THE WAY STATION, a Prospect Heights bar and performance space named after Clifford D. Simak’s science fiction novel, embraces a steampunk aesthetic. The bar’s Doctor Who references may draw sci-fi fans looking for a time machine, but even if you haven’t the faintest idea what a TARDIS or Gallifreyan are, the tempting drinks and imaginative interior make a visit to The Way Station worth the trip.
Owner Andy Heidel, a former sciencefiction book publicist and sometime bartender, channeled his industrial- Victorian aesthetic into The Way Station’s sci-fi touches. Behind the bar, homemade steampunk "rayguns" such as the absinthespoon-shooting "Intoxicator," crafted by Heidel and his business partner Doc Wasabassco, hang on an exposed brick wall. Nearby, a replica of the TARDIS, the Doctor Who spacecraft and time machine that’s disguised as a blue police box, stands ready to transport visitors—but only to the bar’s bathroom.
On a recent night, a mostly indie soundtrack filled the air and the tattooed bartender happily mixed selections from
The Way Station’s just-released summer libations list. The Train Wreck ($9), which the menu deemed "summer in a glass," included Tanqueray gin, muddled cucumber, Ruby Red grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and seltzer, making it a mildly tart, but completely delicious, concoction. But the Dark & Stormy ($7), made with Kraken dark rum, D&G Old Jamaican ginger beer and fresh lime, was candy sweet, and the flavor of lime seemed entirely lost. Though it’s not listed on the menu, the bar’s signature drink, The Way Station ($11), a heady mix of Lucid absinthe, Cointreau, seltzer and fresh lime, is available by request.
The "Gallifreyan" drink menu (a reference to an alien planet in Doctor Who) offered three brilliantly colored "Sonic Screwdrivers," $9 each, named for the multipurpose tool the Doctor and his pals employ. The "River’s Red Setting," which refers to the character "Professor River Song" and the "red setting" on her sonic screwdriver, mixed orange juice, Absolut citron and grenadine to dazzling effect. Simpler possibilities included the "Captain
Jack" ($9) (another nod to a Doctor Who character), which combined Captain Morgan rum, Jack Daniels, Coke and a cherry, and the "Companion" ($5), a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon accompanied by a half-shot of Jack Daniels.
Due to delays in opening and the ensuing costs, The Way Station had only one beer tap (once Heidel can afford a full tap system, he plans to install one) and offered a rotating regional brew for $5. Recent options have included Brooklyn favorites Six Point Sweet Action and Kelso Pilsner, as well as Peak Organic Summer Session Ale from Maine. The other beer choices were fairly standard, with bottles of Yuengling, Blue Moon, Red Stripe, Bud Light and Corona, all $5, as well as cans of Guinness ($5) and Pabst Blue Ribbon ($3), available.
Since it opened in February, The Way Station has been picking up steam. The TARDIS has proved a powerful magnet for Doctor Who fans from around the region, and Heidel says curious visitors from as far away as Alaska, Florida and Texas have ventured into the bar. And though you won’t be transported to another dimension, you could easily lose track of time at The Way Station.
>> THE WAY STATION
683 Washington Ave. (betw. Prospect Pl. & St. Marks Ave.), Brooklyn, www.waystationbk.blogspot.com.