Happy Fun Hideaway
1211 Myrtle Avenue, Bushwick
Even though some new bar opens in the area every few weeks, I’ve noticed a void of relaxed, cheaply priced, aggressively kitschy places in Bushwick ever since the neighborhood’s ill-fated, slapped-together branch of Beauty Bar shut down. But not anymore.
Opened last month by the owners of nearby DIY space Secret Project Robot (and located in the middle of the busy stretch between Bossa Nova Civic Club and Fort Useless), Happy Fun Hideaway is, by design, a neighborhood bar, not a destination to which anyone’s likely to travel too far (or ask for by its full name, if they can help it). If you are in the neighborhood, though, the happy hour (between 4pm and 9pm, with a dollar off the already-cheap $5 well drinks) is solid, as is the ample indoor and outdoor seating (there’s a backyard), and welcome, if hit-or-miss, array of vegetarian junk food. (Spring for the pesto chik-patty sandwich or the Frito pie, but definitely skip the cheese plate.)
More than anything, though, Hideaway was conceived—and is at its best—not as a game-changing spot for food or cocktails but just as a place for locals to relax. Its thorough-bordering-on-crazy commitment to tropical decorating is admirable, and it’ll likely make the place a welcome oasis in colder months, but they’ve also got open turntables (usually playing surf-oriented oldies, but occasionally veering toward electronic once it gets past a certain hour), a couple of vintage arcade games, walls full of work by local artists, and another wall on which they’ll project just about anything: Endless Summer, one of the Puppet Master movies, episodes of Blue Planet.
The cocktail menu features appropriately on-theme $6 options like a Drunken Sailor or something called a “Coconut Cloud,” as well as an $18 pitcher of margaritas (which comes with too much ice). The safest bet here, really, is beer, wine, or well liquor, all of which are cheaper than they would be at almost any neighborhood competitor: 2 for $5 mugs of draft Budweiser (or $3 cans), $5 bottles of Sierra Nevada and Pacifico, multiple beer-and-shot specials, and of course the attention-grabbing $3 glasses of Franzia. The point here isn’t so much what you’re drinking, exactly, but the idea that you’ll be drinking it among friends.