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Archive for the ‘Milkshake’ Category

Nostalgia is fully represented in popular culture. Images & products of vintage television, video game and brands are found everywhere, offering a sense of happy recollection with a slight sense of irony.

Barcade is a staple of Williamsburg, letting you wade knee deep in the nostalgia by offering a host of antique arcade games. You can relive playing Ms. Pacman & Galaga with a joystick that for some reason won’t move left, just like back in the day! All the while they offer a wide selection of drinks.

In this same spirit, the owners are opening a new bar this weekend in Greenpoint called The Gutter. They will be offering the same mix of nostalgia, with a new suburban feel, by offering goold ole fashioned, plaid pant wearing bowling.

I know personally I’ve traversed the length of Brooklyn in order to find bowling, and finally to have one so close is like mana from heaven.

So you should definitely relive the joy of communal shoes & tacky bowling shirts while receiving of what I expect to be (similar to Barcade) a wide selection of draft beers. After intense research by the Brooklyn Skeptic staff, I’m sure you will get an in-depth review later.

The Gutter
200 North 14th Street
Monday – Thursday 4pm to 4am
Friday – Sunday 12 noon to 4am

Bowl!

 

Photo by”highwaygirl67″

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Brunch is a big New York weekend thing, as far as I can gather. It doesn’t seem to have hit the rest of the country as hard as it has here. You know, except for like Mother’s Day and Easter. I, personally, have been a devotee of the meal since I discovered “drunk brunch” while living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Now, I’m a little older, a little wiser, and a little less capable of drinking in the morning. Thus, my brunch establishment requirements have shifted from unlimited drinks included in the meal to good food, excellent coffee, and possibly an excellent mimosa.

Park Slope’s Perch Cafe offers just such a brunch. Its small but powerful bird-themed menu (Perch Toast, Bird in a Nest, etc.) delivers a lovely selection of breakfasty things, sandwiches, salads and side dishes. I have not been disappointed with anything I’ve tried. I even got an egg sandwich last time and I liked it even though I hate egg sandwiches. Because Perch is more consistently a coffee shop than anything else, the coffee is what pushes the restaurant past other brunch places in the area. It’s real good. Additionally, the mimosas are quite nice, with a top layer of pulp from fresh squeezed orange juice.

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Perch‘s design fits well with the slew of hip eateries on the 5th Avenue strip. The store is sleek, red-themed and clean. The coffee mugs are big and red and have little white birds on them. There is a beautiful patio in the back with tables topped with fire-colored umbrellas. The last time I was there, though, it was literally teeming with infants so I sat at the bar.

Generally, the service is okay. On several occasions, it was just really bad. I think they are terminally understaffed and get surprised by busy times like Labor Day, when no one was at work and everyone wanted breakfast. Nevertheless, given how pleasant the rest of the experience is, a bit of a leisurely breakfast never killed anyone.

Perch Cafe & Bar
365 5th Avenue between 5th & 6th Streets
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Pros:

  • Great coffee
  • Perch Toast is delicious
  • Egg sandwiches are good even if you don’t like eggs
  • Deeply adorable
  • Nice waitstaff

Cons:

  • Spotty service
  • Technically, there is no stove or kitchen
  • A little pricey, especially the mimosas ($8)

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m_5e33afce8cd0b062fb8ff2273c167a54.jpgWay up yonder on 6th Avenue lies a BBQ joint filled with the finest bourbon, blues and meat-based entertainment this side of the Gowanus. It’s called Bar BQ and if you’re smart, you’ll find your way over there pretty soon.

Bar BQ is a pretty tight space with a full bar, about five tables and a performance space (nook?) in an area about the size of your living room. It offers several “theme nights,” for lack of a better term. Mondays and Tuesdays feature live music and great drink specials. Wednesdays are home to hot sauce enthusiasts, The Brooklyn Fire Eaters. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays have bad-ass happy hours. Price wise – Let me tell you that 97 bucks for 8 people for dinner is a pretty sweet, sweet deal. Free bourbon shots are a sweet deal. $2 Blue Points are too. Throw some live blues in the mix and Bar BQ is a fantastic place to get hammered on any night.

Now, we here at Brooklyn Skeptic are basically a meat-loving bunch. You might be able to tell that from ChezJJP’s meatsweat®-inducing recipes he posts from time to time. But one of us (me) is a vegetarian and as much as I love drinking heavily with few interruptions, I like not being hungry even more. This presents us with some difficulty in writing this review as most people would likely be interested in the quality of the meat offerings and I have nothing to say about that. But I have a lot to say about other things, so this is the compromise: I will review the bounty available to the veggie-munching crowd and our resident meat specialist, ChezJJP, will review that which is available to the Normals.

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The Menu

Bar BQ Review for Meat Lovers

After several Blue Points and about five totally free shots of awesome Kentucky Tavern bourbon, our crew of eight sat down to chow. It became rather obvious after checking out the menu that it was our duty to order the $50 platter called “The Big Seven” (seven meats dewwwd!). I think that it being the tail end of Labor Day weekend, they were out of some items. And that was cool, because the good natured hostess made up for it. The baby back ribs were meaty and moist and had a nice smoky flavor. The pulled pork was also flavorful and especially fitting with the vinegar based sauces they have in squeeze bottles at every table. Aside from that, the brisket was pretty tender (perhaps a bit dry for my taste) and the sausage was great as well. I’ll be honest here and say this is not the all time best slow cooked BBQ I’ve ever had, but I will assume that they were hit pretty hard that long weekend and it must be tough for an out-of-the-way Brooklyn BBQ restaurant to gauge just how much demand theres gonna be. It was delicious nonetheless, and the vinegar sauce must be some sort of weird pheromone generator because I was doin’ some talkin’ to the ladies that night. All in all, highly recommended to the carnivores.

Bar BQ Review for Vegetarians

Both of the occasions I journeyed to the South Slope to go to Bar BQ were on Mondays in order to attend Blue Monday. Now, let me just tell you, Blue Monday is a severe misnomer. Because when I get busy with free bourbon, $2 Blue Points and live blues, I literally couldn’t be happier. Be certain, this place is home to a significantly convivial crowd of Monday night booze chasers. When the music gets going and the bourbon is flowing, you’re yelling across tables, making best friends with greasy Brooklyn types and hollering “hoooooooooweeee” to the tunes.

But then you get hungry. Because this is Brooklyn, or because they’re not cold-hearted snakes, Bar BQ has a reasonable number of vegetarian food options considering that BBQ is traditionally very heavy on flesh. There’s a portobello sandwich, a smoked seasonal vegetable platter (which they were sadly out of last night) and potentially five veggie side dishes to choose from. I haven’t checked out the BBQ beans, but the collard greens (holy shit), mac & cheese, mayonnaise-less potato salad (amazing), and cole slaw (didn’t try it) are all safe.

So what I’m trying to say here is that if you’re like me and all of your friends take pride in their ability to consume entire barnyards of livestock while you whisper sweet nothings to sweet potatoes, then this is a good place to go with them. You probably won’t want to kill yourself. I’m looking your direction, Belleville.

Bar BQ
698 6th Avenue at 20th Street
South Slope, Brooklyn

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Someone I don’t know said once that sex is like wine, and in that line of thought, 7th Avenue in Park Slope is like the ‘Dam’s Red Light District. There are at least four wine shops within a twenty block radius, not even counting 5th Avenue. I suppose the rather comfortable living standard of the area makes for a lucrative steady supply of customers in the mid to high end market. Of course, you’ve still got my people; the $10 wine club -who occasionally spike to $15 if there happens to be a scotch tasting between walking in the store and the picking of the bottle.

Slope Cellars, my current go-to, is located on 7th between 14th and 15th streets. Clearly a labor of love, Slope Cellars is what it is: a welcoming, warm place with a metric sh*# ton of carefully palate-picked booze.

In the front, you will find a really great selection in all price ranges, in particular from the Burgundy/Rhone Valley region in France. But keep walking towards the back of the store and you will find the treasure trove which is the “Cheap & Tasty” section. In these boxes lie some very interesting finds for the wino. Prices span from $6.99 to $9.99 and believe me, it’s all game. Funnily, I learned from one of the owners that the Smith & Vine people are friends of theirs and adopted the 10$ and under section, which I think we can all agree is a top idea.

Of course, like any wine shop there are some duds here and there, like one particular bottle of Cahors red we tried, but you know what, nothing is fun without the occasional letdown. Wine is not an exact science, and neither is pleasure. Most of the whites in the cheap and tasty are stocked in the adjacent fridge but occasionally you may have to put in an ice bucket when you get home if drinking soon. American wines are also in the back, and again there are some very sweet looking picks.

Did I mention they have a club card that gets you a 13th bottle for 1$? I’m on my second card. So take a walk there, bring your English Bulldog and have a chat with the staff. They are super nice and will fix you right up.

Slope Cellars

Slope Cellars
436 7th Avenue (14th and 15th Streets)
(718)369-7307
www.slopecellars.com

Monday-Thursday: 11am – 10pm,
Friday, Saturday 11am – 11pm,
Sunday 12pm – 9pm

Pros:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable staff
  • Carefully handpicked selection, also lots of liquor
  • Cheap and Tasty section is large and changes frequently
  • Great opening hours
  • They have a “buy 12 get one for a buck” card!!
  • Frequent tastings
  • Great website

Cons:

  • No in-store wine chiller
  • You might find it a bit out of the way if you don’t live in South/Central Slope

You Can’t Go Wrong With: Jean Perrier et Fils. Apremont -Vin de Savoie , 2005, $12.99 (white, Savoie wine made from the Jacquère grape). You can tell I’ve been really into the light, crisp and tasty whites perfect for the summer heat, and this is one that will do that and the ol’ winter raclette night. I know it’s outside the acclaimed Cheap & Tasty section, but having spent some time in this region of France, I truly recommend it.

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I had heard about Bar 4 once or twice from a musician friend of mine who said the jazz scene was good there. Park Slope is a little jazz enclave and Bar 4 is one of its many hotbeds of creative production. Needless to say, I did not check it out until about a year later. I’m not actually cool enough for such scenes.

_mg_4744.jpgBut last Friday, a quick jaunt through South Slope/Windsor Terrace brought me and my friend to Bar 4’s door. Inside, it is small and dimly lit. It’s not dingy at all, but cozy and immaculate. Dustless bottles behind the bar were placed against the mirrored wall which emitted a flawless glow. Comfy couches filled the floor space and the walls were covered in local artists’ work. The centerpiece, of course, were the paintings of great musicians that plastered the wall behind the stage.

Upon a tip I received, I asked the bartender about the martinis. She slid a booklet my way. Inside was a selection of special martinis which are, apparently, the drinks of choice in this bar. I went for the Espresso Martini ($8). A little part of me died that night, knowing that if I followed my heart and drank nothing but Espresso Martinis all day long, I would probably get fired. So I left after my martini and I thought of its warm aroma and rousing taste for several days. Then I went back and got another on Sunday. Sweet Jesus and Mary.

My second visit was somewhat tainted by the deaf trombone duo that was gracing the stage that night, but I had the incredible luck of seeing a great Park Slope musician – Zach Williams – on my first visit. He was also joined briefly by Joely Pittman who sang backup on what is now my favorite song ever, Dirty Feet. Zach actually has a show coming up tomorrow, August 8th at 8:00pm at Bar Matchless, if you’re so inclined.

1003129803_l.jpgZach also mentioned that Bar 4’s Tuesday night open mic is one of the best in the city. This was independently confirmed by Plainclothesman, who was there at 2:00 AM and said the place was still totally packed. This is, at best, rare for the South Slope.

 

 

Bar 4
444 7th Avenue at 15th Street
Park Slope, Brooklyn

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The Brooklyn wino has many choices when it comes to “scoring juice” in the Carroll Gardens area. But of course, we know not all wine shops are created equal. Frankly, the area spanning Court/Atlantic to Smith/9th street is littered with average wine shops (Scotto’s, Carroll Gardens Wine & Liquor, Vintage Cellars, The-Bullet-Proof-Window-Liquor-Store, etc.) that just provide your standard Yellowtail Shiraz meets “I’m Francis Coppola and I’m Buying This Vineyard” selection. These places are fine if you just need a bottle of Jameson and want to shoot the shit with the owner. But hey, let’s get real. This is Brooklyn and I expect a perhaps smallish but exotic and carefully picked assortment of well priced, worldly wines.

And this is what you get at Smith & Vine, the only store in this whole area that has truly sent me out the door murmuring a Cartman-like “sweeeet” with a happy jaunt in my step. You can tell the quality selection here by the lovingly labeled descriptions placed on each bottle coupled with the fact that there isn’t overwhelming amounts of dusty inventory stacked to the ceilings. Plus, the friendly staff always seems to be drinking and that can only be good, right?

S&V’s single best feature is the “10$ and under” table, which is the store’s centerpiece. One side is dedicated to reds and the other side white, with about ten bottles on each side. It’s tough to go wrong here, and I made it my beeswax for a whole year to try out as many as I could. For me, it sealed S&V’s spot as “most kick-ass wine shop in Carroll Gardens.”

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Another advantage of S&V is their sister cheese shop “Stinky” located across the street. These shops are totally in sync, and everyone knows what’s up. This really makes things easy when you’re shopping for Wine & Cheese night. Stinky’s got some great stuff, and also sells crackers, quince paste, cured meats (Christ, they have “guanciale”) and duck confit. Those close to me know I believe ducks to be a superior species.

Smith and Vine
268 Smith Street
(718) 243-2864

Pros:

  • The 10$ and under table is a Brooklyn landmark.
  • Wine selection is given a lot of care and well labeled
  • Great opening hours
  • Sister cheese store across the street
  • Excellent website

Cons:

  • The staff’s a bit jaded, but it might be ‘cause they’re drunk all the time.

You Can’t Go Wrong With: Domaine De La Batardière (white) – a crisp , dry and flavorful Muscadet from the Loire Valley (France, genius), this is the ultimate summer wine and perfect for that romantic picnic in Prospect Park or just a booze-soaked Sunday.

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Just a quick note on Faan, a pan-Asian restaurant on Smith Street. It’s an adorable place with a semi-outdoor seating area, decorated with plants, lanterns and other things dangling from its glass ceiling. Walking by, it looks welcoming and pretty, just like you would want from a pan-Asian restaurant on Smith Street. And while the food was mediocre, the waitstaff surly, and the Silk Panties (a beverage) incredibly strong, there was something special about this place: It featured brazen Brooklyn love on its beer menu.

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