633 Grand Street, Brooklyn
Rating: 3 out of 5 Ls
“Don’t come home a drinkin’ with lovin’ on your mind,” sings Loretta Lynn, her plea no doubt falling on deaf ears. People here are definitely drinkin’ with lovin’ on their minds. For one, it’s an attractive crowd, straight out of a Cramps cover with jet black hair and tattoos for miles. The booze is poured by Sam Mason, the man who wowed people with high feats of molecular gastronomy at the now defunct Tailor in Soho. Don’t expect any foie gras-peanut butter pairings here. Order a Miller High Life ($3), pop a dollar in the jukebox and start making bad decisions.
Granted, this kind of ersatz country-dive experience isn’t exactly a new thing in Brooklyn. Steer horns and American flags don’t mask the fact that the bar is crowded by girls in Cheap Monday as opposed to grizzled coalminers. Still, drinking at Lady Jay’s is pretty fun.
The place has one of the best jukeboxes in town, filled with the kind of country hits that music nerds find socially acceptable. Drown one while listening to the wry laments of John Prine or the stoner anthems of Willie Nelson. Don’t worry, the jukebox isn’t entirely countrified; The Misfits are there if you want to get pumped up and Otis Redding is ready to croon if you’re in the mood for love.
More complicated drinks might be on the horizon, but for now the offerings are pretty simple. Six beers are on tap, including craft brews from Goose Island and Sixpoint. Cheaper options, like the aforementioned Champagne of Beers as well as tallboys of PBR, are there if you want more liquid courage for your buck.
The space is pretty simple, little doses of Americana mixed in with black banquettes and red brick. Try your hand at the shuffleboard game in front, where you try to knock down little bowling pins while not looking like an idiot, a difficult task to be sure. A giant gilded mirror rests behind the bar in case you want to check out your pompadour before hitting on the girls outside. The patio is spacious and simple, a wooden square with plenty of standing room for crowded weekend nights.
If you really want to get into the spirit of the place, order a shot of moonshine, err, I mean unaged whiskey, which will knock you so far on your ass you might actually believe you’re in Nashville, Tennessee. Just hope that the person waiting for you at home is a little more forgiving than Loretta.