A Night (Back) in Brooklyn

by jeremyrmcmahan

Tomorrow I go back to Virginia, which always makes me excited.  I cannot wait to feel that southern heat on my face and skin.  It’s a different heat than in the city and much less stifling too.  Yet the real treat for me will be when I wade into the Chesapeake Bay, net and bucket in hand, and start crabbin.  I only did a few times last summer as it came to a close, but God was it relaxing. I can feel the stress dissipating just from thinking about about it.  While I daydream of the bay and crabs, I look out of the window to find myself in Crown Heights, a very different scene indeed.  Friday marked  a return to Brooklyn for me after living in Spanish Harlem for a month and I feel that it’s fitting for me to end this round of my New York odyssee here since Brooklyn is where my journey will most likely end .

Friday I was still staying in Harlem, but my friend Davey and his girlfriend Nina had come to town to hang out with Nina’s friend Jess.  I had actually ran into Jess the day before on my way back from the Grimes concert.  She informed me that she had just moved to Williamsburg and that she wanted to take Davey and Nina around there.  I’m always a bit hesitant to go to Williamsburg. Just as my friends and I have grown up sort of on the outside edge of indie rock (whatever that means), we’ve been hesitant to embrace the particular places that have become identified with such things.  Despite this hesitation, I had really only spent a few nights out in Williamsburg and to be honest they were all a little hazy.  Basically, I felt that I cannot really claim to “know” Williamsburg well enough to appropriately judge it, so I kept an open mind when visualizing the Friday night ahead of us.

That night, I got off the Grand St. station on the L and headed towards Jess’s places. I was worried that I was ridiculously late, but I had overlooked the fact that I was going out with girls and that they would need time to properly apply makeup and drink vodka before going out.  Davey and I caught up while we waited, discussing booze and the like.  Finally, when the girls were ready (including coffee cups filled with beverages that weren’t coffee), we headed out to our first desitination of the night, the Radegast Hall and Biergarten.

Bar at Radegast Hall

A strange place to find in Williamsburg, I feel likes it’s the closest thing to an actual Biergarten that I’ve ever been too. There’s the bar side, then the hall side where we sat. I was pretty excited because over the years I have really grown to love German style beer, especially in the summer.  Refreshing, delicious, and easy to chug, it was the perfect choice for a Friday night in August.  The tables were open seating to encourage dining and drinking with perfect strangers, but most people tended to give those outside of their party plenty of distance. Ultimately that translated to less room at the tables for everyone but especially for our party of seven. Luckily we found a table with two kind gentlemen from Mexico and Argentina. I didn’t talk to them at all do to the way we were seated, but I know Davey and Nina enjoyed their company and at least I shared a couple toasts with them.

Draught Selection at Radegast Hall

Davey and I, knowing how shit should be done, decided that we would share a pitcher. We opted for the Gaffel Kölsch.  Ever since last summer, I’ve been kind of a fiend for kölsch, so I’m always looking to try new ones.  It tasted great to me and I quickly downed my half of the pitcher once it arrived.  Davey treated himself to what turned out to be the largest pretzel I had ever seen.  The food I saw at the other tables looked delicious too, including what look like a giant prehistoric piece of a meat that I would one day like to try.  Like I said, the kölsch was quickly gone so it was time for another pitcher.  After waiting awhile to get a servers attention, we ordered a pitcher of the Krušovice Imperial from the Czech Republic.  I’m always looking to try Czech beers since ethnically I’m more Czech than anything else and this one turned out to the best I’ve ever had.  It certainly had more body and complexity than the kölsch but it didn’t sacrifice any of the drinkability.  Again, this pitcher was gone in a heartbeat and it was soon time to move on with our evening.

#davey #nina #beer

After quickly dismissing a club asking for a $10 cover, we headed to the Cove.  As we entered, they informed us that it was Brooklyn’s hottest new gay bar.  Well ok, gay bar it is then.  Upon entering, I realized that I had been there a couple times before when Alexander had been going to Columbia. We had ended up there late New Year’s of 2010 and another time we stopped in to get $5 Beers and a shot. It wasn’t a gay bar before, but the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself, so I embraced it. The music was still pretty good though I didn’t recognize any of it. It did what it needed to do. Getting our drinks in hand, we headed out to the dance floor.

Getting on the dance floor

After polishing off my beer and boogieing for little bit, we were all treated to a performance by the beautiful Destiny.  Though she was was only lip syncing to various pop songs-including the appropriately chosen “If I were a Boy”-her energy and charisma actually brought the club together and when she left the stage everyone hit the dance floor with a renewed vigor.

Destiny doing her thing

Destiny and the girls

After the girls congratulated Destiny on her steller performance we headed towards our final destination of the night, the Alligator Lounge.  I had heard of this place before especially since I imagine anywhere that gives your a free pizza with your drink can be quite the conversation starter. Yeah, I said it. You get a free pizza with your drink.  Now is it good pizza? Not particularly.  Is it good when you’re drunk? Oh hell yes.  I ordered a Blue Point Toasted Lager, which was quite delicious.  Then they handed me a beautiful ticket that would grant me the grace of my own personal pizza.

Ticket to Pizza

Alligator Lounge really is the perfect place to end the evening in the Williamsburg area, especially when you know you got a long trek back to Spanish Harlem.  Filling up on that last beer and pizza gave me the strength to endure the subway ride back, which would undoubtedly be the longest subway ride ever.  I finished my pizza and left with Davey, Nina, and Jess.  After bidding adieu, I entered the station to find myself with a twenty minute subway wait.  “All the more time to reflect” I thought.  I leaned against one of the pillars, closed my eyes, and thanked god that I ate that pizza before I left.

Looks like it’s time to go home, doesn’t it?