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Archive for the ‘Union Hall’ Category

New York Magazine released its Best of New York 2008 guide, which includes great restaurants, bars and other things in the New York area. A lot of their winners just so happen to be some of Brooklyn Skeptic’s favorites. Are they trying to tell us something? Between Commonwealth (and they’re certainly right about the jukebox), Union Hall’s Tearing the Veil of Maya, Pacific Standard and Cobble Hill Cinemas, we think that New York Magazine might just be stalking us. One thing that is obvious is that their staff seems to really like Brooklyn. Their picks are specific to neighborhoods, so check them out and see what you think.

And New York Magazine, you don’t have to come on so strong. We’re all really easy.

                      

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If there’s a lovlier bar than Flatbush Farm, I don’t want to know about it. It’s so classy, it makes Union Hall look like Welcome to the Johnsons. It’s so charming, it makes George Clooney blush. It’s so pretty, it makes sunsets turn to ash and fall out of the sky. It’s so expensive, it makes me perspire.

Flatbush Farm is decorated with perfectly shabby barnyard equipment, has hippie hand soap in the bathrooms and sells organic beer. I think the concept of organic beer is both horrifying and life-affirming. It’s horrifying in that it’s a pussified version of an essentially tough beverage. But it’s kind of life-affirming in that I am an alcoholic vegetarian with a thing for farmers’ markets. It’s like they don’t even pretend that place is not exactly for people like me – except older and with more money.

Last night, they had a fund raiser for some sort of animal shelter and were auctioning kitty-pleasuring gift baskets to insane people who actually try to stuff pets into their tiny New York apartments. Attendees were literally yelping with delight as they bought hundreds of dollars worth of scratching posts and tiny plush mice. “Mr. Muffins is going to be so spoiled,” squealed one woman. Really, that money would be better spent on anti-depressants and a good lint roller.

Aside from how insane rich people in Brooklyn are, this bar is really lovely. You should go check it out. But don’t stay too long because the organic beer will probably melt your brains.

Flatbush Farm
76 St. Marks Ave. at 6th Ave. and Flatbush Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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After a lovely Sunday afternoon of walking around the neighborhood, drinking outside and playing Scrabble at Abilene (Jonathan, I apologize, “wino” is actually in the OED), I returned home, put on my pajamas and opened up a fresh Netflick. My roommate was on the way to his shift at the Park Slope Coop, and I was all set to sit back, relax and enjoy some non-Food Network programming. But before I saw Coming Attraction #1, I got a phone call informing me that Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman and some guys from Upright Citizens Brigade would be performing later on that evening at Union Hall. My roommate has just recently started enjoying Michael Showalter’s comedy, and was eager to attend. So I took my pajamas back off, put down my Netflick and once again vanished into the bustling Brooklyn biosphere.

Here at Brooklyn Skeptic, a lot has been written about Union Hall, as it is home to two bocce courts, and, according to some, a lot of assholes. Despite all of this, it can not be denied that Union Hall’s basement is a great place to see a live show. The way it is set up is kind of like your childhood neighbor’s basement. A small, old, room with folding chairs and comfy couches, it is truly an intimate and comfortable setting. I spent half the time I was down there waiting for my old neighbor’s mom to walk in with a bowl of cheese doodles and soda (what’s up Mrs. Stirparo?). We were there only about fifteen minutes early, but managed to get seats in the front row, looking at a small stage on which we could literally rest our feet.

The show was fun and relaxed. Michael Showalter came on first and warmed up the crowd, talking about his weekend and making fart jokes. He introduced a British comedian who I am pretty sure was funny, but I might have just been charmed by her accent. Eugene Mirman was really drunk and quite humorous as he went off on rants about how he hates various things. And the guys from UCB were there to plug their new show Human Giant, which is unfortunately airing on MTv, right between Pimp My Ride and My Sweet 16, I believe they said.

At one point, Michael Showalter was crouched down watching the show right next to my roommate, who nerdily kept poking me and smiling. The place is so casual that the comedians usually hang out there afterwards, talking with fans and drinking. This friendly atmosphere worked equally well when I saw Zach Galifianakis at the same venue. He was allowed to get close to his audience, which is essentially half of his show, as he frequently runs around berating people. Although I have never seen live music performed at Union Hall, I can only imagine that the area works well, allowing the audience to truly feel like their favorite band is playing at their basement party.

So for all of the nay-saying that seems to go on about Union Hall, don’t judge a bar by its cover (there is no cover, mind you). There may be some annoying people and some bocce hostility, but there aren’t many bars in Manhattan or Brooklyn that can stir such happy, warm and intimate feelings. And isn’t that what drinking on a Sunday is all about? No? Oh right. I’m just an alcoholic.

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I don’t understand this season of American Idol. It’s incredibly bad. It’s so bad I actually removed it from my dvr “series recording” list. Removed it. I rarely do this, for any show. Example: I still have “Frasier” listed to record. (That is a secret between you and me, Brooklyn Skeptic readers. And it shall never be discussed in person.) Anyway, my point is that, clearly, my standards for television are relatively low. Not including reality-tv shows. Since I hate them all. Except for Project Runway. And Extreme Makeover – Home Edition. And sometimes America’s Next Top Model. And past American Idols. And the first season of Temptation Island. But that’s it. (That’s so not it.)

Anyway, since I will no longer be tuning into this season of Suck-erican Idol, I’d like to share with you my final thoughts on the program.

To the THREE people who forgot the lyrics to their songs: Are you serious? One song. You had to memorize the lyrics to one song. And not even the whole song, pretty much just the recognizable part. And you blew it. How is this possible? Story: In 5th grade I had to memorize the Apostles’ Creed in its entirety. (I went to Catholic school.) Was it difficult? Very. Did I care about it? Not really. Though, I’m sure at the time I was convinced I would descend into the depths of hell if I couldn’t recite it by heart. But the point is, I was given a task, and completed it. Do I still remember the prayer? That’s not important. What’s important is that even at 10 years old, I was better than these American Idol-ers. (Also, I had a heavenly voice. My rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” would have made you weep.)

To America: Why are you voting for that guy who looks like Nosferatu? Not only is he creepy, he’s like the weirdest person in general. Do you not feel uncomfortable watching him? I do.

Nosferatu

And Sanjaya: Sanjaya, Sanjaya, Sanjaya. I had such high hopes for Sanj, but he has what I like to refer to as, negative stage presence, and negative good style. Meaning, he is a weak singer, and his hair is insane…ly feminine. I think Sanjaya is perhaps, a woman. Which is fine, but I don’t think he knows this yet, which is why he can’t work up to his full potential. Since he is having an identity crisis. Either way, I don’t enjoy watching him/her.

sanjaya girl

That’s all I really have to say about this season of A.I. There are a couple really, really talented female singers, but they in no way compensate for the 9 people who suck.

So, American Idol, I bid you, adieu.

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Friend:

I am going to have to disagree with your douchebags/sq. ft estimations. While douchebags run wild in both bars on a typical Saturday night, I don’t recall ever running into one on the bocce court at Union Hall. I did however want to punch a girl in the face at Floyd. Now, I’m not saying more hate-worthy females can be found at Floyd, I’ve just never encountered one at Union Hall.

I also think your average patron age is off, for both bars. And even if you’re right, and the mean age for Floyd is 25, most of the people there look/act/dress like oldish 30-somethings. While Union Hall brings in the opposite; older clientele trying to recapture or maintain their youth by dressing like a young hipster. And yes, hipsters are annoying and always think they’re funnier than they actually are. However, they at least make me feel like the young 23-year old I am.

I mostly agree with everything else you said, but in the end, I choose Union Hall. In spite of the fact that Eugene Mirman like, lives there.

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Floyd's Bocce BarNumber of Bocce Courts:

  • Floyd: One
  • Union Hall: Two
  • Performance Space:

  • Floyd: No
  • Union Hall: Yes
  • Price of Drinks:

  • Floyd: Reasonable
  • Union Hall: Reasonable, if slightly more expensive
  • Douchebags/Sq. Foot on typical Tuesday Night:

  • Floyd: .1
  • Union Hall: .3
  • Douchebags/Sq. Foot on typical Saturday Night:

  • Floyd: 1
  • Union Hall: 3
  • Jukebox:

  • Floyd: Better
  • Union Hall: Good
  • Average Age of Patrons (rough guess):

  • Floyd: 25
  • Union Hall: 29
  • Bathrooms:

  • Floyd: Two, not disgusting
  • Union Hall: Ten-ish?, not disgusting, often quite clean
  • Major Perks:

  • Floyd: you can play bocce, most nights it is not very crowded, nice bar tenders, pew-like benches, lots of alt-country on the jukebox, have Bass Ale on tap (it’s delicious!), nice furnishings, people bring their doggies sometimes, Crap-o-copia, everyone is guaranteed to like this bar
  • Union Hall: you can play bocce, very beautiful space, cool bands and events downstairs, have two sections of padded wall (…), nice outdoor area, have Regina Spektor on the jukebox, within walking distance of my house, the food looks great but is very meat-centric, everyone is guaranteed to like this bar
  • Major Faults:

  • Floyd: Sophisticated computer system to dim and brighten the lights in an annoying but hip way, not as close to my house
  • Union Hall: People bring their children (Jesus Christ, Park Slope. What’s your fucking damage?), it’s incredibly crowded on the weekend and just uncomfortably crowded on weeknights, more frequent incidents of patrons being total assholes, long wait for bocce, the food looks great but is very meat-centric
  • Final Verdict:

    Two Brooklyn bocce bars diverged in a borough, and I – I took the one less Park-Slopified and that has made all the difference (sorry, Mr. Frost). So, I like Floyd best.

     

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