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Business of the Week: 200 Fifth

There's something to be said for a true sports bar. They may get a little fratty at times, sure, but when a big game is on and you have a craving to watch it with tons of other crazed fans in a setting where you can also get a burger, wings, and beer, and be surrounded by TVs in every direction, 200 Fifth sure hits the spot. 

Bensonhurst native Mark Gerbush opened the restaurant, on Fifth Avenue near Union Street, in 1987, when Fifth Avenue was a restaurant wasteland. It became a success, and soon he was able to buy the building. 

If you decide to watch a big game there, be warned: It'll be crowded. If you get there early enough and grab a seat at the bar or at one of the many (slightly awkwardly arranged) booths, though, one thing will be certain: you won't have to crane your neck to get a view of a TV. There are so many that they could probably tack a "Personal TV" charge onto your bill. 40 beers on tap also keep the selection diverse. An insider tip: If you're planning on ordering top shelf or brand name booze in your drink, make sure you watch them make it; they've been known to reach for the bottom shelf when no one's looking.

If you're not there to watch a game, you'll probably find yourself a lot more comfortable on the other side of the restaurant, which has a far less fratty feel. The spacious dining area still retains several details of the restaurant's former life as a hardware store, and service is consistently good. The menu's best items are the burgers and bar snacks, but pricier items like pork chops, ribs, and steaks tend to be surprisingly good as well. Salads and sandwiches are also worthwhile, and theme nights like Tuesday Soul Food Night help to mix things up. 

The restaurant side
If you're a fan of the traditional NYC Drunk Brunch, you'll be happy to know that 10 bucks will buy you unlimited "champagne" with your meal. And I don't mean having to flag down a harried waiter for your begrudging refill: it's delivered in liter carafes, and is usually refreshed automatically as you're approaching the bottom. Caveat emptor!

200 Fifth is the kind of restaurant that tries to be everything to all people, and generally meets with success. Rowdy sports bar, fine dining, leisurely brunch spot, it's got all the bases covered, for better or worse.

They're open until very late every night, and deliver into the wee hours as well. If you're going to order delivery, though, be prepared for a relatively frustrating ordering experience, as every small detail needs to be entered into the computer. 

200 Fifth, 200 5th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-638-2925.


Closed For Business: Willie's Dawgs, 351 5th Avenue

The tiny, cheery hot dog joint Willie's Dawgs, on Fifth Avenue between 4th and 5th, has closed for good. It was one of the only true hot dog stands in the Slope, and served Ehmer and Neiman Ranch sausages, which are some of the best around. I'll admit that I've been getting my hot dog fix from Bark recently, but when I visited last year to write a foodporn article I was really impressed by how seriously owners Tom Anderson and Erin Lutter took the business, as well as the wide variety of sausages and toppings. 

Along with Under the Pig, the vintage kitch shop next door that'll be closing soon, and news that La Taqueria closed, it seems like no block is immune from vacant storefronts.  

Update: Willie's will actually be open until this Sunday, January 23rd. 


Closed for Business: La Taqueria, 72 7th Avenue

La Taqueria, the 20-year old cantina/ burrito joint on Seventh between Berkeley and Lincoln, has closed up for good, a sign posted on Sunday announced.

After closing down their bar/ restaurant half in September and keeping only the take-out side with a small seating area in the back, I had a feeling that the effort wouldn't be enough to keep the struggling restaurant afloat. They were one of the first restaurants around to serve the gargantuan Mission-style burrito, but over the years competition has grown. A misguided renovation last summer drove away some longtime regulars, and with rents along this stretch growing to astronomical proportions, a take-out business just wasn't sustainable. 

Add these two now-vacant storefronts to the still-for-rent Slope Sports space, and that's three empty storefronts on a block that last year at this time had none.


Dao Palate Gets a Sign

Dao Palate, the pan-Asian vegan restaurant that opened a month ago on Fifth Avenue near Union, installed some signage last week. Is it just me or does it look a little off-kilter?


Freddy's Sets Opening Date

Freddy's, the Dean Street bar with a history dating back to Prohibition that was demolished last summer to make way for the Atlantic Yards, has announced that February 4th will bring the opening of their new location, on Fifth between 17th and 18th Streets. 

Owner Donald O'Finn, via Village Voice
The new spot, which was formerly home to Ellis Bar, will most likely have a completely different look and feel from the original, which was inimitable. Donald O'Finn, the bar's longtime manager, is now an owner, though, so the vibe and general atmosphere should at least be familiar to regulars, who will now have to trek to the other end of the neighborhood to visit. They're also planning on keeping with tradition by hosting live music.

The new location