Bootleg Bar celebrated four years of cheap drinks in Bushwick with an all-night rager on Saturday. Neighborhood newbies and old friends alike cheered each other with tallboys of PBR and Evan Williams shots. The combo’s $5 price hasn’t changed since the bar opened in 2014.
Co-owners Booby Rich and Marek Gregorski were on hand to share memories that stretch back over a decade; Rich bartended at Williamsburg’s East River Bar, which Gregorski owns in addition to co-owning Tradesmen over on Bushwick Avenue. The transition from employer-employee to business partners worked out well for Rich and Marek, and the two were all smiles as the folks around the bar went three rows deep.
MC Billy Burgess, founder of the Druid Film Festival, introduced bands The Othermen, Twin Guns, Ken South Rock and DJ Drew Redmond while wearing a giant Bootleg Fried Chicken bucket inspired by the bar’s latest commercial. After the music rocked till 1am, I spoke to Adam Amram, drummer of Ken South Rock, who has known co-owner Rich since they were barflies at bygone Bushwick venue Goodbye Blue Monday. He called his friend “an extremely motivated person with incredible honesty that will skin you to the bone. Bobby’s got the confidence that a 60-year-old man would have.”
Of the bar’s beer and shot strategy, Rich said, “If you come to this neighborhood for cheaper rent, the drinks should be cheap too. Why go all the way to the Lower East Side for $3 beers when you can get ’em right here? I may have raised the rent in my area but I lowered the drink prices!”