This wonderful book awaits you at Hope & Anchor’s karaoke night. Photo by Katy Hershberger.
I sing a lot of karaoke. It’s not something I’m proud of, and also, it’s something I’m extremely proud of. It’s not about belting the perfect rendition of “Since U Been Gone” (that song is actually crazy hard to sing). It’s about a feeling, a community, and being a rock star for four minutes. (Karaoke rule No. 1: Please don’t sing any song longer than that.)
There are now enough karaoke bars and nights in Brooklyn that if you wanted to, you could sing karaoke every night of the week without leaving the borough. So I did. I hit nine bars in 10 days. When my friends couldn’t make it, I went solo. I sang a duet with a stranger. I saw a celebrity. I heard a lot of Prince tributes. I started using the groan-worthy term KJ (karaoke jockey). I didn’t sing the same song twice. And I learned a few things about the genre (anything from No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom is a crowd pleaser, anywhere) and myself (karaoke people are the best people). Based on my exciting and exhausting research, enjoy this guide to karaoke bars in Brooklyn including where you can find everything from new indie rock songs, a Hamilton piano singalong and heavy metal karaoke that comes with a free shot. Now, anybody have a lozenge? (more…)
Dive bars of Brooklyn, we drink to you. Lone Wolf photo by Emily Paup.
A sports bar conjures up images of chads chowing down wings and sexually harassing waitresses who laugh it off for a decent tip. Beer bars have all the brews in our solar system, and bartenders who can write you a dissertation on each one. Gay bars have jukeboxes containing only Robyn. What is a dive bar though?
It definitely shouldn’t be defined by the terrible old cliche of “a place where hipsters rub elbows with [INSERT BLUE COLLAR TROPE]” because that veers dangerously close to giving a cop or a sanitation guy mystical features. It shouldn’t be a place that is cheap above all else, because a hellhole with cheap beer is still a hellhole.
A dive bar is a place that should have cheap beer, yes, but also decent service and some sense of being permanently etched into the landscape. If it’s baffling or intimidating to newcomers, all the better. If you walk into a bar, sit down with your beer and are suddenly being lectured on the terrible decision the Rangers made to trade for goddamn Phil Esposito 40 years ago, you know you’re in the right place. Or at least I know I am. A dive bar, more than any other kind of bar, is a place that acts as a bulwark against a world that is more often completely shitty than anything else.
Some of the bars on this list have existed as bars since seemingly the beginning of time, others are new but well on their way to permanence. Several reject the slummy dive bar aesthetic for something a little snazzier. Due to the sometimes anonymous nature of the dive, this list is far from all encompassing. Still, all these spots share an edge and patrons who don’t give a fuck what you think when you walk in the door. And Brooklyn is all the better for them. — Dave Colon (more…)