497 Fifth Ave, Park Slope, 212-475-4600
Cheapest Drink: $3 pint of Yuengling
Most Expensive Drink: $7 Antioxidant Martini
Extras: Liberal, horny personal ads. Cheese.
A Commonwealth regular described the south Slope as primarily “middle class, over-educated white people.” Sounds more like Scandinavia than Brooklyn, but rings true for the young designers, students, and DPs sharing elbow room here. The bar’s patrons resemble the usual clientele of a Williamsburg/East Village casual bar, but out here in the suburbs of hipsterdom, Commonwealth is apparently a relief from investment-banker bourgeoisie and log-cabin-lesbian mommies occupying brownstones along Prospect Park.
Every first Wednesday of the month, a left-leaning group called “Drinking Liberally” meets at Commonwealth to bemoan Bush and pursue Democratic one-night stands. The bar has become — in the words of another regular — a “safe haven” for gays, straights, minorities, etc. I will note that during my time there the one black gentleman in the bar sat alone in the corner, staring into the happy crowd. But lonely men come in all colors. The place is otherwise filled with friendly people, including a bartender happy to play her necessary role as half political pundit, half shallow-party girl (what’s the difference, anyway?)
The mahogany wood bar aside, Common-wealth is unadorned, with an indie-rock jukebox and ripped cushion seating (too charming to be accidental, perhaps). To the left of the bar, a wall features “Brutally Honest Personal Ads,” where the over-educated Slopers advertise their longings and wit. “31-year-old pysch student with violent STD seeks violent lover.” “Wake up with an erection? Call me.” There is also a self-described “limited snack selection” of either Hungarian spiced or Kentucky beer cheese. Both are delicious, but $6 is a more market-driven than socialist price.