Posts Tagged ‘bar’

ye olde memorabilia

The peculiar smell of the bar at Maple Lanes Bowling Alley bar might be as old as the memorabilia, but arguably adds to the nostalgic feeling. The decorations lean toward baseball (before those bums went west), and are dominated by the logo man from Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park, but what catches my eye is the DeKalb winged corn sign.

It’s from a midwest seed company, relevant to Brooklyn because its name is from the same DeKalb of our local avenue and subway. (See earlier blog posting.) The Revolutionary War mercenary’s name is spread mysteriously thin across the US. Who would expect a link between DeKalb seed (purveyors of genetically modified products) and a windowless bar in the middle of Brooklyn?

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cafe steinhof

The tables were filled, I had to sit at the bar.

Cheapskates and goulash lovers crowd Cafe Steinhof (at the corner of 7th Avenue and 14th St.) on Monday nights, when the stew is on special for $6. The rest of the time, the Austrian restaurant is a neighborhood favorite because it’s homey and inviting. The food is hearty, but chose wisely (there are vegetarian entrees) and you need not feel like a schnitzel stuffed in your lederhosen after a meal.

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@ the bell house

The Bell House is on 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, in the neighborhood now known as Gowanus.  Beloved by the Yelp crowd for its performance space, I can vouch only for the lounge (at a non-peak time). Nice space, nice help, nice beer selection.

The beauty of Bell House is its relative isolation. I have a beef with complainers who say the place is out of the way, in an industrial never-never land. When you go, get out at the 4th Avenue stop on the F train, not Smith & 9th, to avoid crossing the canal. Or take the R to 9th Street. Bring a friend. Hell, if you’re scared, hold your friend’s hand and run those couple blocks from the subway to the Bell House. Then, when you arrive safe, winded, and thirsty, of course, remind yourself that being hip is about pushing boundaries, including the geographical.

Walk Gowanus in daylight, and you’ll get the feeling that Park Slope has started sliding downhill, and the brownstones have turned to low cinderblock buildings. Whatever. You cheated death to get to the Bell House at night, and that’s what counts.

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