Greenpoint’s past and present collided last week as Enid’s shuttered after 20 years of early brunches and late-night parties. After the beloved bar and restaurant announced its closure two months ago, owner Ashley James told Bedford+Bowery that it had served its purpose and “now it’s time to move on.” We spent time at Enid’s during the long reunion that was its final week and met countless regulars and staff who drowned themselves in tears, sweat and scores of Harrison cocktails.
Enid’s second-to-last weekend was a good chance to see the place as it was before the emotional days to come. Locals at every end of the millennial range crowded its tables and talked loud enough to compete with the speaker system. Servers cleared plates as diners finished meals of chopped kale and steak alongside burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. When the lights dimmed, Enid’s turned into a nightclub that quickly filled with cool kids.
On Monday, longtime bartender Andrew held his final Goth Night, which he’s hosted for over a decade. Friend after friend came to the bar to say hi as regulars clad in black danced in the smoke-machined room to records spun by DJ Catsonic. In the midst of the mist, I spoke with partier Marian Schelly, who brought her friends for the occasion. “Enid’s was the one place you could go on a Saturday night that always felt like the perfect house party,” she said. “It’s been unchanged by time.”
The last week at Enid’s climaxed on Saturday as DJ KDS, aka Kat Daddy Slim, and Jdirrt hosted their Ballers Eve party on a dance floor that was packed to capacity till 4am. While attendees grinded all over each other to dirty south hits, we talked to KDS atop the DJ perch overlooking the madness. “Enid’s was one of the few places that let us play southern hip-hop when no clubs in New York would have it,” he informed us. “Now that music is everywhere, but it wasn’t that way 10 years ago.”
Behind the music was a wild kitchen-turned-lounge where a roster of Enid’s all-stars were hugging it out. Former employee Chloe Harrison, who flew in from New Orleans to say goodbye, could barely contain her tears as she described the place’s influence on her life. “I literally don’t know who I would be without Enid’s. Part of my identity is in this place and it will always be important to me.”
As Harrison mourned, she put her head on the shoulder of server Autumn Costner, whose energy has made Enid’s that much happier of a restaurant. “My favorite part about Enid’s is everyone I’ve met,” she told me. “It’s a family that I’ll miss.” Costner gave me a commemorative Enid’s token that imitated the ones hanging off the restaurant’s unofficial logo, its camel installation. When I asked about the camel’s origin, Costner said that “former co-owner Kai [Anderson’s] mom took it from a Camel cigarette billboard back home in Kansas City. A duplicate of it hung in a former LGTB bar there named Arabian Nights, but this original will soon be reunited with Kai’s mom.”
Just a few hours later, after the huge piles of empty beer cans were cleared by barback Nathan Kirk, Enid’s reopened Sunday morning for its final brunch. Whole families sat amongst hungover youth in a scene that put the past 20 years of north Brooklyn’s “hipsterdom” into context. Local electrician Rob G., who was there with his wife and daughter, was nostalgic about his last meal at Enid’s because he had installed its wiring when it opened in 1999. Pointing across the street to Bar Matchless, which has sat vacant since closing last year, he told me, “I remember when this used to be the warehouse for the auto parts store where Matchless was.”
When Rob got up to leave, his table was cleared and his daughter’s high chair was returned to a pile near the rear bathrooms. During our last week at Enid’s, we heard more than a few jokes about oats being sewn back there and how the results of those nights made these high chairs a resulting necessity. We also found ourselves dodging this new generation as they ran around the room, climbed the furniture and enjoyed their innocence, just like their parents did.