A friend and I recently took another Brooklyn neighborhood bar crawl, this one in Kensington. As with our Sunset Park bar crawl (see 11/03/03 post), we drank in some great places and encountered a lot of friendly people. Here are the results:
THE CORNERSTONE (Corner of Cortelyou and Marlborough Roads) This new bar has already gotten some attention on Chowhound. It is owned and operated by a guy affiliated with Sparky's, in Carroll Gardens. Drinks here were the most expensive of the night (an easy thing to accomplish), around $4 per bottle. The interior of the place was in progress, but it looked real sharp. The bartender said that there would soon be a kitchen and a wider selection of beers. The crowd, mostly hipsters, was pretty tame, which was a relaxing way to begin the night.
773 LOUNGE (773 Coney Island Avenue)
I'd been here once before and was happy to see that 773 Lounge was still brimming with personality the second time around. Everyone was friendly and took kindly to our unfamiliar faces. Beers here were much cheaper, only $2.25 per bottle. And, God bless 'em, they had little bowls of goldfish crackers on the bar. In the rear of the place were several roomy booths, perfect for cuddling with that special someone (ain't nothing like a cold Bud and a band of sloppy drunks to romance the object of your affection!). Seeing the eighty-year old man dance to "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" gave me a whole new outlook on aging.
CORTELYOU LOUNGE (752 Coney Island Avenue)
This place was nearly empty when we walked in, just the bartender (sporting sunglasses and a leopard-print shirt) and a Rosanne Barr look-a-like wearing black spandex. Beers cost a mere $2.50 per bottle. The bartender impressed me when she returned my change with a $5 bill (none of that "do you want change?" that's so common in Manhattan and gentrified Brooklyn). As we shot a few games of pool the place slowly filled up. The jukebox was a nice mix of classic rock, country, soul, and dancehall. Many of the patrons came here solely to use the video gambling machines lining the wall opposite the bar.
SHENANIGAN'S (802 Caton Avenue, near East 8th Street)
Tucked away on a dark, quiet block, this place was about as large as a two-car garage. As we entered we were assailed by the sounds of two women croaking a tune on a karaoke machine. Everyone was puffing away on cigarettes (no smoking ban here). At first the place seemed insular, and when we were charged $10 for two bottles of Coors Light we figured we'd be leaving soon. We turned out to be wrong, because things quickly took a turn for the better. We mustered the courage to sing "Y.M.C.A.", for which several women lined up and did the letter dance that goes along with that fine, fine song. After that the cost of a beer suddenly dropped by $2 (maybe there was a house reward for embarrassing oneself). The crowd was friendly and fun and presented an interesting reflection of the neighborhood, from old-timers who had grown up there to hipsters urginging everyone to vote in the next presidential election. The beer started to flow smooth and fast and before long my friend and I were falling-down drunk. After making jackasses of ourselves by singing the Bay City Rollers' "Saturday Night", we decided that it was time to head for the next bar.
DENNY'S STEAK PUB (corner of Church and McDonald Avenues) No steak here, just a bunch of loud drunks throwing darts (as opposed to loud drunks singing karaoke). Once again, the cost of a beer was $2.50 per bottle (it must a neighborhood law). Not much else to report. At least it was near the train.
Throughout the night we sampled pizza slices from two pizzerias (one on Cortelyou, the other on CIA) and bagels from a 24-hour deli on Church Avenue. Nothing special, but when you're drunk on cheap beer any food is welcome.
On the subway ride home we engaged in classic juvenile drunken behavior, hanging upside down from the handrails by our knees. It was like being back in high school. Thankfully, there were very few people on the trains at 3AM, so I doubt that my boss saw me.
I'd like to plan our next crawl sooner than later. Do any of the barhounds out there have any suggestions on a neighborhood?