A flock of pigeons flap their wings as they make a left turn right above your head. The smell of charcoal and burning meat tickles your nostrils, because your neighbors are having a barbecue party on the street again. The sun is setting in a dramatic manner behind an old rice factory causing the shadows to stretch out like they may be lounging. It’s a Friday night in Bushwick, and you want to see some art, preferably followed by a drink or two. The big question is which bar will best match your art choice for the night … I think I can help.
Thanks to the thorough — and unscientific — research I have been conducting, I have recognized certain patterns of conduct among the members of the Bushwick art scene and the bars they frequent after openings and visits. Here’s a helpful little guide.
1. Centotto + The Narrows
Centotto is the apartment gallery run by Paul D’Agostino. If you enjoy the art and crowd hanging in the hall of Paul’s loft, you will surely appreciate extended philosophical debates at an afterparty in the backyard of The Narrows. Points for you, if you like sipping fancy cocktails! If you’re on a budget, go for the special: a bottle of Mexican beer with a shot of jalapeño tequila.
2. Curbs and Stoops + Pearl’s Social & Billy Club
Curbs and Stoops, one of the newest additions to the Bushwick art scene, is located deep in the warehouses of industrial Bushwick. The art space offers artist studios for rent, a gallery space and is partially under reconstruction plans. With all this going on, Jeffrey Peña and Ashley Zelinskie who run the space, definitely appreciate an ice-cold beer somewhere nearby. Like at newly open Pearl’s Social & Billy Club.
3. Eastern District + The Morgan
If you like Eastern District, gallery right outside of the Morgan stop on the L train, head to The Morgan for an after party. Micheal Cabrera from Eastern District has been heavily involved in the program scheduling for The Morgan, and so the Eastern District touch at The Morgan is more than apparent. The swanky bar has been opened for a couple of months now and some say that it represents the coming of age of the “Morgantown” micro-hood. Let’s see what the future brings.
4. Factory Fresh + Wreck Room
I bumped into Ad Deville from Factory Fresh, the Bushwick’s street art gallery when he was just headed to Wreck Room. I told him that I was thinking about Pine Box Rock Shop as of the proper bar for the Factory Fresh crowd, since they both had a similar vibe and both share the fact that they both have Roa graffiti at the gate. I told him I was considering Wreck Room as a possible pairing as well. I explained that I was thinking of Wreck room but sometimes it just gets too … “Trashy?” Ad suggested as the punctuation of my sentence. “Yeah, that’s why my London fellows and I like it there.” Hence my choice.
5. Famous Accountants + Café Ghia
Despite that Famous Accountants gallery on the Ridgewood side of the Bushwick/Ridgewood divide, the crowd that circulates around co-founders Kevin Regan and Ellen Letcher will unanimously vote for Café Ghia as their after party destination. My super-secret tip is to have Ben Godward, a Bushwick sculptor who sometimes bartends there, to pour you a glass of Sehr Crisp Six Point beer.
6. The Laundromat + Tandem
Kevin Curran and Amy Lincoln are another brave Bushwick couple that decided to open their home to show art in their apartment gallery. Tandem, a bar just couple of blocks away, is the choice for the after party. Our suggestions is you go and get lost in the steamy backroom with a PBR tall boy, and dance with the Laundromat fans.
7. Microscope Gallery + Good Bye Blue Monday
Attending an opening at Microscope Gallery is not only a good opportunity to see some video art, on which this art space focuses, but also to visit the stretch of the neighborhood hidden under the JMZ train tracks. For the after party, head to Good Bye Blue Monday. They have live music, a backyard and a $2 PRB on draft.
8. Regina Rex + Northeast Kingdom
Regina Rex is an art space in an old factory building on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, whose folks are likely to hang out at the downstairs bar at Northeast Kingdom. If you like good ol’ fashion American meals and hunting, you will love it there!
9. Storefront + The Bodega
It’s easy to forget you that you are still in Bushwick when you enter Storefront, a gallery run by Jason Andrew and Deborah Brown. Feel the excitement and glimmer of the art word and then have a glass of red wine at The Bodega.
Finally, one cannot but wonder what Bushwick bar will the representatives of Luhring Augustine choose? How about Nurture Art and Momenta, where do the patrons of these newer Bushwick spaces prefer? Will the fancy crowds people are expecting for Luhring Augustine prefer hopping on the L train to drink in Williamsburg, the East Village or Chelsea after an opening? Or will they blend in with the Bushwick art scene and enjoy places like Pine Box Rock Shop, which is nearby? Or can we expect an increased number of The Morgan-like fancy bars? We’ll have to wait and see.