Pete’s Mini Zine Fest is coming to Williamsburg next Saturday and there will be some interesting zines up for grabs including Fracking Can Be Fun and Homos in Herstory. Bill Roundy will also be there selling Bar Scrawl, his Brooklyn bar review guides. These aren’t the kind of reviews you’d read in Frommer’s or on TripAdvisor. They’re cartoon guides with some different takes on places you’ve probably been before or have been wanting to check out.
Like this one on the cafeteria-style beer hall Berg’n.
Or this one on popular “Berry Hill” destination The Whiskey Brooklyn. The owners have since switched it up and put in basketball hoops instead of shuffleboard.
In the ever changing landscape of Brooklyn, Roundy makes it a point to keep his 16-page, $4 guides current. At the zine fest Saturday, he’ll be selling an updated guide to bars in Park Slope.
“It’s a really fun show,” he said. “It’s a relaxed show … you can actually hang out and talk to people. You don’t have to be worried about staying at your table every moment.”
Roundy is nearing 15 years as a cartoonist, but he has never considered himself to be artistically inclined. “All of the drawing abilities that I have developed over the last sixteen years have been very hard won,” he said. “It’s all been a struggle.”
He started drawing on September 11, 2002 because he wanted to do something to take his mind off the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. In 24 hours, he made an 18-page comic book about “mole people.” He kept drawing and in 2010 he started Bar Scrawl.
In the seven years he’s been doing these reviews, he’s drawn up around 250 while inside the bars he visits. He’s tried taking a photo and then drawing at home, but it just doesn’t turn out the same. “The photo comes out kind of lifeless,” he said. “It’s a lot more energy if I stand there and draw there. The vast majority of it is drawn somewhere between the second and the third drink.”
Roundy plans to keep going and might even expand into Manhattan or do multi-page cartoon reviews, but for now he’s sticking to checking out any bars that look interesting in Brooklyn. “Ideally I like places that have a hook. I will go for a gimmick because a gimmick is generally visually interesting.”