Over the weekend, Hank’s Saloon welcomed live music to its new location upstairs from Hill Country BBQ’s Food Park in Downtown Brooklyn. The spacious new venue at 345 Adams St., which soft-opened last Monday, brought out a full house of regulars on Saturday for performances from Hank’s mainstays The Cameramen and The New York Fowl Harmonic.
Owner Julie Ipcar described the venue as a baby between the original Hank’s, which closed over the New Year, and its former sister bar, Last Exit, which shuttered in 2014 after 16 years in Carroll Gardens. The decor has elements of both: up-cycled wooden rails from the old Hank’s and an entire restroom door from Last Exit mounted above the booths lining one wall. Ipcar is looking forward to welcoming new cliental from the offices in nearby Metrotech Center in addition to her nightly regulars. “We’re gonna open early for the jury selection crowd,” she told me. “We even have a drink called the Jury Fury.”
For concerts, Hank’s booker Lee Grenfeld, of Dead Flowers Productions, told me that compared to the previous capacity of 100, he can now host roughly 150 to 170, with elbow room to spare. “We can also set up chairs for more intimate shows,” Grenfeld added. “This is great for our Miles Davis tribute coming up [March 14], led by Jeremy Mushlin who was in ska band The Slackers. It’ll be just Davis’s work from the ’40s and ’50s, and with shows like this we’ll start to diversify the music here.” Mushlin’s tribute band, the Birth of Cool Sextet, will include fellow Slackers alum Luis Zuluaga.
After their soundcheck, I hung out with The New York Fowl Harmonic and spoke to lead guitarist Brer Brian. I met him years ago as a fan of the seminal Bushwick band, The New York Howl, that he co-founded with Fowl bandmate Stefan Zeniuk. Gracious to her performers, owner Ipcar brought over brisket, mac n’cheese and pizza from the Food Park. While the brisket melted in my mouth, Brian told me, “We’re really excited right now. We played the old Hank’s all the time and we’re happy to be here for the reopening.”
The Cameramen had the honor of breaking in the new Hank’s stage with their surf rock. Before the song “First Timer,” singer Chris Dyas told his audience, “It’s great to start things off here. We spent a lot of time at the old Hank’s and we’re happy to get this one started.”
The show ended just before midnight and the bar stayed open till 2am. The inaugural hours at Hank’s Saloon will be Sun-Wed, 4pm-12am and Thu-Sat 4pm-2am, but things could go later with the help of upcoming late-night food service and moderate prices starting at $3 for a can of PBR or Schaefer.