Friday, September 02, 2005

A Scary Walk Down Court Street

Decided to spend another day close to home and let me tell you, a walk up Court Street can be downright scary. Imagine, if you are a little kid, coming across this, almost as big as you, pig.

Spooky if you ask me. But being a brave Bar Man I passed on by and made my appointed rounds.

771) P.J. Hanley’s

Located at 449 Court St. on the corner of Luquer Street is one of the older, if not the oldest, bar in Brooklyn. It was established in 1871 and some of the interior fixtures do indeed look as though they date back to that era. Interestingly enough, when I arrived there was a conversation going on amongst of few of the neighborhod old-timers about what a cesspool the Gowanas Canal is. They all seemed to think it was worse in the old days though when people used to dump horse carcasses and, on occasion, human ones as well in there and the rats were downright dangerous I wonder if these guys know Louie from Sam’s. Probably.

There is a nice old wooden bar in here with an ivory colored marble arm rest and matching marble columns in front along with ornately carved wood. There is also the much beloved brass rail. A beer station with eight spigots serves up a somewhat ho hum selection of beers. There is a very ornately carved wooden bar back with more marble columns, two at each end with an oval mirror between them. There is a large rectangular mirror in the center. Tiered shelves with bottles and glasses are behind the bar. There is a large statue of an elegantly dressed woman golfer taking a swing and a smaller statue of the Virgin Mary at one end of the bar.

American flags, Yankee and Mets pennants are tucked around the edges of the mirrors behind the bar. A couple of unlit lamps with orange Rhinegold shades flank the mirror. The lights over the bar back have small stained glass shades. The ones over the bar are dome shaped white glass in metal fixtures that look like they are being supported by metal webs. A partition topped with ornately designed frosted glass separates the bar from tables along the wall opposite the bar. Very interesting light fixtures hang over those tables, mottled dome shaped glass shades each flanked by five smaller upturned lamps with dark cone-shaped shades.

The ceiling is copper-colored tin with hammered designs. The floor is patterned mosaic tile. Ceiling fans push the cool air around and it is quite pleasant in here, especially because I get to listen to the old-timers talking and can watch women’s pool on one of the three televisions. There is a large and very nice outside area with tables and chairs on the Luquer Street side.

I had a Brooklyn Lager.

772) Mama Maria’s

Closer to home at 307 Court Street is this surprisingly nice narrow Italian restaurant and bar. Just a small L shaped bar up front with a well polished dark wood top and sides. The six bar chairs are dark wood as well and have nice floral patterned cloth seats in shades of tan. The kind of fabric you might find on an old sofa. A bright round beer station with four spigots sits on the bar. The bar back was also L shaped so it defined a small space for a bartender. The long side was dark wood with mirrors with glass shelves for bottles. They sat above a wooden topped set of shelves that held more bottles and glasses. The short side had a mirror with glass shelves in front of it above a cooler. The glass shelves held more glasses including a row of assorted martini glasses all of which had crooked stems sitting on the uppermost shelf.

The floor was nicely tiled in shades of pink and the tables had pink marble-like tops. Floor to ceiling windows opened onto Court Street, and open they were. It was a hot day and the overhead fans didn’t do a whole lot to cool the place down. A couple of tables spilled out a bit onto the sidewalk and sat under red umbrellas. The floor opposite the bar and all the way back is brick and a couple of gold framed mirrors, pictures of flowers, and a number of decorative plates hang on it. There is a nice dining area in the back with a fireplace against the back wall and a large mirror hangs above its mantle.

There were somewhat out of place looking frozen drink and juice machines opposite the bar.

I discovered that this restaurant is attached to the pizza place next door and they advertised the drinks.

I wandered over there and it just looked like they didn’t have any room for the machines so that is why they were parked next door. I had a slice of pizza while I was there and if you like thin crispy crusts this is the place to go. If you don't want a soft drink from next door you can get a beer in here instead.

Before going next door though I sat and had a Tanqueray and tonic while watching what looked to be a cross between Judge Judy and Jerry Springer in Spanish on the television.

A bit of a lazy day with two bars hit moving me up to 772 for the year and leaving 228 to go.

I will be taking a few days off over labor day. Going to my sister-in-law's house in New Jersey and doing the smoking and grilling for the family's Labor Day party. I got a 12 pound beef brisket that I smeared with mustard and then applied my homemade rub. I will let that be absorbed for about 12 hours and then smoke the whole thing for about 16 hours. It should be yummy. Of course that gives me 16 hours to drink beer while I keep an eye on my work in progress.


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