Archive for Jukebox

The Diamond

Posted in alcohol, bars, food, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by criticalreviews
43 Franklin St
(between Calyer St & Quay St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-5030

The Diamond is located in a slightly less commercial section of Greenpoint, a little off the beaten path as far as bars go in the area (in between Williamsburg and Greenpoint proper), but it is well worth the walk. The bar itself is pretty average in size: with a long bar to the right when you walk in, a shuffle board table to the left, a two tables by the front windows, a couple more tables towards the back, and a small basement that opens up as a dancefloor on the weekends. There is also a largish garden area too with a quoits court.

I have been to the bar three times since I moved to the neighborhood, twice on Thursdays and a late night visit on a Friday. The scene was a little different each time but I think that was due to the time of day. My first visit was two weeks ago, and we got there around 8pm. The bar itself had very few people in it, but the patio was packed. We took a couple seats at the bar, and ordered some food and a couple beers. The second visit was this past Thursday with a little little bigger crowd, and quite a bit louder. And the third was late this past Friday, where the bar was kicking, but we had no problem rolling deep and finding a spot for our largish group.

The food is pretty limited, but that isn’t to say that it is not amazing. They savory pies and rolls from Tuck Shop, a cheese plate (the cheese change regularly: sm $7/lg $12), and a pickle and olive plate ($4). We ordered a Tuck Shop pie($7) and roll ($5), but they were out of the pies so we got two rolls. These were served with hot sauce, and were actually pretty substantial. I was really impressed. Not what you would expect. The Tuck Shop roll was a delicate pastry with delicious veggies inside. I will definitely eat this again as well as try the pie!

As far as beer goes they are pretty esoteric, and that is a complement coming from me. I have worked in the beer industry for three or so years now, and I know most breweries (or at least ones that show up on the East Coast), and their beer list really is wonderful. The first time I went they had a beer from Two Brother’s on called Cain and Able: a hoppy red brewed with rye and palm sugar. This was an excellent beer from a really obscure brewery. And the tap list has always been consistently great. They divide their beers in to Session Beers (low alcohol) and High Alcohol; with two menus. I’m pretty sure even the experienced beer drinker is going to find something that they haven’t tried at this place, and even if they have tried it they might have an older vintage! The taps change regularly (I know this because two kegs kicked late on Friday, and two new wonderful beers were put on). And it appears that they always have Reissdorf Koelsch on tap, and even serve it in a Kranz!

For a complete beer list check out the website.

Besides amazing beer, and a beautiful bar they have a killer jukebox. How many bars will take the a chance and put one let alone three Ween albums on their jukebox (The Pod, The Mollusk, and 12 Golden Country Greats)! Included in the mix were two Dinosaur Jr.’s, two or three Guided By Voices, a great two disk Kinks collection, Minor Threat and Embrace, New Order, and tons of other jems.

Other highlights are that every Wednesday there is a shuffleboard tournament, quiots tournaments once a week, and every Sunday there is a reasonably priced small plate and beer pairing.

I hate to say it, but I think the Diamond just replaced Well’s Ales and Lagers as my favorite bar…and The Diamond allows my dog to come with me! I will no doubt become a regular with it being so close to my house!

Photo from Newsday.com

(Tom)

Drop Off Service (and a brief note about The Arrow)

Posted in alcohol, bars, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2008 by criticalreviews

211 Ave. A (just north of 13th Street)
East Village, NYC

So this past Friday we got some friends together and decided to check out a couple bars that we have never been to in the East village. On our list was Drop Off Service and The Arrow.

I’ll get to Drop Off Service in a minute…but first a brief note about the Arrow. The Arrow is located on Avenue A between 5th and 6th. I had been to this location in it’s short lived time as The Rook, and remembered the space being cool, decent drink prices, but really bad music. KLK and I got to The Arrow around 6:30 and it was dead (only four people and this place supposedly has a really good happy hour). Even before we could get comfortable and walk up to the bar, the bartender yells to us “Can I see some IDs.” I bartend occasionally, and I just feel that it is rude to ask for IDs before someone tries to order a drink, but whatever. The bar really hasn’t changed since it was The Rook…the space is nice, the drink prices are decent, but the music was really lame, loud, and made us want to leave. So we did before even having a drink. I expected something a little better, at least music wise, from something that was being endorsed by BrooklynVegan. Please note: althought the BV repost of the Time Out New York article makes it look like the fancy drinks are “buy one get one” our friends were told that they were not (neither is top shelf bourbon).

Back to Drop Off Service (DOS).

After we left The Arrow we walked up Avenue A to DOS (while calling and texting our friends telling them not to go to The Arrow). DOS, as the name implies, used to be a laundromat. Now it is a biggish sized bar, with a good happy hour, and a great jukebox. The place is set up, if you are looking in the front door, with a long bar running down the right side, large booths on the left and in the back, and a small room with odd couches near where the bathrooms are. The place is dimly lit and decorated in your not so typical beer signs as well as other bar type decorations. DOS was busy even at 6:30, and we ordered drinks and hung out by the jukebox while waiting for friends. The jukebox has a pretty good selection (a little bit of everything)…we played Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Les Savy Fav, Elvis Costello, and Madness.

DOS has a really great happy hour. Everything is 1/2 priced. They have about 20 beers on tap, and serve most of their beer in 20oz imperial pint glasses. $3 or $4 for a 20oz beer is a really great deal in this part of town (or any part of town for that matter). Well drinks were $4 too. I had a couple Sixpoint Brownstones($3) and a Stone Pale Ale($4) (klk was drinking vodka soda, and Stone Arrogant Bastard<both $4>). The beer selection was pretty well rounded on tap: mostly American Craft Beers, some English and Irish, and a couple Belgians and Germans (also some Belgian bottles, and your typical Bud/Corona/ect.). They also had a nice selection of higher quality spirits too. Happy hour goes until 8pm. One thing that I found a little odd was that they only take American Express (they said that they would hold my Visa if I wanted to start a tab, but I would have to pay cash).

Right before the rest of our group got there three people got up from one of the booths and asked us if we would like to sit down (sweet). We got one of the large booths, big enough to fit our whole group, without even trying. As we were sitting down everyone else got there, and we hung out for a couple hours. Although I had read that this bar was loud, it really wasn’t bad. The music was sometimes hard to hear, but I never had to strain to hear conversations at our table.

I really enjoyed DOS, and I definitely will go back (and I imagine that I would come here a lot if I lived in the neighborhood…it is extremely dog friendly!). Up until Friday I didn’t have a bar that I enjoyed going to near 14th Steet and now I do. Drop Off Service is pretty great.

Photos from New York Magazine/ Shanna Ravindra.

Addendum: Please note I tried to go back here Friday April 11 around 1am…and it was totally a lame Frat Party. I still think that it is a great happy hour spot, but not so much for late night on the weekend.

(Tom)