Ask anybody who’s not from the so-called flyover states to describe a Midwesterner and you’re absolutely going to hear some variation on the word “nice.” But try asking an actual Midwesterner to say something about their own and it’s likely to be along the lines of, “Well, they don’t take themselves too seriously.”
Thankfully, Frank Bevan and Eric Odness, a pair of super chill Minneapolis rock-n’-roll vets, fit the latter description, and likewise their Greenpoint bar, Lake Street, is about as unpretentious as it gets. Just whatever you do, don’t call it a “Minneapolis-themed” bar.
“I can’t stand hearing that,” Frank said. “I don’t know what that means.”
Lucky for them, nobody’s going to mistake Goldie’s, which the pair opened last weekend on Nassau Avenue, for a Minneapolis-themed bar. “Yeah, totally different vibe here,” Frank confirmed.
Eric, Frank and their partners Arthur Gandy and Michael Petersen (also from Minneapolis) were looking for something a bit more exciting, maybe even escapist when they imagined their new bar with an old soul, rendered in rich reds and glittery golds. “Like an old casino, like an old Las Vegas casino carpet,” Eric said wistfully. “I’ve always been kind of obsessed with old casinos.”
Thankfully, there’s no actual casino carpeting at Goldie’s (the butt smell! the horror!)– only a black-and-white tiled floor that’s just about the only thing left over from the previous tenant, Cafe Edna.
Seating consists of stationary bar stools and red leather booths which are flanked by golden, glittery tabletops. Some very-’70s light strips along the walls lend a gilded sort of glow to the place. There’s a scarlet-red pool table and a backyard on its way (“phase two,” Frank explained) as well as a porcelain cheetah donning a gold necklace who watches over the entranceway. Best of all, there’s an extensive collection of velvet paintings, most of them sourced from Tijuana and a few specially commissioned. Each table gets its very own–a portrait of Sammy Davis Jr., more big cats, and a young John Wayne.
The visual centerpiece, however, is a true horseshoe bar, outlined overhead with a ribbon of backlit golden tassels. That’s where patrons can grip a $3 High Life, or choose from close to a dozen other draft selections. The beer-and-a-shot deals actually are deals– as in, $6 for a High Life and well whiskey.
If “classy” is your middle name, try any one of the $12 house cocktails, all variations on classics or exact replicas of old faithfuls. The Odness– named for Eric, duh– is an ode to the Negroni with gin, Cynar, and sweet vermouth. If the promise of frozen drinks are the only thing that keep you schlepping to the office when the sun’s ablaze and the kiddie pools are teeming with life/disease, then get at the frozen Marg. Or get real slippy and dip into the house special known as the Frozen Motrin (Navy Rum, pineapple, coconut cream, and OJ). There’s wine for the lames at your table, and although there’s no fully-fledged food to speak of, there’s at least a snack. “Hot nuts, actually,” Eric explained. A bowl full of these gut-saving solids goes for five bones.
Though Goldie’s is first and foremost a “neighborhood bar,” based on the flamboyant surroundings (the drag queen to Lake Street’s football fanboy) Eric and Frank might bring a bit of their own glittery showmanship to the bar. You see, as Eric explained, “Frank’s an old Minneapolis legend.”
Frank chuckled. “I wish,” he said. “I played in a couple of Am Rep bands, but that’s another era probably. It’s loud, punk, post-punk kind of stuff.”
For the untrained ear, that’s Amphetamine Reptile, the Minneapolis record label started by Tom Hazelmyer. Frank’s bygone bands Freedom Fighters and Capital Capital, active in the late ’90s, were on the roster, along with Hazelmyer’s band Halo of Flies, the Melvins, and Helmet, among others. Lest we forget, in the late ’80s and ’90s, the Minneapolis underground music scene birthed some of the era’s best noise rock and a new breed of hardcore (see: Hüsker Dü and the Replacements). But no one from the Am Rep roster would’ve passed for some glammy Vegas band.
But it’s possible that Goldie’s is truer to Odness’s music credentials. “Eric was in The Wanted, of course,” Frank smiled. “We can’t leave that out.”
The Wanted? I wanted to know. Frank was more than willing to fill me in. “They’re a boy band, a One Direction-type thing– didn’t they have a number one hit?”
Well, Eric wasn’t exactly in the boy band, but, from around 2011 to 2014, he played bass for The Wanted’s touring band. He was also part of a post-hardcore act called Primitive Weapons, but he seems to remember the boy band very fondly. “They were pretty fuckin’ good too,” he said.
And Eric definitely revealed himself to be the more pop-oriented type during my visit to Goldie’s last week, when he declared his love for Bruno Mars and was not even a bit ashamed to sing right along with “Locked Out of Heaven,” as it blasted over the speakers.
Fortunately/unfortunately, the only connection between Bruno Mars and Goldie’s seems to be that way back in 2010 the pop singer was arrested at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine. But truthfully, the Vegas theme at Goldie’s is more fantasy than reality. For one, the owners vehemently denied that there’s going to be any sort of underground gambling operation.
“Nope, we’ll do secret gambling at someone else’s bar,” Frank said.
Disappointing to say the least, but not everything about Goldie’s is just for looks. “There will be some rock n’ roll for sure,” he said. “That’s who we are. It’s in our blood, so there’s no getting rid of that.”
Goldie’s is located at 195 Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint.