Where not to go in Brooklyn this weekend.

March 29, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized 

I don’t usually spend too much time thinking about places I don’t like or won’t return to, but these two deserve some special attention.

Brooklyn Social is a bar I should like.  The bar is new but the building was at one point the site of more or less an actual Sicilian social club.  I should have liked this place, and I did when I walked in.  Like most bars in areas like Brooklyn, this one came equipped with the required touches to let everyone know it’s a “cool” place.  Bartenders with facial hair.  Faux-vintage clothing inclusive of vests and bow ties.  A drink menu that merely lists the ingredients and tells you nothing about anything.  Indie bands you’ve never heard of on the 70’s-era speakers.  A record player.

Good stuff when it works, sad and pathetic when it doesn’t.  Nothing worse than a bar trying too hard.  Alright there’s a lot worse than that but anyway.

We ordered our drinks and they were average.  Mine tasted like it had no alcohol in it, and this fact was eagerly confirmed by all present.  It was supposed to have a whiskey base; no hint of alcohol whatsoever.  Not out of the question, as some flavors do counteract any hint of spirits.  But the waitstaff was too preoccupied with being hipster to tell us anything about the drinks.

I walked up to the bar to speak with the bartender.  What follows is an exact transcript of the conversation.

Me: “Just wondering, this drink tastes like there’s no alcohol in it?”

Jackass bartender: (glares at me for a minute) “Well I’ll give you more whiskey but you’re wrong.”

Me: *too stunned to respond*

He takes out the bottle of whiskey and pours it all over my hand, all over the bar, and manages to get a drop or two in my glass.

You’re wrong?   You’re wrong?!?  Oh you’re right, because YOU paid ME to come in here and drink from you. Right.   You know that scene from Desperado where Tarantino tells the bartender the joke about a guy pissing all over his bar, all over him, all over his customers?  I wanted to be that guy.  In reality we just walked out.

Fast forward to a few nights ago.

A bar we’ve wanted to check out for a while called Zebulon just a few blocks away from the apartment.  They always have live music, and they play movies on a screen so large  you can see it from Fire Island.  Anyway we were there a few nights ago to see a concert so it was pretty crowded.  Now nothing actually happened to me, but rather to two of my friends.  Zebulon only takes American Express, no Visa or MC.  This has got to be some sort of stupid hipster/ironic thing they are trying to pull off.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dive bar that only takes Amex.  Very weird.  So this will inevitably lead to problems.

Padraic orders a round of drinks, and comes back with an odd look on his face.  He repeats the following no less than ten times.
“So I order the drinks, and only have $35 on me.  The total for five drinks is $31 and she won’t take my card.  So I give her $35 and she says “A $4 tip for five drinks?  Ugh whatever.” She didn’t really say that did she?  Did she?”

He manages to convince himself that she did not in fact say this to him and goes on watching the concert.

Kerry then orders double whiskeys for a few of us, and also comes back from the bar completely pissed.  She had ordered $44 worth of Jameson, about 6 drinks.  She finds out that again, they only take Amex.  She has $50 in cash.  So she hands this cash to the bartender who replies: “That’s okay, you can bring the rest of the tip later” “THAT’S OKAY YOU CAN BRING THE REST OF THE TIP LATER.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but a tip is something given for good service.  At least that’s what it means when you don’t expect 20% regardless of how completely terrible your attitude is, while you’re being pissed off that we dared to come in, sit in your section, and interrupt you checking your Twitter feed.

So Zebulon and Brooklyn Social.  Stay away.

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