer free kayaking and paddle boarding lessons. The Barge is also participating in the Billion Oyster Project, which Thomas explained is an initiative “to put oyster beds in the rivers surrounding New York to help filter out and clean the water,” and it’s one that’s “really gaining some traction.”
The menu has “changed slightly,” the co-owner explained, but you can still expect to find rum punch and french fries, with the addition of fish tacos, pork fries (pork belly and chili dipping sauce) and French fries, and of course there’s room for tons of beer. Buckets of beer, in fact.
As for the look of the place, well, trying to make a barge look gorgeous is sort of like, as they say, putting lipstick on a pig. Except that the pig is an enormous chunk of creaky metal with barnacle probz instead of a perpetual cloud of gnats to call her own. She’s supposed to be ugly, let her be– she’s glorious just how she is. Nevertheless, there have been some minor cosmetic improvements. “We’ve added more decking,” Thomas said. “We’ve just done some visual stuff.”
Obviously, the point here isn’t to create some schmancy atmosphere.
“We just want people to come down and enjoy the waterfront and see that there are things to do down here,” Thomas said. And anyone who doesn’t think that beer, sun, water, and a dang barge are a recipe for pure bliss, is fixin’ to get keel hauled.
The Brooklyn Barge is located at 3 Milton Street on the Greenpoint waterfront; open this week on Monday (4 pm – 1 am) and until October 31st (11:30 am – 1 am) weather permitting.