My first visit to Greenpoint’s Blackout Bar did not go well.The new bar, brought to us by the people behind clothing boutique Oak, was the site of an event that brought such a swarm of thirsty, hirsute homosexuals that the bartenders were slammed, unable to keep up even a little with the simple cocktail demands of their patrons, so much so that I ignored the well-curated selection of liquor behind the bar and ordered a boring old vodka and soda. I’m happy to report that subsequent visits led to much more positive results.
On a normal evening, this Manhattan Avenue establishment hosts a polysexual amalgam of plaid-clad locals, college kids taking advantage of the all day $5 special of a well shot and a Schlitz and homosexuals of every stripe. DJs here seem to favor straight up party music—not one of my three visits went by without hearing at least one tune by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.Which is to say, the place is far more laidback than you might think.
My beer-drinking companions complimented the bar’s choice of European brews on tap, but I’m a cocktail man at heart so I went straight for the specialty cocktail list.The Big Easy ($8) is a sweeter (though not sweet), fruitier take on a Manhattan with rye, muddled cherries and the ginger liqueur Domaine De Canton. More interesting is The Orchard ($8), a twist on apple cider made with Appleton rum, apple juice and Pimm’s. Speaking of Pimm’s, the bar is often so overheated that a summery Pimm’s Cup ($9) might be in order. It’s not on the specialty list, but someone will gladly whip one up for you, and I must say I quite enjoyed the muddled cucumber the friendly bartenders employed, giving mine a light, refreshing vibe that went down far too easily. Blackout indeed.
Speaking of blackouts, the name also nods to the design aesthetic, as the entire establishment is swathed in black: black-painted tin ceilings, black floors, black walls and black leather banquettes in the front area giving way to the even darker (and quieter) back area filled with even more leather banquettes. A back patio for smoking closes very early but it is a nice treat to have while it lasts.
Blackout Bar is most definitely a come-asyou-are place to spend your evening (and drinking money).Whatever your preference, be it boys, girls, cheap beer or well-made cocktails, as long as you avoid the place when it hosts big events, you’ll have a grand time that you may or may not remember fully the next day. But blame it on all that murky darkness; the alcohol never did anything to you.
916 Manhattan Ave. (betw. Kent St. & Greenpoint Ave.), Brooklyn, 718-383-0254.