The facade of the large building anchoring the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street (home of Smiling Pizza) has been restored, and the scaffolding that's been up for the past several months is coming down. Looks good!
J.H. Market, the grocery on Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th owned by Jim and wife Jung Ki Lee, has taken over the former real estate office next door and re-christened itself. The new name: The Bad Wife. Why a food market would give itself such a bizarre moniker is beyond me, but you gotta give them credit for a sense of humor.
The paper's been removed from the windows, the shelves are stocked, and the bagel boiler's been fired up. Tomorrow morning at 6, Park Slope's newest bagel place is set to open on Seventh Avenue (near President Street), with festivities including face painting and balloon animals for kids. Check this site tomorrow for a full (belly) report.
The spacious Black Horse Pub became an instant hit when it opened almost exactly a year ago in the southern reaches of Park Slope, on 5th Avenue and 16th Street. The owner, Brian McInally, an English transplant, envisioned a simple pub with lots of good beer, simple grub and football on the telly, and that's exactly what you can expect. Today I had a chat with Justin Pike, who can be found there Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 7, and Sundays from 7 to close.
HPS: Where in England are you from?
Justin: Born in Oxford, went to college in Swansea, Wales. But I've been in and out of the States for the last 22 years.
HPS: What brought you over to the U.S.?
Justin: Initially, I would say a girl who I met traveling, through Berlin and Eastern Europe. Before the wall came down; I was living in Berlin in '88, and then I drove down through East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and down to Greece, where I met an American girl. We went through Egypt and Israel, and she came back to England with me. She had to come back to finish up at NYU, so I came back with her.
HPS: Have you bartended previously?
Justin: I've done some bartending before. A bit in Berlin, bits and pieces back in England. But I got this job through knowing the owners for a long time and helping do construction on the place.
HPS: What's your favorite thing about this bar?
Justin: The fact that I can watch a lot of soccer and get paid for it. Obviously the World Cup was great for us. We were mobbed; we couldn't let people in two hours before some games. We got a lot of press for that. We're all about the soccer. We open on the weekends at 7:30 for the early English games. We do English breakfasts and all that sort of stuff. We don't think of ourselves as a sports bar, but English soccer is a big part of it. The owner's a Tottenham fan, I'm a Manchester City fan.
HPS: Can you talk a little bit about the Happy Hour?
Justin: Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 2 till 7, you get a dollar off all pints. You can get a 20 ounce pint for five dollars, which you don't usually find. Our prices are very competitive.
HPS: What's the strangest drink order you've ever received?
Justin: I had a Guinness and Coke the other day, that was a pretty weird one. Then there's those weird curdling ones with Bailey's and lime juice, and you put some red liqueur on the top and they call it a bloody brain. There's a guy who comes in regularly who has a chardonnay and cider, which was new on me. That curdling Bailey's one, though. Ugh.
HPS: If you could have a drink with one person from history, who would it be?
Justin: I'd probably say Lemmy from Motörhead. Maybe also someone like Hitler or George Bush so I can say "What the f**k were you thinking about?!" Bollocks! Am I allowed to get drunk and slap 'em around a bit? Beat 'em up in the car park? Ah, f**k it, I'm gonna say Lemmy from Motörhead.
HPS: That'd probably go downhill fast. Are there any cocktails that you make that you pride yourself on?
Justin: Bud Light. Um, no, not really, I'm not really an expert cocktail maker by any stretch of the imagination. But I'm learning, very much so.
HPS: Which bottle is poured from the most frequently here?
Justin: I would probably say our house vodka, it's a small-batch, hand-crafted Icelendic vodka called Reyka. You can get this for five dollars during happy hour. Most house vodkas are Fleischmann's or Alexi or one of those, but this is quite good. We go through quite a bit of this. Also Jameson's, as well.
HPS: Which bottle is poured from the least?
Justin: It's gotta be a top shelf, probably Laphroaig or Balvenie.
HPS: If you weren't tending bar, what other profession would you like to have?
Justin: I've done quite a lot of construction here, I've taught English abroad, I worked for the embassy. But I'd love to be a musician; I play guitar. I'm getting into the whole home recording thing. I've moved into a new place so I've built up a little studio there. I used to play live, I've played CBGB's. I haven't played live music in New York in about ten years though, except for in here. We've got live music every Wednesday night.
Black Horse Pub, 568 5th Avenue (at 16th St) Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-788-1975.