under the Manhattan Bridge
The evening was looking a little nasty. It was not the kind of night where I could get super excited about sitting outside in the cold for a couple hours. In fact, all I wanted was an empty bar where I could sit gloomily over a depressing can of Genesee, and turn my back on windows looking out onto a world of pain and fast-
approaching winter. But here I was, getting off the train in DUMBO, heading to an outdoor bar. I pressed on through the dark.
Head down, following my phone to the supposed location of my destination, I almost bumped into the friend I was meeting, at the Lighthouse, a new beer kiosk under the
Manhattan Bridge from the good people who run DUMBO stalwart Superfine.
Admittedly, I’m not much of a DUMBO person, but I found myself really taken with the scenery around the Lighthouse. One of the Manhattan Bridge’s massive archways stretches overhead, completely shielding the sky from view. There was absolutely no one else around except for a street- sweeper on a nearby bench, and two women standing inside the cutesy, red-and-white striped, lighthouse-shaped structure. A disco ball spun silently inside the glowing purple kiosk, which was lined with kegs, bottles of wine, and bags of chips. We shouted our orders over the trains and cars and trucks rumbling above, grabbed our beers in plastic cups, and sat down at one of the empty picnic tables.
This being a kiosk, there are minimal options to choose from. You’ve got your unremarkable white and red wines, and for beer, there’s Pacifico Clara and Fire Island Sea Salt Ale on tap, both rather summery choices, but hey, we can’t complain about anything that distracts us from our impending wintery doom.
And that’s exactly what the Lighthouse does best. This place has got all the trappings of summer: picnic tables, a kitschy boardwalk kiosk, and outdoorsy minimalism. It’s really just a spot to (legally) drink under the bridge, but maybe that’s all you need. You’re still at one with the city—dog people and panhandlers walk on through and chat you up or don’t—but you’re also sort of hidden. On weekends, the Lighthouse has a lineup of DJs, but it was pretty dead on a Wednesday night.
But hey, that’s just the way we like it sometimes, especially since every public drinking yard we can think of in this city always seems to be packed to the gills. We imagine the place is filled with strollers and even more dogs on a sunny weekend afternoon, but if that’s not your scene, make like we did and wait for the rain.