Beware of Pickpockets and Loose Women In Williamsburg

A cheese-ball-eating contest
photo: Tamara Rosenblum
A cheese-ball-eating contest

If the cool kids with asymmetrical haircuts have been keeping you from making Billyburg a drinking destination, then the Levee will convince you to give the neighborhood a chance. The owners of this unpretentious bar welcome everyone with their famous Texan hospitality. On a recent visit, hard-drinking middle-aged men sang along to an Iron Maiden song from the jukebox near the dark wood bar, while a crowd of locals in black-rimmed glasses and hooded sweatshirts played Battleship on the thrift store sofas in the other room. Under a sign declaring "Beware Pickpockets & Loose Women," the friendly bartender chatted with diverse patrons, suggesting beers from the long list of unusual brands ($4 to $7) that includes options like Chimay Blue and Delirium Tremens, or one of the delicious specialty drinks ($6), like a Creamsicle (Stoli Vanil and Sunkist orange soda) or a Beam Cream (Jim Beam and cream soda). Food was proffered, and though the menu is simple, cheap (under $5), and decidedly Texan, everything—from the chili-soaked Frito pie to the hot dogs—can be made vegetarian. This is a bar where PBR swillers sit side by side with Hefeweisen sippers while the jukebox plays Modest Mouse songs and Dio rockers. So drive your Chevy to this Levee (or just hop on the L train)—it never runs dry.

 
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