Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bar Spotlight: Franklin Park

Franklin Park
618 St. John's Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Official Site Here

Now a lot has been said about Franklin Park since it's opening last year in the western part of Crown Heights near the Eastern Parkway and the Brooklyn Museum. It's owner, Matt Roff, who heads up other Brooklyn beauties like Galapagos and Southpaw, somehow went under the radar and headed a little east for this establishment. A beer garden in Crown Heights? Competition for 95 South? Probably not. Adding a few things to the mix in the area? For sure.

Now there's the Radegast in Williamsburg, which isn't anywhere close, but hey, now there seems to be one within striking distance everywhere in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.

When I first went in the summer, I thought to myself, well this is it? The "garden" wasn't really much if a nice concrete area with a few picnic tables and some menus of wonderful food. It's nice, clean, and inside the bar has cool accents like subway tiles and mood lighting. And an ATM because it's cash only here folks. I thought ok this is nice to have; there's really not too many hipsters, some young professionals, or Greenpeace workers.

Now, I go there a couple times with none other than Mr. Marvelous Observations himself, due to the fact that he lived on Sterling at the time. Grab a pint of Jever for five bucks (it's one of the cheaper items) and rock out.

I'm about to give up on the place just because there's not much fueling me to go back there nor do I have friends around the area. But the last time I went definitely was worth a Bar Spotlight.

It's the idea that bars can adapt and evolve into something more, a logical progression that hits the spot. I'm talking about, ok so if most of your 2,000 square feet of space is outside, then what do you do when it gets cold? Open up a huge indoor annex with hemisphere booths, another bar, more bathrooms, and skeeball? And DJs spinning (although when I went the DJ went from awesome to doing 30 second blips which got really tiring). There's something soulful about the indoor space, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the first few times we heard some nice dub and rocksteady. Or maybe because the easy mix of twentysomethings in the place flows pretty well and there's a lot of space to stand; it's really just one giant monster room and the hallway has a few steps that go down to the bathroom area. The curved bar has plenty of seats, and the staff is alert and friendly. Oh and the mood lighting again.

That is how a bar becomes a functional thing of beauty, when it alters it's makeup to suit the seasons. Whether the patronage really feels like an organic mix and local has yet to be seen, but it doesn't hurt that it's well done and that earns my respect.

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