1120 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint. 3 out of 5 L's
Brooklyn has many types of beards. There is the "Seacrest Stubble," popular with web designers in flannel shirts. Then there is the "Mild Fuzz," a favorite of lazy freelancers, which can often transition into the "Reasonable Mountain Man," often seen on guys who make their own beer and play in indie bluegrass bands. The guys who hang out at Saint Vitus, however, can often be seen sporting the "Full Rasputin." These are serious fucking beards for people who are serious about their metal: wiry brambles that hang over their black T-shirts and hoodies and worn-in flannels.
I edged my way through the crowd on a balmy Saturday night, ears ringing from the fuzzy guitar chords rumbling from the stereo. Despite the metal theme, the place is anything but skuzzy. It was designed by Mathew Maddy, the man responsible for posh spots like No. 7 and Weather Up, and he uses plenty of the same design elements here—black subway tile, Edison bulbs, hardwood floors—for a look that walks the line between dingy dive bar and upscale cocktail joint.
I was served by a stringy dude in a Faith No More t-shirt, who was pouring plenty of $4 St. Vitus Brews from Narragansett Brewing Co., one of eight beers on tap, including selections from local breweries like Sixpoint and Captain Lawrence. Also popular with the crowd: PBRs and picklebacks made with brine from local pickle-makers Brooklyn Brine.One thing you'll find here that you won't find at other metal bars are specialty cocktails made with homemade ingredients, no surprise considering the owners also run nearby foodie favorite Anella. In the back, a man dishes out cheap buns, filled with everything from pulled pork and green chili to BBQ tofu and cilantro, a real steal considering the $3 price tag.
Out in the front bar area, it's all about the classics, screaming tunes from Danzig and heroes of metal past. In back, a modest cover will grant you access to the dark stage area, where bands like Liturgy and Black Skies grind out music for rock-thirsty audiences tired of twee indie tunes. One word of advice: if you're not into heavy guitar riffs and dudes with long hair, this bar might not be for you. I have yet to see a bar in Brooklyn with more denim vests and ratty backwards hats. If you do, however, have a few old Iron Maiden t-shirts hanging in the back of your closet, this is the perfect place to sip a cocktail while recounting the old head-banging days.
Photo Rebecca Shepherd