Smoking outside Birdy’s, a new corner bar across the way from Little Skips in Bushwick, a passerby looked up at the bar, then looked at my friend, “Another bar?!” Yep, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, it appears yet another booze trough has opened its doors to help Bushwickians (and the graffiti tourists who love them) gargle it back.
Summer just wasn’t the same without the barge bar we were promised. Everything else seemed so dull in comparison to a life of boozing at sea, afloat the ultimate dream boat (or barge, anyway). We may be nearly a week into fall already but nothing, not even the rotation of the earth, will stop the Brooklyn Barge Bar’s slow, purposeful path to a good time. If you’ve stuck with ’em, rejoice because the Barge Bar has finally sliced through all that red tape and opened up the gangplank.
“This gallery is my baby,” explained Christopher Stout, founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group. This fall, Stout will host his inaugural exhibition as a gallery owner at his new space, the first of several anticipated art institutions inside an East Williamsburg warehouse space. BACG is “a not-for-profit community resource for everybody,” Stout explained. “But it felt like it was increasingly challenging– in a negative way– to make programming that was about everyone.” In order to host exhibitions that relate to specific subjects that Stout is more personally invested in, without having to worry about “alienating everyone else,” he said, “it really needed to be separate and become its own thing.”
That was our first thought upon hearing of Hell Phone. But before we sharpened our pitchforks, it seemed worth paying a benefit-of-the-doubt-visit to the recently opened extension of the Ange Noir Café in Bushwick. Admittedly, they also had us at their offer of crepes.
The first thing to catch our eye was a chalkboard outside Ange Noir encouraging its customers to “go through the phone booth” inside. While in its modern conception the speakeasy has lost its critical need to be inconspicuous, this seemed gratuitous. But, as co-owner Anguy Pacini explained it, before you can have anonymity, you need customers.
It’s been almost a full year since we first caught up with the three guys behind Our Wicked Lady; needless to say, the East Williamsburg bar-venue-studio hybrid is unrecognizable as the gutted industrial space we first happened upon. Incandescent bulbs shine down on a long wooden bar, behind which glows an illuminated drink menu. “Do you think that font is too small?” Wayne Gordon asked.
While tonight is the soft opening (friends, family, and investors only), it’s clear Wayne and his partners Zachary Glass and Keith Hamilton, all service industry vets, are set on making everything just right for July 8 when they open their doors for real. “It’s going to be crazy,” Wayne said of the grand opening.
Bierleichen opened its doors in Ridgewood two weeks ago and is definitely turning heads on an otherwise chill block filled with barber shops and bodegas. Heavy metal blasted out onto the sidewalk as I approached the bar. The namesake literally translates to “beer corpses,” a reference to the people who pass out in public during Oktoberfest, which is well-worth a Google Image search.
Alt Citizen has been doing their thing since 2012– the music blog’s bread-and-butter is album reviews (past and present), essays, show recommendations (mostly local Brooklyn stuff), and interviews with bands from all over. Last year, they expanded to a pocket-sized zine, of which three issues have dropped. “When you do a blog for years you start to go crazy not having a tangible thing to show people in terms of what you’re working on, so the zine naturally came out of that,” editor-in-chief and founder Nasa Hadizadeh admitted. The same impetus was behind Alt Space, a brand new storefront and gallery Alt Citizen is opening in Bushwick next week.
Except for the case of a fire, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much active interest in a single building as I did on my visit to Industry 1332. I spent one short evening at the brand new, still in-the-works restaurant and bar that sits less than a block from the Halsey stop on the L train, which compared to the Morgan and Jefferson stops, is a sleepy holdout. Throughout my visit I was confronted with several curious passersby who seemed to think the restaurant is a harbinger of something that’s about to start raging in this part of Bushwick with fury equal to a fire.
“I grew up right down the block,” Johnny Huynh (co-owner of Lucy’s, a tiny new Vietnamese restaurant in Bushwick) explained, beaming. “I’m a native. But it’s funny– I was never home. I was always out being a bad kid. So that was part of the ambition for this place, I wanted to learn to cook Vietnamese to learn more about my heritage.” Johnny, who is spotted with tattoos and looks as young as 25 sounds, sat down across the table from me at Lucy’s after I’d furiously whipped through a bowl of his fragrant bowl of vegetarian pho. This broth will be the base for all pho on offer here– no chicken or beef broth, but you can throw in some brisket if you’re feeling frisky. But man, Johnny’s broth is right up there with any of the meaty broths I’ve had, and honestly it only had to be about a quarter as good as this was to keep me coming back.
I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. Over-imbibing isn’t exactly on my list of “don’ts.” I’ve learned over the years not to be an ageist, I proudly keep friends nearly twice my age, realizing if I’m lucky I might make it to middle age too. Admittedly partying is a pretty frivolous pursuit, a bourgeois distraction. But if you don’t party at least once in a while what does that make you? A party pooper? All of these things were running through my head when I met Chang Han last week, the restaurateur behind Amancay’s Diner in Bushwick. I had decided to keep an open mind, a general rule but one that was unusually difficult to follow in light of the juicy chatter surrounding this middle-aged party boy with a taste for young ladies. So I wasn’t exactly surprised when Chang asked me a very presumptuous question: “How do you party?”
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