For a long time– well, starting four years ago, which feels like it was a different era in Bushwick years– Alaska was the after-midnight bar that guaranteed a good time and cheap drinks on the night ship to crazyville, and when it closed just a few weeks ago, it seemed almost certain that some frou-frou cocktail place would replace it. The bar’s Facebook goodbye only seemed to confirm this suspicion: “Alaska, at least in its present form, is closing, forever,” it read. So what’ll it be this time? A lesson on cocktail “shrub” cultivation, perhaps? Bushwick’s first X-Files-themed alien bar? Or maybe I was walking into a trap set by the Tim Burton bar guy?
We like the way bars are going these days– which is to say backwards. In the past year we’ve been given a slew of cheeky tiki bars– there’s El Cortez, plus Dromedary on the way. But unless you’re willing to risk colada-induced diabetes, or you’ve turned into an actual diamond-encrusted yacht because you’ve been price gouging HIV patients, downing elaborate bourbon-filled ceramic shark heads like the ones at Mother of Pearl on the reg isn’t gonna fly. Instead, pony up to Ridgewood’s newest old man bar, Bonus Room, and order yourself a sensible drink.
“That’s my chair honey.”
Rosemary Bleday reprimands a customer as he puts his hands on an empty chair at the end of the bar. Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern is packed to bursting with St. Patrick’s Day revelers, yet one chair remains tantalizingly open. It sits in a prime location, facing out on Bedford Avenue and providing a vantage point of the entire tavern. But Rosemary’s spot will always be Rosemary’s spot, like it has been for 60 years.