I loathed this placewithout having seen itsimply because someone had dared to open a swank bar in my semi-war-zone neighborhood. But one day I stumbled inside, and was instantly seduced by its jukebox (Stanley Brothers, Smiths, Bowie). And its proprietors: red-bearded, tattooed biker guy Chops, his taciturn brother Christopher (who owns the metal shop next door), and their studiomate Chris, who knows a lot about red wine. They've created the kind of bar they like to drink in, and their taste ishappilyimpeccable. Kings County, which opened sans fanfare last month, is a dark oasis of grown-up sophistication in grimy Bushwick, a neighborhood fast becoming Frat Row to the baby art types who can't afford Manhattan and wouldn't live in Williamsburg if you paid them. Artfully rusted metal clads the exterior; inside you'll find 1920s "art photos," beautifully crafted wood and metal fittings, and a growing crowd of regulars who respect its brilliantly low-key atmosphere. There're no candy-ass drink specials, just choice whiskies (Balvenie "Double Wood" scotch, $7 a shot), good beer (Chimay Blue and Guinness, $7; Bud, $2.50), and carefully selected wines (mostly Italian reds like Dolcetto, $7) to complement the regular booze. Chops also makes a fine dirty martini, and says his mojitos and margaritas (fresh-squeezed citrus, naturally) are the tops. Kings County opens every day at 4, with happy-hour specials even the kiddies can afford.
photo: Cary Conover
Kings County 286 Seigel Street, Brooklyn