Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Williamsburg Redux

I figured I would head back to Williamsburg again because I keep hearing about new places. I am still going to go back later in the day pretty soon because I saw two places that were just opening up as I was leaving today and I know of even more that don’t open until later.

642) Jr. & Son

The first open bar that I got to while wandering up Metropolitan Avenue was this bar that looks like it might have been open forever. Its address is 575 Metropolitan Avenue and is a small place. There were three elderly gentlemen intently watching horseracing on the OTB channel and loudly encouraging their horses while disparaging all the others in the field. That and discussing the regulars who used to show up but don’t anymore provided most of the entertainment. There is a long wood bar with a tile footrest and black bar chairs. Mirrors behind the bar with black silhouettes of champagne bottles, top hats, and martini glasses and dangling white Christmas lights gave this bit of a dive bar somewhat of a festive look. There was also a very large illuminated plastic Budweiser bottle at each end of the bar. Pictures of regulars on the wall opposite the bar and pictures of what looked to be neighborhood boxers on a side wall. Also several pictures of Frank Sinatra and various movie gangsters such as Bogart, Cagney, Raft, and Robinson. Overhead fans with white globe lights hung from the ceiling.

I has a small bottle of Budweiser and headed down the street.

643) Los Prinos

A few bars that I was looking for on Metroplitan Avenue were still not open so I took a bit of a detour to Grand Street. There, at 704 Grand Street was a narrow Spanish restaurant on a wide commercial street. It was so colorful it would have been hard to miss. A small eight-chair L shaped bar with foreign currencies and a single one dollar bill were varnished onto the top. A surprisingly large menu, and not a real cheap place either. They had six octopus dishes plus one octopus appetizer. Bar Man loves octopus and eats it quite often when in Mexico. They also had a small lobster tank that held a couple of good-sized lobsters.

There were just a plain set of shelves behind the bar with a small selection of liquor. A carved wood statue of an old man sits on the bar and a small wooden carrying case for some kind of birds. It was too small for a fighting cock, I think, but maybe it was just a model. Or maybe they just stuff the cock in there.

The décor in here is really interesting. Kind of 3D papier-mâché walls that convey the sense of being in a jungle up front and more like being in a small village in the mountains in the back. There is another room further back that has a large round table suitable for a family get-together or a gathering of friends. The ceiling is divided into three-foot square panels separated by wood frames. Each panel has a colorful, somewhat primitive style painting with subject matter ranging from conga drums to fighting cocks to a horse drawn carriage. Above the bar was an overhang that had carved leaves underneath but gave the bar area the look that it was inside a little cabin.

Mostly Spanish and Mexican artists on the jukebox. It was a very interesting and pleasant place. I couldn’t really engage in a conversation because nobody in there seemed to speak much English. That was why I couldn’t really find out what that little carrying case was for. This is another place that I would like to return to and try the food.

I had a bottle of Corona served in a little wine glass.

644) Blue Lady Lounge

At 769 Metropolitan Avenue is this bar that kind of looks like it is closed even when it is open. The lower half of the windows are covered with red curtains as is the door. There is a large light wood topped bar with a dark red front to it. The bar encloses the serving area. The shelves behind the bar look kind of like they are homemade. They have a decent selection of liquor though. There is also a toaster oven, an espresso machine, and a microwave back there. A sign said that you could get a free pizza or a hotdog with your drink. Nobody else seemed to be having one though so I too decided to pass.

Multi-colored Christmas lights are strong somewhat haphazardly from the silver-gray ceiling and there are also a lot of ceiling fans with lights. A decent jukebox and a plain wooden floor. Nothing pretentious about the place, just a good hanging out joint. Good prices, $2 shots and $1.50 cans of Pabst should keep those on a budget happy. There are a few PCs up front but you could hardly call this an internet café.

I had a Tanqueray and tonic.

645) The Pour House

There is a nice old wooden bar but nothing fancy. They also offered free hotdogs with your drinks if you want them. There is a pool table in the black that has a blue felt top and a Sopranos pinball machine in the corner. They also have a table version of a Ms. Pac-Man machine. There were a couple of neat little lamps behind the bar that reminded me of miniature versions of the one the Old Man won in the movie A Christmas Story.

Kelly Rae, The Bartender, And The Little Lamps

Red plastic star lights hung over the bar. Kind of mustard colored walls with wood paneling going about half-way up. Overhead fans with somewhat scary lights underneath hang from the slate blue ceiling. There is a lounge in the back that looks like the basement of a fraternity house, or like my place would look if it wasn’t for the Mysterious Chinese Woman. There was a nice eclectic mix on the jukebox ranging from Bobby Darin to The Pretenders. There are pictures of what I take to be regulars on the wall but they are done in an artistic, almost surrealistic style. A couple of bizarre looking sculptures in the front window give you pause when first entering but all in all it is just a friendly neighborhood place that draws somewhat of an arty crowd.

646) The Subway

This was one of the places that I specifically wanted to visit today and now it was open. It is on 527 Metropolitan Avenue and you can’t get more convenient to public transportation. Several people recommended this place to me and I am glad they did, although I would probably have found it anyway. It would be hard to miss because this is the subway stop I usually use. This place actually does manage to look a bit like a subway station with dark green plastered walls. The wood bar has a chipped varnish finish and there are chrome bar chairs with black vinyl seats and backs. As you might imagine the walls are plastered with subway signs. The wall opposite the bar has a painting of two subways, mysteriously above ground, snaking out of the city.

Glass shelves in front of mirrors behind the bar hold the liquor selection. They have six draft beers but this looks to be more of a Budweiser and shot kind of place. There is paneling going about a third of the way up the walls and underneath the picture of the subways is a ledge to set down your drinks. Overhead fans keep the air moving but they seemed to have a bit of a problem with their air-conditioner. It was being looked into though.

If you head to the bathrooms and just keep going through the narrow passageway you enter another narrow room with red brick walls and a large subway map on the window. There are some booths, a couple of couches, and a pool table with nice looking red lights hanging over it.

This place is definitely convenient to public transportation. The bartender said they draw a neighborhood crowd and lot’s of friendly people. She was friendly enough and even let me get behind the bar to get a better picture of the subways on the wall.

Crystal, The Accomodating Bartender

I had a draft Brooklyn Pilsner.

647) El Moderno

It was a bit too warm in The Subway and I felt like cooling down a little before hoping on the subway so I stopped next door to this Mexican restaurant with a bar. It was a halfway good idea. It was cool in there but the salsa that I got with my chips was hot enough to cause me to break a sweat. I ate it all up though. Maybe I should have had a hotdog earlier. There is a light wood bar with a footrest of the appropriate height and width. People sometimes ask me why I feel compelled to talk about brass rails and footrests. Believe me, if you spend as much time in bars as I do they can be very important. They had wooden bar chairs with interestingly patterned fabric seats that feature, for some reason, fruits, fruit syrups, jams, and marmalades. Nothing special behind the bar but they did have one whole shelf of tequilas, at least 20 different kinds. Not too shabby for just a corner Mexican restaurant.

The walls were white and there were aqua, pale green, and white drapes that closed off another area with a few tables but a fair amount of floor space. Windows look out on the busy Metropolitan Avenue and a pocket park across the street. They had a pretty standard Mexican restaurant menu but this was a good place to end the day and it was also right next to the subway.

I had a margarita, straight up with salt, and it was very good. Much better than the syrupy things you get in a lot of much more upscale bars.

A good day today, hitting six bars making 647 for the year and leaving 353 to go.


Bruce Carl said...

My favorite is octopus as well cant belive you past up the appetiser. Suppose you were worried about spending to much time there, and loosing your focus, GOOD JOB

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Riz said...

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Riz said...

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TheDevilIsInTheDetails said...

It's beginning to look like Christmas (Ok, So we're barely over Halloween)! But it's time to be begging to think a lot like christmas holiday movie , : - )

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