Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Brooklyn Social - "Non-Members Welcome"

by Fredo

When I first ventured to Smith Street in Brooklyn during the mid-1990s for friends’ house party the strip was ghost town. The street was populated by boarded up storefronts, a few car services, a pizzeria, dilapidated bodegas, and a few old social clubs. Back in those days, one did not stroll down Smith from Atlantic Avenue to 9th Street; one walked at a brisk pace and kept your wits about you. There were a lot of hard looks and it seemed the only friendly faces beamed out of the social club doors. A quick glance inside revealed old men playing dominos or smoking cigars in wood paneled rooms.

Well times have changed. The wave of gentrification arrived and quicker than you can order a steak frites at Bar Tabac; the new Smith Street was born. The old storefronts are now bistros, boutiques, and bars. The last bodega closed down was replace by an Asian fusion resturant. There is a bar on every block. But one bar has opened in the past three years that stands above the rest. Instead of shunning the old Smith Street, it celebrates it. The joint is called Brooklyn Social, a renovated old Sicilian social club.

The Scoop: Owners Matt Dawson and his partners obviously love the old Brooklyn. The bar is homage to the men who worked hard at blue-collar jobs and then stopped into socialize with their fellow paesani over some grappa or vino di tavola. The dark oak wood bar and fixtures have been dusted off and look like new. The copper ceiling, painted red is a tribute to fine workmanship. The main room contains the bar and two intimate alcoves for discussing “business”; the back room has a pool table and the bathrooms.

Bevi: I have sampleda majority of the outstanding cocktails on their list! At under ten dollars a cocktail the place is a worker’s paradise. Recently, I ordered a Plymouth Gin Negroni and it was right on the money. For the ladies, I suggest the Fellini, a champagne drink with rosemary.

Mangia:The joint also offers a choice of three grilled panini sandwiches — priced at $7 and includes a crisp pickle — a welcome treat when you’re engaging in some all-night watering!

Alas, friendly faces once again beam out of a social club on Smith. But this time all are welcome. The bar’s slogan is “Non-Members Welcome.” Plus you’ll probably find some of the Loungerati hanging outside puffing on stogies on a lazy Tuesday night.

Brooklyn Social
335 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Cross Street; Carroll St.
Subway: F/G to Carroll Street.


(originally publised in the Barfly's Beat - April 2006)

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