Veronica People's Club
105 Franklin St, Greenpoint
Rating: 3 out of 5 L's
Have you been to the East Village on a Friday night lately? Even one of my favorite bars, Heathers, is a madhouse, a sweaty scrum of elbows and whiskey sours. Luckily, the owners of that bar have opened a new project in Greenpoint, far away enough from the Bedford stop to discourage the weekend voyeurs who hop on the L train to gawk at hipsters as if they were skinny-jeaned animals in a zoo.
The space has a more rough-hewn feel than its sister establishment, like an unfinished artist's studio, except with a better selection of booze. Architect Julie Torres Moskovitz did an amazing job with the space. A giant drafting table is split in two, the top used to make the bar and the legs reconfigured into a hanging metal lamp, a hulking metal object that miraculously hangs in the air with the help of sturdy cables. The booths are anything but plush; they're made from the same material that skateboard ramps are, which kind of looks like particle board but with a bit more sheen.
I found them strangely comfortable one weekend night. Me and my friend placed our beers on the rusty metal tables and stared at the bizarre lightbox, which featured a gigantic photograph of horses lying down sideways on a bed of autumn leaves. Were the horses supposed to be dead? Asleep? The piece hangs above a serious DJ setup, which will hopefully be used as word about the bar spreads.
We asked if they had any special drinks, to which the bartender replied, "All of our drinks are special," which is to say, specialty cocktails aren't the draw here. It's just simple mixed drinks and seven beers on tap, including Sixpoint, Gosser and Bitburger, which all run about a dollar cheaper than the same drinks at Heathers. The bartenders, many of whom have some kind of stake in the business, tend to be attentive and friendly.
During the day you can walk up to the take-out window in front and order coffee from Intelligentsia and pastries from Ovenly. When 3pm comes around, they open the doors and you can enjoy the afternoon in the backyard. Seats are wooden boxes and a few metal steps that lead to nowhere, like some kind of absurdist hobo camp. Grass-filled holes poking between cinderblocks serve as a warning that high heels are not welcome. It's all delightfully ramshackle and, for now, not a shitshow on Friday nights.Photo By Lizz Kuehl