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July 14, 2011

Bars: The Way Station, Prospect Heights' Doctor Who-themed bar

A Doctor Who themed bar in Prospect Heights. It's #geektastic #Brooklyn #bars

This spring, Tammi and I fell down the rabbit hole that is Doctor Who. We spent about a month consuming episode after episode of five seasons of the British Sci-fi series and have been coming back for more ever since. So, when a friend mentioned that there was a bar in Prospect Heights with a Doctor Who theme, we showed up at their doorstep within days.

It's called the Way Station and as you see here, they've got a Tardis, the big blue box at the center of the series, in the middle of the bar. It serves as the restroom - and yes, it is bigger on the inside.

I randomly posted this on my digital Tumblr a week ago and was subsequently hit with a barrage of 'where is it?!' messages and reblogs. I answered there, but since there is clearly a following, I figured I'd post it here as well.

The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

April 21, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Snoop Dogg and Brooklyn Bowl Love

Snoop Dogg performing at Brooklyn Bowl

Yes, that is Snoop Dogg. Yes, he's wearing a Yankees jersey. And yes, I I got to shoot him performing at Brooklyn Bowl Monday night.

Yes. Snoop Dogg performed at Brooklyn Bowl. And I was there to shoot it. Crazy.

It was a pretty fantastic show, he performed old and new songs, going through all the classics along with some of his newer hits.

It was surreal standing in Brooklyn and hearing the voice of the west doing Hypnotize in tribute to BIG. More surreal was the fact that he was playing a space like Brooklyn Bowl instead of the Garden. The concert space fits 600 people, which can be huge or intimate depending on the show. The venue has become one of my favorites to cover, not just because of the amazing acts they book, but also the food and a choice beer selection. Without turning into a shill for the place, let me just say that I'd be coming here regularly even if I wasn't shooting for Examiner.

I Love Vinyl Party at Brooklyn Bowl

I've been there a lot lately, covering I Love Vinyl's first Brooklyn party and the night before I shot the Air Guitar Regional Championships, which was a whole lot of ridiculous.

Air Guitar World Championships at Brooklyn Bowl

Like I said, ridiculous.

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I didn't spend all my venue love on Brooklyn Bowl. I did find myself at The Bell House a few times this month. Last week, I went to a blogger meet up hosted by Brooklyn Based, FIPS and Brokelyn. That was a lot of fun just for finally being able to put faces to names.

Good Spirits at The Bell House

A week earlier, I was also at Bell House grazing through the snacks and cocktails on hand at Good Spirits, Edible Brooklyn's tribute to food and booze in the better borough. The spicy red sangritas that this lady was pouring as chasers was probably my favorite drinks of the night, which probably goes to show that liquor is wasted on me.

That's all just a bit of what I've been posting about this month. Habana Outpost reopened for the season and I'm starting up the Brokelyn 25 bar survey again this week after a bit of a hiatus. So, stay tuned.

April 5, 2010

Bar Sputnik Closed Down

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I was disappointed this weekend to find Sputnik, on the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill border shuttered with an 'out of business' sign on the door.

After years of wanting to go, I only ended up there twice. Last fall, I was there two weeks in a row, shooting Pharoahe Monch and Brand Nubian for some of my first Examiner columns. With Evil D on the turntables and legends literally inches away, it was Hip-hop at its finest.

I wasn't anywhere near a regular, but I'm sad to see it go.

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January 23, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture

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This week I went a little outside my usual area of coverage on Examiner. Jazz and Poetry are both art forms that I respect, yet know little about. So, I jumped in and covered a bit of both.

Nearly every venue in town this week has been hosting benefits for charities providing aid and service to Haiti's Earthquake victims. With so much else going on this week, I only got to cover one of them, L'Union Fait Force at Le Poisson Rouge.

The coolest part of the show was watching the Doctor Lonnie Smith Trio perform with Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Smith (top) is a great showman whose flair added excitement to the show. Hargrove on the horn was wonderful.

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There was plenty more going on: Dance, Haitian drums, a pair of guitarists and the Vijay Iyer Trio, which is actually what drew me to the event. That morning, WNYC announced the event and played some of the Trio's take on Mystic Brew - better known to those of a 'certain age' as the basis of the classic "Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest.

The show was fun and eclectic and went late into the night. I was so wiped out, I had to take off before the last set even started, missing hosts Groove Collective perform with Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic.

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On Wednesday, I changed things up a bit with by covering the Mixer Series at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. It's a monthly series that hosts poets and authors reading their recent work. And first up was Tess Taylor, above, a classmate in college. We hadn't seen each other in at least the 10 years since graduation, but it was good to catch up, however briefly.

I don't know the first thing about poetry and I don't read books nearly as much as I should, but it was a great experience being surrounded by smart people enjoying intelligent things. I really hope to keep going to future Mixers.

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Among the other readers was Steve Geng, who read scenes from his new book, Bop City about Paris during the Algerian war. Just in the 15 minutes he was up there, he touched on themes of terrorism, sex, race, and French culture that fascinated me.

After the jump, more photos from both events...

Continue reading "This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture" »

December 29, 2009

Quick Bite: Irish Bacon Burger at Spike Hill

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Lunch in the deluge Saturday afternoon at Spike Hill. I'd never noticed that Irish Bacon was an option on their burger. I feel like I'm seeing more Irish/English Bacon around on menus these days. That's a good thing.

The funky blur around the edges here is from my spiffy new Lensbaby Composer I got for Christmas from Tammi. I'm hoping not to overuse it, but it's a lot of fun.

December 8, 2009

Hawai'i: Rum Fire

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Duke's and Mai Tai Bar are the two big bar destinations in Waikiki. They are historic and also rather annoying. Duke's is fratty and irritating. Mai Tai bar matches high end cocktails with higher end prices.

At the Sheraton Waikiki, just down the beach from both, you've got Rum Fire. Tammi and I came on it by accident, but found it to be the best place to grab a drink, take in the sights and see the sunset in the whole area.

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I don't even remember how many times we ended up there. This is where we discovered our Japanese bachelors and some great fish tacos, not to mention a wonderful view of the beach, the sunset and Diamondhead.

Here's the funny thing, through my habit of geotagging, I discovered that four years ago, Tammi and I hung out in the same place. Hotel development being what it is, the space was totally different, but when I tagged the bar, I discovered it was the exact same space that we ended up spending most of our last day in Hawaii four years ago as Tammi knit and we relaxed over drinks.

January 15, 2009

Photo of the Day: Toothpicks

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Blonde's Bar, The Mission, San Francisco. 2009.

October 8, 2008

Antics 08: Last Exit Burlesque


IMG_9938, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last Exit had burlesque dancers on stage during the music performances and, unlike previous years, I'm pretty sure the dancers were all women.

September 8, 2008

Photo of the Day: Morose


IMG_2195, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Elbo Room. The Mission, San Francisco. 2008.

Despite the tone of the photo, the vibe at this bar on a Thursday night was lively and fun. I hung out here for a round as I was waiting to meet up with ToJ to pick Guy up from the airport. I had passed it before but never went in. I'd go back with a group of friends.

June 30, 2008

Photo of the Day: Beer Goggle


IMG_4507, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Blondie's Bar & No Grill, The Mission, San Francisco. 2008.

May 4, 2008

Love Child


IMG_5679, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Friday night, I saw Love Child a band headed up by some friends from college, Ethan and Nicole, who I hadn't seen in years.

The show was great, mixing Rock, Soul and Hip-hop influences. I totally geeked out at the setup Ethan had. He mixed beats that the band had pre-recorded using a game controller to interface with Pro Tools on his MacBook. It was pretty awesome.

Update: See photos from the show here.

October 28, 2007

Nashville: 2nd Ave North

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On my last night in Nashville I got away from Music Row, the main area of Broadway and headed out to 2nd Avenue North. Whereas Music Row is full of small, gaudy Honky Tonks, some authentic, some not, 2nd Avenue North has no authenticity whatsoever. It starts with a Hard Rock Cafe and ends with Hooters. In between it's more or less the same sort of thing. Now, I usually avoid this sort of thing, but given the choice of Honky Tonk or nearly anything else, I have to seriously consider my options. The lesser of two evils actually turned out to be a fair amount of fun, despite my snobbery.

I even managed to see some live music in Music City. A co-worker and I ate at BB King's and watched Cissy Crutcher, a soul singer and her band play. The show was really entertaining. The fried chicken pretty good too. After that we avoided some of the early Halloween revelry and hung out at one of the less crowded bars on this strip.

::c::

October 25, 2007

Nasville: Rippy's


IMG_8950, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Rippy's Smokin' Bar + Grill sprawls. The ground floor space takes up two extended store front, each with it's own bar, one with an eating space, the other with pool tables. Upstairs is third bar and a patio, which I'm sure would be a lot more pleasant on a warmer day.

The service isn't so great, think 40 minutes and still no food. But then a million people - myself included - just dropped in a block away for a conference that they hadn't expected, so they were totally slammed. It happens.

The important thing is the food.

And by that criterion, it's a total disappointment.

A list of offenses after the jump...

Continue reading "Nasville: Rippy's" »

October 22, 2007

Bars: The Red Lion


IMG_7575, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I go to The Red Lion for one thing: the perfect spot on Bleeker to people watch with beer. When the weather is warm, I love to sit out on Bleeker and watch the world go by. It's my perch, where I've taken some of my most interesting shots.

I've been going there for a few years now and I haven't even had a sip of beer inside. I haven't seen any of the musical performances they have there I haven't watch any English Premier League soccer that seems to always be on.

The food is ok, but you don't really go to a place like The Red Lion for the food.

According to Wikipedia, the name Red Lion is one of the most common for pubs throughout the UK. Consequently, it's a stop for many of the
Brits, Aussies and Irishmen looking for a bit of the familiar. I've sat there many times overhearing accented ladies bragging about the bargains they got with our play money while shopping in SoHo.

As with most pubs of this sort, the selection is predictable, Boddington's, Newcastle, Bass, Guinness and so on. Thankfully, they do offer a few good beers from this side of the world. My drink here is the Blue Point Toasted Lager, a nutty, medium-bodied beer or occasionally a Brooklyn Lager.


::c::

April 9, 2007

Photo of the Day: dba New Orleans


IMG_7928, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

dba, Frenchman Street, New Orleans, 2004.

I've been going to dba in New York for years. When I found out they had a sister bar in New Orleans, I had to check it out the next time I went there.

The space is much bigger than the New York location, taking up two storefronts. The photo above is of on half of the space. To the right, there's a door to the other room which has a stage up for performances and the other side of the double bar.

The beer selection is exactly what I'd expect from dba: very extensive, and inclusive of many local beers. They get creative with the beer too. This is where I had my first "Dirty Ho," a beer cocktail mixing about 75% Hoegarden with a Framboise lambic. It's a pretty fantastic concoction, adding the fruit flavor of the lambic livens up the hoegarden, which in turn cuts the excess sweetness of the lambic.

The Frenchman Street strip of bars and restaurants sits just a few blocks outside the French Quarter, but is thankfully worlds away from the contrived excess of Bourbon Street. On my first trip to New Orleans, a friend who lived out there at the time took us to a couple of bars on Frenchman. It took me a couple trips before I could figure out how to get back there. It's a much more local scene so it totally bypasses the bead-throwing and nonsense found down the road. The strip runs about two or three blocks and it's full of music. Nearly every bar had some performance listed.

The last time I was at dba New Orleans, was two years ago. Tammi and I caught the Tony Dagradi Organ Trio performing with one of the Marsalis brothers on drums.

d.b.a.
618 Frenchman Street,
New Orleans, LA. 70116
504.942.3731

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[Updated 4.29.07. Added more info for The Bar List]

February 8, 2007

Toronto: The Sunday Lime


iflute?, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Summer 2005: Tammi and I took a long weekend out to Toronto. The timing was perfect. The weather was gorgeous and there just happened to be a graffiti festival on Queen Street. We wandered about and I shot some of the fresh art up on the walls.
Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Queen to catch the last of the festival. We could hear music from a block away. It was coming from a bar called Big Papa's Bordello. In the fenced off garden space, we could see musicians playing as the DJ spun beats.

This was the bar's Sunday ritual, the Sunday Lime. Musicians from a group called The iDrum Collective played percussion over what Tammi called 'soulful house.' I don't know from House music, but this wasn't like any I'd heard before. It was a mix of funk and soul and the songs just flowed into each other. What drew me in the most was the musicians. There wasn't much structure to the group, The flowed in and out just like the music. They came and walked off periodically. They switched instruments from time to time, one guy drummed for a while, then took out a trumpet and played that.

A little before we left, an older man came in and hung out for a few minutes. He chat with the others for a bit, then he took out his flute. He hooked up his mic and caught the beat. As he played, he meandered through the garden passing us by, bending and moving with his lilting tune.

When he was ready for his solo, he waved his arm with a flair.
"Just like that." The band held the beat and the old man took over.

He finished, packed up his flute, said his goodbyes and left.

Continue reading "Toronto: The Sunday Lime" »


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