Paul Kermizian (2008)
Bars & Clubs
Are you from New York originally?
No, New Jersey—I'm from the "New York area."
When did you move here?
The end of 1998. I've been in Williamsburg the whole time. It's busier and busier, but the neighborhood can handle it. When I moved here, there was like a five-block area around Bedford, and no one really strayed from that little area. There was like one bar and then Planet Thailand and that was it. But now it's moved like three more stops out and into Greenpoint, and you discover all these places.
Have you been in the same apartment all these years?
I've only moved once, which is odd. I live close to Barcade with my dog. I like to just cruise around the neighborhood with her. She also likes the bar. She's somewhat of a fixture there, especially when it's nice out. We sit out in the front together. Dog runs can be weirdly cultish. The people all know each other, and they're drinking their lattes and reading the Times together. If you don't go regularly, they kinda look at you funny. I think she kind of gets a bad vibe when we go there.
What are some of your favorite places in the neighborhood?
Well, I eat at Joe's Busy Corner like five times a week. It's like the best food in New York. I grew up eating Italian food, so I love that stuff. Eggplant parm, stuff like that.
Where else have you been recently?
I just went to the Russian Samovar up on 52nd Street in Manhattan. They make their own infused vodkas. I had horseradish, which was pretty crazy, and hot pepper. They were pretty good.
You're a connoisseur of local beers. Could you pick a favorite brewer in the area?
Well, of course Brooklyn Brewery's awesome. There's also this new guy, Sixpoint, which is good. We carry a bunch of their stuff. I like the brewpub out at Chelsea Piers. You can sit and drink beer and watch a yacht go by. I think it's the only place in the city where you can do that. There's Spuyten Duyvil bar nearby. We get a lot of serious beer fans who make a bar crawl—or I guess it's not much of a crawl—they just bounce between us and them. It works out well, because we only do American drafts, and their thing is Belgian bottles. Otherwise, I really like tucked-away places, like Killmeyer's in Staten Island, and the biergarten in Astoria.
Do you drive around the city?
Yeah. As a bar owner, it's kind of a necessity for running errands—but I have a hybrid. Actually, I have been here since 1998 and I just rode the G train for the first time.
Oy. How was that?
Just as bad as everyone says.
Do you hang out in any arcades in the city? Like the one on Mott Street, Chinatown Fair?
We kinda put the arcade together here because other arcades don't have the games we want to play. Like, to me, any game created after 1990 just doesn't count. I like the simple graphics and senseless plots of the older games. Like, I have a PlayStation, but I realized I was just buying the collections of old games. I was, like, sitting in my apartment with my PlayStation, playing Atari games.
Yeah. In Chinatown, it's mostly fighting games. Plus it smells like teenage boys in there.
Yeah, people are always telling us we need Street Fighter, but we just don't do that stuff.
You have a policy against violence, right?
We're against violence—or at least we're against hand-to-hand combat. When that got big, the creativity of the games went down. Somewhere along the line, the video game programmers stopped smoking pot, I think.
Do you have any plans for a new place?
Yeah, we are opening a new bar, actually. But it probably won't open until winter. It'll be similar, but with a different theme. I don't want to say too much about it yet. But it'll be cool. It'll be so uncool that it'll be cool.
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