Barred: Bierleichen and Onderdonk & Sons

Image: Bencorioart
Image: Bencorioart

When: Sunday, 6:51pm and 9:04pm

My notes from the new (at the time I actually went–I’ve been busy the past few months) Ridgewood heavy metal beerhall, Bierleichen, read “Awesomely mixed. Is metal the great equalizer?” by which I meant tribally diverse, not age-wise. On an early Sunday there were Latino dudes, a mixed gender rockabilly crew, man bun hipsters, generic young white people like you see in Astoria and could either be Midwest transplants or children of immigrants who haven’t moved to the suburbs yet, and an errant older gentleman I assumed to be Eastern European because all Ridgewood bars, even the upstarts, are required by law to accommodate at least one hold out.

Bierleichen, to its credit, is going for something different than a lot of new drinking establishments. Beer corpse, the name’s translation, is funny, for one. It’s not super polished. It looks like it set up in an old garage (and I think it may have been) with a lot of rough wood ceiling beams, raw cement floors and walls, glossy black subway tile for a little class, softened by skylights and hanging plants. There’s a random upright piano, picnic tables and those glass beer stein boots. And yes, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Danzig all got play on my visit. This might also be the only place in the  neighborhood–a pretty good sausage neighborhood–where vegans can participate in sausage-eating.

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Onderdonk & Sons, on the other hand, is sticking with the established tin ceiling, exposed brick and rich, dark woods aesthetic. I mean, it looks good and the booths are comfy. There is also no hard liquor despite screaming cocktail den. The fries are way better than average, by the way.

This crowd was younger, more male, more foreign (Brazilian? Russian?) and more neck-tattooed. I arbitrarily decided it was for overpaying airbnb guests. And probably Okcupid (not Tinder) dates.

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Third stop was the previously blogged Queens Tavern where we encountered a number of the same people who had been at the aforementioned two bars as if there were only three neighborhood bars to choose from and this was the logical order in which to visit them.

There are no shortage of Ridgewood bars for newcomers and they just keep coming. I recently met a young man who is somehow involved with a bar being Kickstarted called The Bad Old Days…which I can’t even. Like the ‘70s when white folks were lobbying for Ridgewood to get its own zip code to split from Bushwick? The late ’90s when I thought I lived an hour from civilization and area bars were patronized by neo-nazis not neu-metalheads? The dark ages before cafes served single-origin coffee and Vietnamese food could be found at all, let alone using grass-fed beef?

Was I carded? At both places, no.

Age appropriate? At both places, no, not literally, but it’s still Queens so who cares really.

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