LP & Harmony
683 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Rating: 2 out of 5 Ls
I'm not a huge believer in feng shui, but something feels a little off in the design of Williamsburg's new pool joint/music venue LP & Harmony. First, however, let's talk about the good things. For one, it's refreshingly unpretentious. Sports jerseys, old t-shirts, hipster glasses, suits-I saw them all when I visited, a sign of a diverse crowd that really doesn't care what you're wearing. The beer selection is pretty basic, bottles and cans of brews like Stella and PBR stored in two clawfoot bathtubs packed to the brim with ice.
I sat at a small wooden table surrounded by baseball fans watching the World Series. I hate both teams: the once-owned-by-George Bush Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants, archrivals to my beloved Dodgers. The crowd was heavily pro-Giants, so I quietly drank my beer and watched captivated as a squat bulldog ran back and forth across the bar chasing a tennis ball.
"What's his name?" I asked a man with thin, wiry glasses and a flat cap. "Busta," he replied. "Like Buster Brown but with an A."
The part of the crowd that wasn't watching baseball was crowded around the two pool tables—mostly thickset dudes and their girlfriends laughing and talking shit to one another. At the bar, which is long and curved and decorated with LPs set under the glass, sat the thin, bearded men the neighborhood has become so famous for, along with a few women wearing vintage everything. In back is a small stage equipped with bongo drums, where the bar hosts open-mic nights the first Thursday of every month, and will eventually book small acts to play on weekends.
LP & Harmony
It's a nice, casual spot to catch a game if you happen to live in the neighborhood but, as I mentioned before, there is something off about it. It makes a bad impression from the get-go as you squeeze by cue-wielding bar patrons to get to the part of the bar not completely filled up with pool tables. Combined with the unflattering bright lighting, the place looks like a sterile pool hall from the outside, not the friendly neighborhood bar you eventually discover when you make your way to the back.
The décor also gives off confused signals: is this a music joint or a sports bar? The vinyl records, digital jukebox and stage give one message, while the portrait of Babe Ruth, three sports-tuned HDTVs and crowded pool tables give off another. It's a friendly, pleasant enough bar, but sadly it tries to be two things and doesn't do either particularly well.
Photos by Ashley Minette