Crown Victoria 

Crown Victoria
60 South 2nd St, Williamsburg
Rating: 4 out of 5 L's

Back before the neighborhood was filled with condos and boutiques, this place serviced old Crown Vics, fixing them up so gypsy cab owners could harass you at the airport. Today, the smell of sweat and motor oil is gone; Irish-born owner Joe Herron (who also owns Brooklyn bars Last Exit and Quarter) has retrofitted the space into one of Williamsburg's more intriguing summer drinking destinations. The picket fence outside looks a little ridiculous considering it's hemming in a big square of concrete in front of a former auto shop. Despite its industrial feel, the patio is a pleasant place to do some day-drinking or flirt in the forgiving darkness of night. Large, umbrella-topped picnic tables create a communal vibe, making it easy to bounce from table to table in search of new friends.

How you feel about drinking amongst tumbling toddlers might affect your willingness to visit before 6pm. I don't mind them, as long they're gone by the time the sun starts going down and their parents don't give me dirty looks after I drop a few accidental F-bombs. In fact, one little girl made my afternoon, waving to me from behind a pair of comically thick, round prescription glasses.

The adult crowd wears similarly idiosyncratic eyewear, although they are less likely to randomly smile and wave at you. They're an attractive bunch. They wear crisp, clean clothes presumably from tiny shops decorated with taxidermied animals. The drink of choice is usually beer; choose from 24 of them, mostly American craft brews from breweries like Captain Lawrence and Allagash. There is also a decent selection of the brown stuff, single-malt Scotches and bottles of Irish whiskey. Soon the kitchen will be serving upscale pub fare, including burgers made from grass-fed beef courtesy of the Meat Hook as well as fish and chips fried in a Sixpoint batter.

Inside, the bar has the feel of a classic Irish pub. The walls are covered in a combination of handsome wood paneling and brick coated in pea-green paint, making it a warm and welcoming place to sit down with a glass of whiskey. There are about 60 seats in all, some along the long bar made with wood reclaimed from the Coney Island boardwalk and more in the tall, wooden booths that border thickset pine tables. It's positively cozy, despite the sky-high ceilings originally built to accommodate full-sized sedans. Now, if you could only convince a cabbie to take you here from Manhattan, you'd be set.


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