Brooklyn Public House, 247 DeKalb Ave, Bklyn Rating: 4L's
Die-yupster-scum message board firebombers will hate the upscale gastropub that’s opened in a long-vacant storefront on DeKalb Avenue, epicenter of Fort Greene’s thus-far gentle gentrification. But while I cringe at the thought of the douchebag phone tree catching word of it, I can’t really call there-goes-the-neighborhood on this one. Not a local — like Alibi, across the street — or a sports bar (no TV), or a tapas place or restaurant, Brooklyn Public House creates the niche that it fills.
That said, most “pubs” seem more, well, public than the very curated décor here: if you’re going to be technical, the “public” generally includes ugly heirlooms and old lushes playing video poker for hours at a stretch. The only slippage in the Public House’s climate control is the music selection, which lets in the real world, in all its tackiness. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard “The Gambler” every time I’ve been in here (not that I’m complaining). The ceilings are pressed tin; there’s a black-and-white tile floor, a wall of exposed brick in the front, and heavy wood in back, where the booths and tables are. Several walls are done in bordello-ish velvet flocked wallpaper, perfect for absentmindedly caressing while waiting for the bathroom.
The “gastro” part, meanwhile, gets an incomplete, as the owners begin to integrate more adventurous versions of bar-food staples. For the time being, vegetarians will have to mix and match appetizers — though carnies should know that the seafoods smell strongly enough of butter to induce salivation two booths over, and the burger comes in a jaw-unhinging skyscraper stack, complete with single onion ring — or else just order basket after basket of the (and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here) life-changing fries, heavily seasoned and cooked with the skins on, crispy-brown outside and bountifully soft inside, like Jesus.
But, as in all things, you’re mostly here for the beer. Pints of local and British beers (Coney Island, Blue Point; Old Speckled Hen, Bellhaven) will set you back something like five or seven Ameros, and the bottle selection runs from the Budweisers of this and other countries (Jever: The Kaiser of Beers, $3) to the elaborate prank called Kwak, which comes with a bulb-bottomed beaker to pour the beer into, a wooden stand to hold the beaker, and a coaster to hide your face behind ($9).
Nothing about Brooklyn Public House hollers “your new favorite bar”; but… it’s there, and it’s very thought-out and executed with evident pride (down to the attentive and dedicated staff). The archetypal name is a statement of intent; the Brooklyn Public House is impressively unspectacular.