• Barred

    Barred: Bossa Nova Civic Club

    When: Tuesday, 11:49pm
    What did I drink? Bossa Nova Smash (Old Overholt Rye, lemon, mint) $9. After midnight it became ladies’ night, therefore two for one, so a number of gin and tonics and beers were also consumed.

    bossa novaBossa Nova Civic Club was the setting for a double birthday party. The women were turning 39 and 40, one visiting from Miami along with her 19-year-old son who is a DJ and lives in Williamsburg, which is kind of hard to fathom. “A grown man came out of your body!” (Unbeknownst to me, I was sitting next to the son earlier at The Rookery’s bar. I hadn’t seen this now-adult since he was in preschool.)

    If it’s good enough for Florent, right? (And yes, he showed up at the end of the night.)

    There were gay men, black men, old men, even a Goth man named Geronimo who may or may not have been Native American. What there wasn’t were the typical L train Bushwickers and their beards and plaid. House music will have that effect.

    Oh, there also weren’t any women over 40. It’s hard enough finding middle-aged women out and about as it is, and those who’ll stay out till 4am dancing on a weeknight are a rarer species still. Where are you?

    Was I carded? Yes

    Age appropriate? I would still say yes since Bossa Nova operates outside of typical Brooklyn bar conventions. A twentysomething from the neighborhood who was surprisingly welcoming of gentrification (more things to do) even gave me his number. (I didn’t ask–he told me to put it in my phone and watched as I typed so I had no choice.)

  • Barred

    Barred: Tandem

    When: Saturday, 2:16am
    What did I drink? 70% of a Sixpoint of some sort

    Breaking my nothing good happens after 2am rule didn’t result in any traumas, self-loathing, anger, crying jags–you know, the usual–and I do wonder if it’s the Bushwick factor, which on the surface would seem more annoying than Williamsburg but isn’t.


    My group of grown women was talked into heading to Tandem by an entertaining, half-crazed 28-year-old man who greatly enjoyed using the word “retarded” and took a shining to us at a nearby rooftop party. Apparently, you can get away with saying you’re also 28 if it’s dark and everyone is very drunk or high. Or crazy.

    In my notes (like the older-than-me coworkers who print everything out and re-type words rather just copying and pasting, my generational Achilles’ heel is texting troubles) that read: “3” arcrgw partyikxuoimmmm ok Cupid drunk dual" the only correctly spelled phrase was Norman Reedus, by which I meant to remind myself that there was a bartender who looked like Norman Reedus, but in no way was anywhere Norman Reedus’ 44 years of age.

    An accompanying friend had drunk dialed (not dualed) the wrong OkCupid date, ending up with wires-crossed booty call. That gentleman was sitting at the bar and appeared to be the only patron over 40. We left this friend in the green lasers-and smoke-machine back dancing room in the company of the rooftop guy, and she’s still alive so I guess that was fine to do.

    Was I carded? Yes, and I’m starting to wonder if bouncers only do that to preserve your dignity.
    Age appropriate? Nah, though now that women close to 60 are snatching up lofts like it’s Soho in the ‘70s, all this could change.

  • Barred

    Barred: Pearl’s Social & Billy Club

    When: Wednesday, 9:30pm
    What did I drink?
    Gin and tonic, Maker’s Mark on the rocks (prices unknown, but not expensive)

    Do you ever feel possessive of something that matters to nearly no one? Neighborhood borders are the smallest stakes. I still have a sense of ownership for Ridgewood, Queens, my first NYC neighborhood, circa 1998-2000. (I even wrote a Village Voice snapshot a million years ago.) When people tell me (and they do) about how kids are now doing cool things there fifteen years later, I don’t think that they mean there are music venues and galleries in the Archie Bunker/Italian/Polish/Bosnian/Romany heart of Ridgewood, but closer to the Bushwick border, if not actually Bushwick, a strange reversal where claiming Queens grants cachet.

    A friend and former coworker from my Ridgewood days, now also somewhere in her 40s, recently moved to “Ridgewood” and had mentioned Pearl’s as a local bar of sorts (three L stops away in Bushwick proper, this leads me to believe that Ridgewood still lacks a substantial hipster element, despite reports to the contrary). A seed was planted.

    And then I really had to see for myself after reading a Yelp review (sure, I’ll consult the site for questions of atmosphere and tone–never food) containing this troubling bit: “Plenty of dirty hipsters – old ones! Like, peeps in their mid thirties. Mmmmm, come ‘ere gramps."  No grammas?

    No. There were tattoos, cocktails in mason jars, muscle shirts, beer-and-shot drinkers, mostly men (and to be fair, a solo young lady ordering  Fernet) and an androgynous butt rocker that excited me more when I thought it was a woman emulating ’70s-era Jodie Foster.  


    It was certainly not "Berry Hill;” bros and tourists aren’t treating Flushing Avenue like Bedford quite yet, and the rash of recent muggings targeting oblivious bar patrons only emphasizes how in flux the neighborhood is. 

    Pearl’s is probably the closest bar if you decide to hit up alcohol-free Bun-Ker or Western Beef, so it does have that going for it.

    Age appropriate? For Bushwick, perhaps, where an older crowd means 31.
    Was I carded?  Yes, indeed. And the man sitting outside on a stool should’ve been a giveaway;  grown-up bars do not need to ward off underage drinkers.

    Photo at Pearl’s: Lauren Carol Smith via Bedford + Bowery