Alright, so it’s an intentionally provocative question, and we’re not really trying to answer it in a truly thoughtful way. But… if we could start some protracted feud: the bartenders of the East Village against the barkeeps of Williamsburg, that’d be pretty cool right? We could all stand around and chant: “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Where she presides: Enid’s, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: A Double
[Our bartender, obviously a fan of the democratic process, calls her customers together for a happy hour poll. They begin calling out various responses, among them:] To-go cups from bars, more hipsters per square mile, more commuters, more artists, narrower streets, Prospect Park, doesn’t have The Gates, Ms. Lola Bell [as our bartender points to herself], better kickball teams in McCarren Park.
Where he presides: Black Betty, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Heineken
I’d say in terms of working here, I could work at any bar in New York, but the nice part here is the clientele is much more relaxed, it’s not a stressful — a young fun crowd. I live in Fort Greene. I have a three-bedroom townhouse with a porch and a backyard, a huge living room, dining room — for 2,800 bucks. I think that says it all. You have to compromise between how you want to live and where you want to live. You can live in a cardboard box in the East Village and be in the center of it all — but you’re in a cardboard box.
Where he presides: Anytime, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Red Wine
Manhattan is a place to work and Brooklyn in a place to live. There is a lot of contrast in Brooklyn. You have places that are ugly and places that are very beautiful. Manhattan in my mind is a more even place — everything is the same. My first vision of Brooklyn was as just a group of letters I found on the back of a tape of music a long time ago. It was like ten years ago — the name Brooklyn — it was in the address of the place where the tape had been made. It was a Biohazard tape I think, and my first thought was that Brooklyn must be full of crime and very ugly, but then as I got to know the place I see that it has beautiful places like Park Slope and Prospect Park.
Where he presides: NorthSix, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Maker’s Mark
I’ll tell you one thing man, it doesn’t have as much as people think it does. It’s not that different. Ten years ago this neighborhood had some things that were pretty different, but now it’s pretty much the same as the Lower East Side. It’s not all that different getting off the train at Bedford Avenue than somewhere in Manhattan.
Where he presides: Zebulon, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Ricard
What? You can tell the difference? Are we in Brooklyn or Manhattan right now? Who can tell? I can’t. Brooklyn has everything Manhattan has. The same people. The same bars. The same apartments. The same rents, basically. The same fake artists… Everyone in both boroughs is asleep right now. They work all day, go to the gym and then sit in front of their flat screen TVs. They don’t go outside. I don’t even feel I’m in New York. So it’s just the same. Who can tell? Except for the sky! Brooklyn has a bigger sky. [smiling]
Where he presides: The Turkey’s Nest, Williamsburg
Favorite drink: Beer
I’ll tell you the biggest thing for me is this: cheap drinks. The drinks I pour here for four bucks, you’d be luck to get for eight in Manhattan. We can do that because we’ve been around 60 years — we don’t have a lease to pay. It’s more family oriented here. People know they can come in and have a good time — even if they’re on a budget.