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Entries in Open For Business (198)

Thursday
Apr102014

Eric Shoes, Pure Essentials Open up on Fifth


Second outposts of two local businesses have opened next door to one another inside two newly renovated storefronts on 5th Avenue between President and Carroll Streets: Pure Essentials, which has been open on the corner of 7th Avenue and Second Street for the past 5 years, opened a couple weeks ago, and Eric Shoes, which has been open on 7th between Second and Third Streets since 2008, opened yesterday.

Pure Essentials is more of a health and beaury shop than a pharmacy, specializing in hair care, skin care, over-the-counter medicines, and baby products. Next door, Eric Mudick has opened a second location of his popular shoe shop Eric (formerly Girl on Seventh). The merchandise is essentially the same as the other location, classic and high-quality with an emphasis on smaller brands.

Thursday
Mar272014

Open for Business: Blok Hill, 103 7th Avenue


A new clothing store called Blok Hill opened last week in the space that was last home to Rivet, on 7th Avenue between Union and President Streets.

The boutique is actually run by Rivet's previous buyer, Leigh Hill, and there's an entirely new selection of merchandise, including jeans, sleveless shirts, sundresses, accessories like scarves and jewelry, and soaps and perfumes from Juniper Ridge. There's also a pretty cute dog.

Rivet, which had the same owner as the also-closed Slope Jeans (which has another location in Carroll Gardens), opened in the space in August 2011 and closed up shop about a month ago.

Photo via blokhill.com

Monday
Mar172014

McMahon's Public House Opens in O'Connor's Space on Fifth

One year and nine months since closing for a renovation, a completely rebuilt O'Connor's bar soft-opened yesterday (the official opening is today), with an entirely new look and a new name: McMahon's Public House.

Owners Mike and Jimmy McMahon, who purchased the classic dive bar (on 5th between Bergen and Dean) a few years ago from the descendants of original owner Dominic O'Connor, decided to rename the bar in honor of their late father, and if you thought that the new bar would bear any resemblance to its beloved predecessor, think again: it's more than tripled in size, is gleaming, has an extensive draft beer selection, and is anything but a dive.

The old bar hadn't had any major upgrades since first opening back in 1931, meaning that while it was a veritable time machine there were no draft lines and a crumbling infrastructure (a back wall collapsed in the earliest days of the renovation). "If it was still the way it was, the roof would have collapsed this winter because of all the snow," Mike told me. "We salvaged as much as we could, but honestly there wasn't much we could do. We tried to save the bar itself but it was worm-eaten."

A handful of decorative touches remain from O'Connor's, including a giant moose's head with a bra still hanging off of it, an old wall clock, and (miraculously) the old phone booth, which has been refurbished and installed in the downstairs room with a working pay phone. A small section of the rear brick wall was also left intact.

Once you make your peace with the fact that the O'Connor's we knew and loved is long-gone, you'll notice that the new bar is one of the biggest in the neighborhood, and is comfortable and nicely appointed. The front room lets in a ton of natural light and has ample seating, and a back dining room seats about 40. There's plenty of dark wood, high ceilings, and charcoal gray walls.

The back room

There's also a second floor, which will open up for private events and when the first floor is at capacity. It boasts a second full bar, ample seating, and a patio. It has a slightly more industrial feel, all black and metallic gray.

There are 12 beers on tap at the moment but Maher plans to install more, with a goal of having about 30 taps in total. Beers average $5-7, and there will also be a daily happy hour. They're planning on opening at 9 am every morning like in the old days, and the kitchen (with a full menu, including homemade corned beef and cabbage) will be up and running in about three weeks.

So raise a glass to O'Connor's; it'll only remain the way it was in our memories. But I think it's been replaced by a shiny new bar that's hard to find major fault with, one that certainly appears to be a very solid watering hole.

So here's one last look at the old bar room:

And the same view, today:

Monday
Mar032014

Calexico Launches Brunch on 5th Avenue


Calexico finally opened on 5th Avenue between First and Garfield last weekend after a nearly two-year buildout, and it's hard to deny that it looks great. The fourth brick-and-mortar outpost of the local mini-chain, which got its start serving Cal-Mex specialties like burritos, tacos, and rolled quesadillas from street carts, is stylishly minimalist, with a small waiting area/ take out counter/ juice bar inside the front door, with the main dining room to the left. There's a nice-looking bar taking up one side of the dining room (which has been tragically underused so far, as the beer and liquor license has yet to be approved), and a few booths up against the front windows. The rest of the room is dim and comfortable, with brick walls and exposed wood beams, and a booth for larger parties in the back.


The menu is similar to the ones at their other brick-and-mortar locations in Red Hook, the Lower East Side, and Greenpoint, with appetizers including chips and salsa or guacamole, wings, and 'Carne Fries' topped with braised brisket, caramelized onions, beans, cheese sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole (and I'm trying to pretend that doesn't exist). There are also tacos, burritos, bowls, enchiladas, and their famous rolled quesadillas with 'crack sauce,' a chipotle mayo.

They plan to launch delivery soon, and on Saturday they launched brunch. They're serving huevos rancheros; a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, cheese, rice, beans, sour cream, avocado sauce, chorizo and crack sauce; brisket hash and eggs; chilaquiles; and a breakfast quesadilla with bacon, eggs, and cheese. They range from $10 - $12.

There have been waits for a table just about every night, but thankfully they're open from 11:30 am to 11 pm daily.

Wednesday
Feb052014

Open for Business: Parish Bar, 223 7th Avenue

The first new bar to open on Seventh Avenue north of Ninth Street in years opened late last month between 3rd and 4th Streets, nearly two years since news first broke that a bar was heading for the space and about three years since City Casuals, the clothing shop it's replacing, closed.

The new bar, called Parish, is run by the husband-and-wife duo of Lisanne Mackenzie and her husband Chris (Lisanne is actually the daughter of City Casuals owner Esther Levitt). It's clear that they've put a ton of work into this space, and it's quite attractive. There's a big window up front, revealing a 12-seat bar made from two pieces of Southern black walnut, a spacious back lounge area with a high-tech projector system, and a big back patio that's going to double in size come springtime. All the colors are muted earth tones, and there's more decorative walnut on the ceiling. And as a very nice touch, the bar underside has not only coat hooks, but plugs. There are also two flat-screen TVs above the bar.

You can certainly call it a cocktail lounge, but there's an impressive selection of beer and wine as well. Cocktails use all fresh-squeezed juices and are $11 (which is on the low end these days), and include the Parish Cocktail (Tanqueray, lemon juice, fresh apples, grapes, and mint); Brooklyn on the Bayou (Makers Mark, Hennessy, absinthe, sugar, and bitters); and the Violette Bramble (Beefeater gin, creme de violette, bramble jam, and lemon juice). All well drinks are made with good-quality booze (Tito's vodka, for example), and cost $8. Here's the beer list:

Also quite reasonable; there's also a nice selection of wines by the glass, and several available on tap.

There's a tiny kitchen area just beyond the bar, so any food that comes out of it will probably be quite simple. At the moment there's a nice-looking charcuterie plate that they've been giving away to customers free of charge, and sandwiches are in the works.

It'll open at noon on the weekends and stay open until 2 or 3, and during the week it'll open at 4 and close at 1.There are no current plans for a happy hour.

This bar is about as mature as it gets, but also knows that its audience might also want to drop in to watch a big game. You can stop in and pay $11 for a craft cocktail or you can pay $6 for a Lagunitas IPA from a rotating tap list. You can sit at the bar and watch the Knicks; you can sit in the back or the patio and have a romantic nightcap with a cheese plate and a glass of wine. It's not trying to be all things to all people, it just lets you decide what kind of bar you want it to be. And while it's not exactly cozy, it's classy, welcoming, and unpretentious.

Parish Bar, 223 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215.