Erv’s on Beekman
2122 Beekman place, Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Beekman Place is a dead-end street in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, one of three such lonely spurs off Flatbush that end abruptly at the B/Q Brighton Line, which runs along the eastern side of Prospect Park. There are only a few businesses on the block; most of it is taken up by colossal apartment towers. On cold, drizzly nights, the rumble of the unseen subway in the air, Beekman feels like the setting of a film noir.
The newest business on the block is Erv’s, a cafe by day, bar by night that opened in October. On one recent cold, drizzly night, the street-facing windows were fogged and dewy; the only thing passersby could see from the outside was the neon sign in the upper corner, Erv’s scrawled in cursive, glowing pink. Inside, Erv’s is cozy and warm, maybe 250 square feet, bisected by an angular wooden and corrugated metal bar. The decor is limited to the mirror along the back wall and two blown-glass chandeliers hanging like arrested fireworks over the one table in the bar.
Erv’s has a small craft beer list, including offerings from Victory, 21st Amendment, and Stone, but the real bread-and-butter are the cocktails. Here is a place where time moves a little slower, where conversations between you and a friend soon include others at the bar, and your polite bartender, who will make you anything for which you have some vague desire. Throw him an alcohol request, and watch him work. Or play it safe, since you won’t go wrong with the house specialties, which include the Señor Hemingway (tequila, mezcal, grapefruit, lime, maraschino liqueur), Big Willie Style (bourbon, spiced-honey balsamic reduction, muddled strawberries) and Paradise Found (Barbancourt, allspice dram, lemon-lime cordial, served up with a peated scotch rinse). There is also a rotating selection of Fernet cocktails, by turns smoky, bitter, frothy, zesty.
Given the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, and this bar’s focus on craft cocktails, it’s tempting to symbolize Erv’s. Its deviser and co-owner is Robert Giles, late of Clarkson, and its principal investor is Steve Fishman, a contributing editor at New York. It’s about a block away from a new gourmet market. It’s the sort of accessible, easygoing joint you might not trek to from North Brooklyn or Park Slope, but at which you would become a regular if you’ve already relocated from those neighborhoods. Erv’s has no pretensions, though. Nor is it trying all that hard to win your affection. The sign is the flashiest thing about it.