82 4th Ave at St Marks Pl, Park Slope

The Place: A chill, West Coast-themed bar in Brooklyn that was showing the Democratic National Convention.

The Time: Tuesday, July 27 8pm. I’ve been pretty much entirely consumed with politics this election season, and finding myself a rare free evening, I decided to go to a bar to watch the convention as opposed to live streaming it on my computer in my apartment. This is my version of going to a bar to watch sports. The only times I’ve ever gone to a bar with the intention of watching something has been for this and the Oscars, and I’m totally fine with what this says about me.

The Vibe: It feels cozy and friendly from the minute I walk in. There’s a nice bar space in front with a screening room in back, projecting the convention on a big screen on the back wall. It’s also playing with subtitles on the TV at the bar, so I sidle up and make myself at home. The atmosphere is like a kid who plays lacrosse at Oakland decided to make his dorm room into a dive bar. There’s tons of California memorabilia lining the wooden and brick walls – license plates, giant beer caps, athletic flags. The last of the summer light pours in through the large front windows. The bar top is one of those slated old style ones like they have at Dutch Kills, which annoys me but it’s just my personal grievance. Groups of two pepper the bar: friends, friendly couples. The back room starts to fill up with larger groups, clearly here for the DNC, but there are also plenty of locals enjoying their neighborhood bar on a Tuesday night. The music is 90s and 00s pop and hip hop, and I find it hilarious to watch the DNC with subtitles while “Sexy Can I” by Ray J circa 2007 plays in the background. I really dig the vibe of this place, but I find it kinda strange to have a West Coast-theme bar in NYC. Then again, it’s definitely weirder to have an NYC-themed bar in NYC so I accept it.

The Drank: A classic Dark n Stormy, made with both Gosling’s rum and Gosling’s ginger beer. It’s got the right amount of lime too and for $9, I’m a very happy camper. They’ve got a great selection of draft beers and a pretty good wine selection as well. They also have classic pub food, like tacos and hot dogs, with both meat and veggie options, because this is Brooklyn after all. And it was Taco Tuesday, so you could get two tacos for 5 bucks! I stupidly ate before I came here, otherwise I would’ve been all over this.

The Bartender: First, there was one bartender, a woman in black with glasses and a loose bun. Her voice cuts through the light din of other voices, yet it took me a sec to realize she was talking to me because she was doing shit somewhere else, cuz duh, she’s a busy lady. Then a second bartender rushes in, hangs up his bag, puts a bar rag in his pocket and is ready to rock. He wears a Joshua Tree t-shirt and is super sweaty. Pretty soon, the other bartender is done with her shift, so she chills at the corner of the bar for a while with a whiskey and a Bud Light.

Was I Hit On? No but I made friends with a guy named Mark who stood next to me as the bartender, also named Mark I found out, slid his whiskey to him. I told Mark I’d never actually seen someone have a drink slid to them before. When Bartender Mark asked me if I’d like another round, I said I was intrigued by the $4 prosecco special (!) but wanted a drink slid to me. So Bartender Mark put prosecco in a rocks glass and slid it to me!! I’ve never felt so cool. Other Mark and I chatted for a while. He works at the bar across the street, “only during happy hour, I need the light, can’t work in the dark no more,” and he stops in to see his buds at Pacific Standard for a Jameson before hopping the train home to Queens. He’s also a born and bred New Yorker who was vegetarian for several years. When he left, I told him I’d come by his bar sometime. Yay to making new friends and having pleasant conversations with strange men who aren’t creepers!

Should You Drink Here Alone? Yes! So happy I found a chill new bar to hang at when my version of sports is on TV. And they have trivia nights! And stand-up nights! And non-creepy men! You guys, come here alone and with friends. You definitely won’t be disappointed.