Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brooklyn's 11 Smokiest Smokeasies

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Smoking in NYC bars
Ten years ago, when Bloomberg's smoking ban went into effect, many bars flouted the law: at midnight, or 2am, or 4am, the bartender would pull out a stack of hidden-away ashtrays and space them along the bar like votive candles. That only lasted a few months, though—agents started enforcing the law more seriously, and most bars resigned themselves to the fact that they had no choice but to obey. The last time I was in a Brooklyn bar that let people smoke after hours (a few months ago), it was the first time I'd seen it in many years, and it was something of a shock. Apparently I've been hanging out in the wrong places—there are spots throughout Brooklyn that have continued to face fines for allowing patrons to smoke. The Daily News recently published a list of the top offenders.

Johnnys Lounge Brooklyn
1. Jonny's Lounge
This Bensonhurst spot, at 38 Ave. O near the Bay Parkway N stop, has received 14 violations since 2011, although it hasn't been hit in almost a year, which makes it seem like maybe they've gone straight. Does anybody know anything about this place? It has essentially no web presence, and Google Street View doesn't even have anything for this stretch of Avenue O. Eep. [photo]

Gowanus American Legion Brooklyn Ninth Street
2. American Legion Post 1636
Groan. Really? The Gowanus hall on Ninth Street received 10 violations since 2011. "The city previously allowed club members to smoke inside, but Post leaders failed to renew their 'membership association' waiver, which would have allowed them to smoke inside," the Daily News reports. And though the Legion's state finance director urges them to follow the law, the local community board is rolling its eyes. "It seems bizarre to me that the city would go out of their way to target what in effect is a private organization," the district manager told the paper. [photo]

39 Karaoke Sunset Park
3. 39 Karaoke
This Chinatown spot near Eighth Avenue, not far from Sunset Park (the actual park), racked up nine violations since 2011. This makes sense, since a cigarette is an essential prop for proper karaoke performance. It's just not a credible Frank Sinatra impression without one. [photo]

Uh, this place, I think?
  • Uh, this place, I think?
4. NY Hollywood Club Inc.
Uh, this generic sounding spot is another in Sunset Park, alongside the N tracks on 62nd Street, and another with no web presence. It sure seems like the places that have been letting people smoke are the kinds not trying to draw too much attention to themselves.

Redds Williamsburg
5. Redd's Tavern
Hey! A place you might have heard of! This well-liked Williamsburg spot on Grand Street received eight violations since 2011, the same number as NY Hollywood Club, so I guess they're really tied for fourth. [photo]

Commodore Williamsburg
  • The Commodore
6 (tied). Old Baku, The Commodore, Rozafa Lounge
Old Baku is a Middle Eastern restaurant on Ditmas Avenue, near the F train stop, in Kensington, whose Facebook page features a photograph of a young man smoking in front of an ashtray. Rozafa is a Gravesend spot, which serves Albanian food and features live music, on a stretch of Avenue S that Google Street View has once again not bothered to map. And you know The Commodore, on Metropolitan. All three received seven violations each. [photo]

Alibi Brooklyn Fort Greene
  • Alibi
9 (tied). Hot Bird, Alibi, Kafe Dibrane
Ah, Alibi, on DeKalb in Fort Greene, is the sort of downstairs dive you could imagine people smoking in. Kafe Dibrane is in Gravesend, an easy walk from the aforementioned Rozafa Lounge. And Hot Bird, of course, is the Clinton Hill favorite with that big-ass backyard. (Er, front yard?) Each got themselves six violations in roughly the last two years. [photo]

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About The Author

Henry Stewart

Henry Stewart

Henry Stewart is the Culture Editor at The L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine. He has always lived in Brooklyn.

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