Sunday, April 27, 2008


Last Friday I decided to check out the buses (fans of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters will notice the reference in this blog's title) in my neighborhood. I am beginning to realize that these are an under utilized mode of transportation. The subways are crowded and you can't see where you are going, but they are fairly fast. The buses offer a more leisurely mode of travel and you can sight-see as well.

Just a short walk from my place is, I discovered, a stop on the longest bus route in New York. One end is in Red Hook, just a short walk from Rocky Sullivan's bar and the Six Points Brewery. The other end is in Long Island City. As you will see, I haven't gotten to that end yet. But soon, very soon.

The Bus, The Bus

Trust me, if the weather is decent waiting for a bus is much pleasanter than waiting for a subway. And Friday was a lovely spring day, just perfect for an excursion.

I have already taken this bus, the 61, to Red Hook so today it was off in the other direction. The objective was to take it to Long Island City, see what was interesting there or on the way, and then either stay or stop someplace on the way back. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that rot.

Shortly before noon and after about twenty minutes on the bus it passed through Williamsburg. My traveling companion, the Mysterious Chinese Woman, decided she was feeling a bit peckish and wanted to stop for lunch. I, of course, am always ready for a beer so there was no argument from me.

A Beer Break

The bus stopped but a block from Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern. This was bar number 634 back in the day of my 1000 bar trek and it hadn't changed too much. It wasn't as heavily decorated, but my last visit was shortly after the Fourth of July. It wasn't as crowded either, in fact at about 11:45 A.M. it was empty. Not even a bartender. Well, there was a bartender, it was the guy outside smoking a cigarette. He did come in and ask us if we wanted anything. I said he could finish his smoke because we weren't in any hurry. He came in anyway and I had a draft Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Beer Brunch

I got to watch Chuck Norris beat up someone on television to end another exciting episode of Walker, Texas Ranger and then it was time for a real lunch.

Just down the block was an interesting looking Pan-Asian restaurant that had a bit of a lunch crowd, so that was where we headed.

Red Bowl

They had a nice little menu and very reasonable prices. I could see why it was popular. The service was fast and friendly and you could look out the open front and watch the world pass by.

I decided to have a sake with my lunch and that turned out to be a tactical error. I assumed that I would just get a small glass but that proved not to be the case at all. Instead I was served a fairly good portion in a neat little carafe with a pocket for ice to keep the sake chilled.

A Serving Of Sake

The price was right, just $9 for the carafe, but the portion was a bit more than I anticipated. Nonetheless, I wasn't about to let any go to waste so I manfully finished it off as the Mysterious Chinese Woman looked on approvingly, or not.

Not Really Approving

Well, Bar Man's resolve faded like cheap madras shorts washed in hot water. It just didn't seem like such a good idea to get back on the bus so we decided to just wander around a bit and see what we could see where we were. It turned out to be a pretty good idea because not too far away we found a neat little surfer themed bar named, appropriately enough:

Surf Bar

It was pretty hard to miss considering the size of the sign painted on the wall. The appropriate surf themed signage (why does my spell checker not recognize that word?) hung outside the door.

Surfer Signage

Another digression. If I add "signage" to my spell checker dictionary it still flags it when the word is capitalized. Ain't that strange?

They had a limited selection of beers on draft but a larger selection of beers in bottles. I opted for a Blue Point Toasted Lager though because I like it and you don't see it everywhere. It also helps support the local economy because it is brewed on Long Island.

Toasted Lager, But Not Getting Toasted

The interior of the bar was a complete clutter of surfer themed stuff, just junk, and a nice collection of surfer pictures that looked like they were outtakes from a Gidget movie. I liked it.

Gidget Goes Surfin'

I really didn't check out the menu, but they had a row of tables with red and white checkered tablecloths lined up against the wall opposite the bar.

The Dining Area

They have a neat outdoor area where a few people were having lunch. It had a set-up for live music so I bet this place is jumping on warm summer evenings.

Outdoor Patio

The only thing lacking was an actual view of the water. On the other hand I could watch the construction project across the street.

A Wave Pool Would Be Nice

Well, it isn't going to be a wave pool. The bartender said he thought it was gong to be a six story apartment building or something. In Williamsburg six stories is a big deal. The building boom in Williamsburg hasn't abated too much, there are buildings going up all over. I can see why people like to live here though. Lot's of restaurants and bars, still reasonable prices, and just one subway stop from Manhattan on the L train.

Surf Bar on Urbanspoon

We were going to take the bus home at this point but the Mysterious Chinese Woman decided she wanted a delayed dessert. I was hoping for an espresso and perhaps a Strega. We walked past Acqua Santa and decided to stop in.

Acqua Santa

The front door was locked and it looked empty inside but when we walked around the corner we saw that it had a nice little garden area that was open to the warm spring day.

The Garden Entrance

The Mysterious Chinese Woman got what she wanted, a nice piece of chocolate cake served with a delicious raspberry sherbet and sliced strawberrys.

Umm, Yummy

They only served beer and wine here so I settled for an espresso and a glass of their house red. Not a bad fall back, and it was a nice way to end our afternoon in Williamsburg.

Alls Well That Ends Well

Acqua Santa on Urbanspoon

Now that I know how easy it is to get to this neighborhood by bus I will be returning more often. By subway, from where I live, you have to take the G subway and that is notorious for being unreliable. The alternative would be to take the subway to 14th street in Manhattan and then transfer to the L train. Also not convenient and would take much longer. The bus is just perfect.

The Bus Back

All in all it was a fun afternoon even though it took that unexpected turn. Next time my resolve will be better, or we leave earlier and have lunch somewhere in Long Island City or on the way back. After checking the bus map I saw that Long Island City wasn't that much further.


Davewillie said...

Landshark Lager is a decent pale ale made by Jimmy Buffett's company. Not too strong with no after-taste.

Michaela said...

I love it when a plan goes awry!
Nice afternoon - I'm quite jealous.

Anonymous said...