Photos Sam Polcer
Brooklyn’s love of Germanic drinking-settings has traveled down to South Slope, minus the sausage. Joining Radegast, Berry Park, Buschenschank and the rest is Greenwood Park, a 13,000-square-foot beer yard near the northwestern edge of Green-Wood Cemetery. The latest project of Brooklyn bar vets Larry Hyland and Ted Mann (Public Assembly, Bar Matchless, Camp), the sprawling space opened in June after months of pesky permit negotiations, and it’s been packed ever since. (We are obliged to mention here that Mann’s biological father is Ted Nugent—what?!)
Aside from the sprawl and attention to beer, the owners skirt the Munich mold. There’re no liters of lager or communal, mustard-specked benches. Instead, there’s a random collection of tables of various sizes scattered across the spacious graveled yard. There are three bocce courts—one-upping and two-upping fellow Brooklyn ballers Union Hall and Floyd—while faded automotive signs and three garage doors, which lead to the industrial bar inside, nod to the space’s former life as a body shop. The place is comfy, even if the seating is unnecessarily sparse. Expect to stand.
The 25 drafts ($6-$8) are divided into “Brewed in NY” or “Brewed Elsewhere,” including local and not-so-local American craft standards like Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold and Founders Centennial IPA. Pitchers ($18) are a nice touch, given their scarcity in Brooklyn, and a shorter bottle list balances humble light lagers with large-format regional favorites like Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace ($15). Spirits are standard, and passable cocktails ($6-$10) rotate often. And while an affordable wine list is in the works—glasses and four tapped options run $6-$7—it’s evident that the bar’s passion comes in a pint glass. Er, a plastic cup that is.
There actually is one sausage: a decent Italian link topped with peppers and garlic mayo ($8). But that’s it. I’m all for low-key bar food; it’s probably my favorite food group. But Greenwood’s menu feels uninspired, especially given the more ambitious fare at the borough’s other beery establishments. A few wurst variations could seriously better the just-OK burgers, dogs and wings.
Then there are bouncers. Multiple bouncers actually, who will probably frisk you. At a bar in Park Slope. (They are also known to confiscate water bottles.) The place does get a bit rowdy at night, as parents and precocious Brooklyn youth give way to a burlier set of beer drinkers—a “Bay Ridge bro-down,” as a nearby dad remarked condescendingly. But a dearth of outdoor drinking venues nearby suggests that this newcomer has nothing to worry about. Plus, the mixed crowd is refreshing, and leads to worthwhile interactions at the communal bathroom. Large man to my wife: “Come here often?” My wife to large man: “It just opened a week ago.” Large man: silence. Scene.