It’s forecast to rain all weekend (boo), but today the weather gods are giving us a pretty tantalizing taste of the summer vibes around the corner. And we all know what that means: soaking up drinks, drinks, and more draaanks galore.
The Passport Program is a not-too-shabby way to make your summer imbibing a little bit cheaper, especially if your #goals this summer include expanding your cocktail repertoire and hitting new bars on the drink scene.
There’s a lot of work to be done– have you tried the Dragon’s Breath (apricot-hot sauce, Calvados, and vermouth) at the new Dutch Kills spinoff Fresh Kills? What about It’s Halloween! (pumpkin liqueur, cinnamon liqueur, apple liqueur, apple cider, ginger beer) at the just-opened Tim Burton bar? Or Dromedary Bar‘s outrageous layered drink, the Kilauea Colada (blue Curacao on the bottom, blood orange juice, allspice syrup, and absinthe)? We could go on, but you might start experiencing epic Friday FOMO.
Well, you can’t knock those bars off your to-do list with the Passport (unfortunately they aren’t on the deals list), but you can get started on drinking your way through every bar in the city. For $20 (the price of a fancy cocktail and a half) you get a “passport” booklet, which contain what basically amount to visas granting you access to special deals at 30 participating bars in the North Brooklyn area. The discounts include two-for-one drink specials at 30 venues in Brooklyn, enough to keep you busy for months. Passport goes into effect May 27 and is valid through Labor Day, so if you grab one now you’ll pad your wallet for a full summer of slinging back the drinksies.
Sure, you may get some funny side-eyes, walking around Brooklyn like a doofus with a little booklet (the people at passport seem to think that it’ll look best in proximity to your butt) and marking off all your bar specials as if you’re on some sort of drunken scavenger hunt. And, granted, declining your friends’ invitations to drink with them at bars without Passport access might make you feel like a bit of a snob (or your cat-lady aunt who so aggressively snipped coupons she once nearly clipped her finger off)– but, hey, it’s worth it when you’re saving what Passport boasts is around $300 in the pursuit of double the booze, and hence double the fun.
But choose wisely between a Passport-stamped life and a regular drinkin’ schlep, because there’s also the question of whether you’ll ever even go to the bars on the list. Of course, you could always stay home and work on sobering up all summer… but you’re probably not gonna do that, are you?
It bears reminding that Passport’s territory isn’t limited to our usual B+B haunts, so if you’re a total Williamsburg-Greenpoint denizen or live in the LES and just don’t get out to Brooklyn at all more than once a month, it might not make sense to blow $20 on one of these. Then again, having a Passport of this kind might encourage you to cross borders you wouldn’t normally traverse, but only if those places include Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bed-Stuy. Still, the strongest showing remains in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, while the rest are just a short bike ride away.
So what are the places on the Passport list that we definitely expect to be frequenting? In the B+B Zone, there are places like Black Bear Bar in Williamsburg, where you can catch a show and watch skaters glide a half pipe while grabbing a beer-and-shot special. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the eminently refined Grand Ferry Tavern on the waterfront serving up classics and Americana, like the Widow’s Kiss with 100-proof apple brandy. And don’t forget casual live-music haunts like Greenpoint’s Pete’s Candy Store, Williamsburg’s St. Mazie’s, Bushwick’s Moto, or Over the Eight with its rotation of comedy shows, open-mics and more, all of which are also on the list.
Further afield, it’s worth it to check out Fort Greene’s The Mayflower (the dark little bar attached to Aita) and Dick and Jane’s for tiny, laid-back speakeasy vibes with perfect classic cocktails; Clinton Hill’s Jamaica Grill Jerk Center and Hoja Santa for chill neighborhood joints; and the rotating taps at Bedford Hills Coffee Bar in Bed-Stuy (it’s a bitty place, but there’s a backyard that feels like a secret garden).
There’s one major question you’re probably all wondering at this point– is the Passport good for you and your GF/ BF/ BFF/or feral cat friendzie? Well ok, we’re guessing the cat’s probably not going to be allowed inside any bars (nor any other animal, child, or imaginary friend)– but yes, you CAN in fact be generous and share Passport with your honey (read: one honey only– sorry polyamorists) or pass your freebie cocktail to a Tinder date. But why would you want to do that when you can happily guzzle two grapefruit margs by yourself, amiright?