Saturday, August 27, 2011

Black Forest Brew Haus

My sister asked me when I'd actually review a good bar. I replied that every bar I reviewed got positive ratings. Then she told me that the things I look for in a bar don't make it a good bar. Just a bar I like. I pondered this while shotgunning a Keystone Ice tall boy and think I know what she means now. So this is the first "good" bar I went to.

I've actually been to Black Forest many times. I worked nearby and we'd order takeout. And my family had been going there for awhile. And then my friends started going there. And I still go back once in awhile for the Sunday brunch/cheesecake brownies.

The deal is they make their own beer and they have good food. It sucks. The end.

Would it be funny or lazy if I really ended it there? Let's start with the beer. I mean that's really the most important thing. It's a Brew Haus after all. It's dark, heavy and bitter. As much as I drink beer I don't reach for the quality stuff.  I really do prefer the cheapest gutter swill available. It's just easier to drink. I never understand why people like "good" beer. It tastes like it was filtered through a dirty sock. Is it? Is that the key? If it is I've got loads of dirty socks. Let's start a brewery. Just don't take the sock off my night stand. The one that has Hess's brother's name on it and is stiff as a board.

They always have a Pilsner, Amber and Hefe-weizen. If I was getting a regular one I'd probably go with Hefe. It's supposed to taste like bananas but I didn't taste any. Maybe it tastes like Johnny Bananas. Then they have crazy beers that have high alcohol content. If you're there to get wrecked these are the bastards that'll do it. They are seasonal and change frequently so you won't know what's available until you are there reading the chalkboard. I remember a barley wine that had 14% or something insane. And sometimes they have chocolate beer. Any of you beer queens out there know if this stuff has actual chocolate in it? When I hate it and just give it to my dog will it kill him?

Speaking of bringing the beer home, you can. Hooray. I'm over joyed. They have growlers, half gallon jugs that cost $12. And if you go green and bring it back a refill will only cost you $8. I like that. I'd like it more if it was Coors Light. Do they make Coors Light Ice? I guess I can just fill a growler with Coors Light and Everclear. Make my own Coors Light Ice.

That's it on the beer. I don't like it but I drink it. You probably have more class and a better palate than I do. So you might love it.  The food we can all agree on. It's good. Good sandwiches, German specialty stuff. They have pretzel bread for the sandwiches so that's cool.

In the way of entertainment this place doesn't offer much. I can't remember if there is a jukebox. I don't think there is. They used to have dueling pianos which was cool. Guys playing covers on piano. They take requests. Piano music on Long Island. Expect Billy Joel. Demand "She's Always A Woman"

Last thing, this is where we met Janine! So if you had a great time at their wedding or just love her new haircut  swing by here and pay respects.

Great parking lot to drink cheap beer in
Good food
Janine was there
Only bar my sister will go with me to
Dueling pianos

The beer gives you a bad hangover
Middle of nowhere

CONCLUSION: I think Sock Beer and Coors Light Ice could be a good start for my own Brew Haus. The only food we'd serve is pretzel dogs from Rusty Knot and mozzarella sticks from Millers. Janine and Elise are the bartenders. Pete and Hess are security. Red heads drink free. I have a lot of memories from Black Forest.  And I piss all over it but I'm thankful for it's existence.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Rusty Knot

The first time I went to the Rusty Knot I arrived in a limo after filming a segment for a TV show.  I waited on line then refused to go inside and went to Rockville Centre instead for 4 free shots of Jameson and a grilled cheese. It was a great day.

Had I gone inside though I would have found my happy place. The drinks rule here. $1.50 beers are the special. If I buy a six pack of Bud Light in Park Slope just to bring home I’m spending more than that. They have pickle backs. For the uninitiated it’s a whiskey shot followed by a shot of pickle juice. They also have a house cocktail called The Rusty Knot. It’s a frozen mojito. Frozen drinks are for girls. They should come with a complimentary vacuum. I immediately regret saying that. That’s insane. I’m sorry. Who can afford to give away vacuums? Dish washing gloves!

The jukebox is free. They have Tom Petty in it but it’s not allowed. I assume because it’s just the most played out jukebox choice of all time. Have you ever been to a bar and not heard American Girl? Has anybody? If American Girl plays in a bar but nobody is there to hear it is it still lame?  Misfits. Bob Dylan. Replacements.  Rolling Stones. That’s what I remember. Wild Horses is the groan inducer I’ll pick here.

Food! Pretzel dogs.  It’s a hot dog wrapped in a pretzel.  Or a dream wrapped in a wish. Usually I can only find these in Penn Station. If that’s not enough sodium to kill you they also have potato wedges. Tacos al pastor are supposed to be amazing but I’ve been scared off by the pineapple. I’d imagine one day soon I’ll be in there feeling food snobbish and I’ll order them. “Pretzel dogs? Are you going to microwave them in your trailer on a leftover TV dinner tray? Give me the slow roasted pork taco with the Serrano chili pineapple salsa.”  

They also have Sloppy Joes but I’ve never seen somebody get them.  Confession, I had to research Sloppy Joes for this. I’ve never seen one. Loose meat sandwiches. That’s what she said? They are also known as Steamers in parts of the South.  Always thought Steamers were more of a Cleveland thing. I don’t want to eat that kind either.  Yeah, that was a 5 sentence set up for a terrible joke.

Do you ever want to splash water on your face? But you’re afraid everybody else in the bathroom is going to think you are about to start bathing? They have private bathrooms here. Splash away. 

Pool table.  Stars on the felt. It goes with the eclectic nautical vibe. If Sailor Jerry’s had a bar this would be it. Or Brian Wilson. I wish Brian Wilson was the bartender. He’d tell me I’d had enough. And I’d say “Really Brian Wilson? Star closer for the San Francisco Giants? You think I’ve had enough?” and we’d just laugh.  He’d throw his bar towel over his shoulder put his hands on his hips and say “Oh you! Promise we’ll be friends forever Jim. ” Forever? Forever ever? Forever is a long time Brian. It’s just a long time.

Cheap drinks
Cool bartenders
Funky theme
Free jukebox featuring Glen Danzig
Pretzel Dog
Pool table
Private bathroom

It gets really crowded
No Tom Petty is Un-American

CONLCUSION:  A good time will be had by all. It’s better early but what place isn’t? It’s a free jukebox which is exactly why you shouldn’t lock it up. Let somebody else get a spin. Think of me as you eat a pretzel dog and bath in the bathroom sink.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Whitehorse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern is a famous bar on the corner of Hudson and 11th Street. It was Dylan Thomas's regular pub and Jack Kerouac was thrown out of it so many times somebody wrote on the bathroom wall "Go home Jack!" It is also one of the first bars I went to after officially moving to the boroughs. It's awesome. 

That's not the place I'm talking about though. Bring your lady there. Bring your parents there. I'll be at the similar but not same named Whitehorse Tavern in the Financial District. I don't know who you could bring there. Somebody without much to live for I suppose. Did I mention this is my favorite bar in the city? 

How do I describe it? There is a second floor that I've never made it to. It's cheap. Very cheap. One of those Cowboy Special places. Pint can of PBR and a shot of rack liquor for $5. To really live the full experience pick Old Crow Whiskey as your shot with the special. You'll thank me never. It tastes awful. Fun fact. During the Civil War a Pennsylvania brigade thought Old Crow was the only good thing to ever come from the South. They even wrote to Lincoln about it. Guess they never tried pecan pie.

There is an old lady who walks around there. Presumably the owner. Her name is Helen. She’s Irish. It says on Yelp if you remember her name she’ll give you a free drink but I haven’t seen it happen.  I think the secret is saying hello in a threatening manner.  Old people scare easily. Maybe give her a little shake. Like a magic 8 ball. Jostle her and turn her upside down. Outlook good for a drink now.

The clientele is all male.  There may be a couple of suits because of where it’s located but mostly regular filthy dudes.  Not that I’m damning the place for it. This is actually right in my wheelhouse. I don’t want to get drunk in front of women. Then I might actually end up talking to one. Why would I want to do that? So we could go out to dinner? Laugh at the same things?  Share a dessert?  Fall in love?  Go on a couple’s cruise? No god damn you. I can’t. I get sea sick man. How am I going to spend a week on a boat?

The food was suitably depressing. I ate Sheppard’s Pie. There is nothing more appropriate to eat while drowning your sorrows than Sheppard’s Pie. It’s the saddest bastard on the menu. It comes with a side order of pity. I can’t stand pity. I’ve always been more of a French fry man. But I would take pity over onion rings.

Cheap Drinks
$5 special
Walking distance from N, R, 4, 5 and 1.
Never crowded
No onion rings
I wish I was there now

Men only (unofficially)
I'm not there

CONCLUSION: If Jack Kerouac was alive today I'd bet my life this is the Whitehorse he would prefer. I hope one day the bathroom wall will say "Get out Jim!"  Then one day somebody will ask "Who is Jim?" and the bartender will say "I think he was the guy who kept ordering the Sheppard's Pie. God he could be depressing." 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miller's Place

I really wanted the first place I picked to be special. Instead I just went with Miller's Place. A dive bar of sorts that doesn't even exist anymore. It's the bar that I spent the most time in. I had friends that worked there. It's my home court. Or was my home court. You can't go home again. I'm about to get seriously wistful here.

Located near the Massapequa Park train station it was the rare Long Island bar you didn't have to drive to. It was a quick walk across the empty commuter parking lot past a couple of other local bars. The bar ran along the wall to the left and it started right by the door.  There was also darts in the front. Shouldn't bars have darts or a pool table? I'm not really going to play either. I'm useless on a pool table and the only thing I can effectively throw while drunk is a hissy fit. An epic drunk hissy fit.

Miller's stools were bar height full backed chairs which I like. I want to be comfortable at a bar. I'm going to be there awhile. The menu was pretty typical but the cooks did a good job. Easily the best mozzarella sticks I've ever had.  They had Reuben potato skins which were pretty interesting. I think it was pastrami, sauerkraut and Russian dressing under mozzarella on a potato skin. They had a skirt steak too. I don't know. Pretty basic but it tasted good. In Park Slope everything's got to be an ethnic delicacy. Or a cheeseburger place. What's with all the god damn cheeseburger places around here? Let me count them off for you. Cheeburger. Five Guys. Corner Burger. Flipsters. And coming soon Bare Burger. Do we really need 5 burger places in Park Slope? Who eats all these burgers? Show yourself! I know I just slammed ethnic delicacies and fancy food but who lives in Park Slope to end up at a fucking CHEEBURGER?!?

My Park Slope induced anger has knocked the wistfulness out of me. So let's get back on track. Miller's had some cheap booze. Real cheap. Almost free cheap. There was a beer pong table which I rarely won at and a jukebox that I frequently dominated.

If you've been out drinking with me you've seen me dominate a jukebox. Most likely you've also seen me play a song that makes the whole place groan. The time I did it at Miller's I played a Cat Stevens song. Somebody screamed out "This sounds like some shit my mother would play!" and then the owner came over and unplugged the machine.

One last thing. The girls that worked there were hot. Most girls working at bars are hot. But the girls here were spectacularly hot. There was a girl named Elyse who I would chop down the last rain forest and kill the last unicorn to drink the bath water of. She told me she liked my glasses once and my erection grew so fast I wasn't sure which would burst first the fly of my jeans or my cock. It was 3 whole minutes before I realized that I hadn't said anything back but was red faced and tightly grasping the edge of the bar. I'm pretty sure I fainted right off my chair into a pool of water. Like when Mickey gets knocked out in Snatch.  

Free drinks
Train access
Darts/beer pong
Cool owner
Reuben skins
Victoria's Secret Angels who worked there
Free drinks

Anti - Cat Stevens establishment
Bathroom (Pete always took a shit here. Like his personal shitting room)
Reuben skins. (Live fast. Die young. Less cool when applied to food.)

CONCLUSION: Oh Miller's. Like the deserts miss the rain. It really set the bar. (bad pun or the worst pun?) It was my Cheer's. Only with more fighting. And I want to have sex with Carla.  It's gone but it'll be the bar I compare all other bars to for a long time.


Sunday, August 14, 2011


I used to have a blog. It was fun. Mostly me complaining about girls. Making lots of poopy jokes. It turned into a muddled mess though. There was no direction.

What it needed was a word or acronym that I had only previously heard of in pornography. POV. I worked on a TV show that really stressed people to determine their POV and then when I told somebody I was thinking of starting a blog again they asked about it as well.

I have ideas. Things I want to write about and talk about with people. Then I came up with this totally bitchin name for a blog and had to build my POV around it. I've always been a fan of shows like Three Sheets, No Reservations and Insomniac. Travel shows where the host can have a drink. Ultimately I want to be Ford Prefect. That's right ladies I like English science fiction. Come over and we'll have a Doctor Who marathon.

So I'm going to profile bars I've been to. Things that happen at those bars. And sometimes as a special treat I will still be drunk while doing so. Those will be the ones that mix in Johnny Cash lyrics and end with me crying.

Oh and uh...welcome to the human race.