“The thing is we just can’t afford to stay there,” Nelson said. “That’s it.”
Boobie Trap still holds the record for most synthetic breasts in a bar, but last night Birdy’s and Happyfun Hideaway hosted the real deal. Boobs of Bushwick, the group known for going topless around the neighborhood and uploading shots to Tumblr, bounced into Birdy’s for some foosball at around 11 p.m., followed by Jenga at Happyfun Hideaway.
Erik Zajaceskowski and Rachel Nelson, the husband and wife behind art/music space Secret Project Robot and hoppin’ Bushwick bar Happyfun Hideaway, are putting the finishing touches on their latest project, a tavern, cafe, and gallery on Dekalb Avenue, in that blurry area between Bushwick and Bed-Stuy. With the grand opening of Flowers For All Occasions set for Thursday evening, the smell of fresh wood still lingers in the air and there’s a bare back room of sorts where a “zine vending machine and cabinet of curiosities” will eventually stand.
As I’m checking things out, Erik comes in, gleefully brandishing a small sparkly object.
“Look!” he says with a grin. “Pink pepper spray!”
“These are the things you get excited about after five months of construction,” Rachel says.
The concept is kind of irresistible: a free dinner followed by a slideshow of local artwork. The Slideluck Potshow [the former Slideluck Potshow has rebranded as just Slideluck] began in photographer Casey Kelbaugh’s backyard in Seattle in 2000, expanded to Amsterdam, Nairobi, Bogota and beyond, and it’s coming to Bushwick this Thursday. This year, it’ll feature the work of 25 Bushwick and East Williamsburg-based artists (their names are below), one of which will be selected for a solo show at the Living Gallery in October. Bring a homemade potluck dish and you’ll get two raffle tickets for goodies from local businesses.
The secret seems to be out about Secret Project Robot’s new sister establishment. “Yesterday, I made a batch of vegan pulled pork and it sold out in about three hours,” Rachel Nelson told Bedford + Bowery.
Happyfun Hideaway’s early success after just a few weeks in business seems to have come from a combination of word-of-mouth and a straight-up irresistible atmosphere (just look at our slideshow). The bar offers mixed drinks and reasonably priced beers, plus what the owners describe as a “slightly healthier version of Americana bar food” (so far, offerings have included jackfruit with barbecue sauce, mac and cheese, Frito pie and cheeseburgers).