No Honky-Tonk, Just Well-Poured Drinks and Room to Relax

Although this new Carroll Gardens hangout is named in part for the Texas town, don't expect cowboys and honky-tonk. On a recent Sunday night the only country-western vibe came from an iPod that mixed Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline with Cat Power, Built to Spill, and other indie-rock favorites. Opened in January, Abilene has quickly attracted a youngish following of artists and professionals from the neighborhood for its relaxed atmosphere. Those tired of fighting for a seat at the always crowded Brooklyn Social nearby will be happy to see there's ample room to stretch out here: Church pews and tables run along one wall, 17 bar stools line the extra-long oak-topped bar, and '60s-ish vintage sofas and cushy benches are in back. Futuristic chandeliers that resemble glowing molecular models hang over the bar while candles give off just enough table light to play Connect Four, Yahtzee, and other games. Happy hour features $3 draft and well drinks from 6 to 8 every night (except Saturday) and from midnight to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. Or get a can of cheap-tasting Genesee Cream Ale and a shot for $5 anytime. Expect well-poured Guinness ($5) and good, strong cocktails ($6 to $10) that are sure to leave a big impression—or, as the sign outside reads in upside-down letters: "If you can read this, get yer ass off the sidewalk and thank the bartender."

 
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