High Dive, on Fifth between Garfield and Carroll, has just about everything you could hope for in a pub. It's clean, has great bartenders, a solid happy hour, free popcorn, and a great jukebox. Who can ask for more? It's part of Rory Dwyer's local empire, which also includes Commonwealth, Sharlene's, and the soon-to-open Blueprint, just across the street.
Jessica Jelliffe, who also has run the Banana Bag & Bodice Theater Company with her husband for the past 13 years, can be found behind the bar on Wednesday and Friday during the day, and Monday nights.
HPS: How long have you been working here for?
Jessica: I've been working here since we opened, two years ago as of May 1st.
HPS: What is your favorite thing about this bar?
Jessica: I love the community of this place. The whole intention behind this bar is to have the feeling of a pub. And the literal sense of that word, the public house. And that's what it feels like. The first two years of this job I worked only during the day, and what I got out out of that was a real sense of the neighborhood, as opposed to the nights, which are just all about drinking. And that's a huge part of what a bar is around for, understandably, but what I really got to experience is the community of the place, and this neighborhood. I think it's really taken a foothold in that way, in a manner that a lot of bars just don't have. We open at 3, and that's a great time to be in the neighborhood.
HPS: Can you talk a little bit about the Happy Hour?
Jessica: The Happy Hour is from when we open at 3 until 8. It's a dollar off everything, and $2 PBR drafts, $3 Yuengling drafts, $4 well.
HPS: Have you ever received any really strange drink orders here?
Jessica: Yeah, there's this thing called an Appletini [laughs]. That's just the weirdest drink. I don't think I would ever want to drink one of those. But, you know, everybody's tastebuds are different.
HPS: If you could have a drink with one person from history, who would it be?
Jessica: Oh, God, there's so many! Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Edith Piaf, Billie Holliday, and the list goes on and on. Any of the Barrymore family, Karl Marx, the Marx Brothers. That'd be a good party.
HPS: Are there any cocktails you make that you really pride yourself on?
Jessica: My favorite, personally, is Overholt Rye on the rocks with two dashes of Angostura bitters. Sort of like a Manhattan with no vermouth. There's a woman who lives around the corner, and since we opened she's been slowly teaching me her ideal Cosmo. It's our secret recipe.
HPS: Which drinks do you pour the most frequently?
Jessica: Well during the day I hardly ever get mixed drink orders, so PBR, Yuengling, Blue Point, Founders, Allagash. As far as liquor goes, Kentucky Gentleman, Jameson of course, Powers.
HPS: Are there any bottles back there that you've never poured from?
Jessica: Yeah. The Rogue Hazelnut Spiced Rum, but I think that people just don't know about it. The Beach Head Peach Liqueur has been here since the beginning.
HPS: If you weren't tending bar, are there any professions that you'd pursue full time? I think I know the answer.
Jessica: Yeah, well we have our theatre company, and it's actually full-time. More than this job, because I'm only here two or three days a week. When I'm here I'm on, but my mind is always thinking about what needs to happen. We're about to go on tour to Europe for August. It's very exciting.
High Dive, 243 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. Phone: 718-788-0401.