Last night in Park Slope must’ve been good. I have a pocket full of broken cigarettes and my pants smell worse than my breath. More disturbing are the duffel bags packed with everything I own. I must’ve tried to move to L.A. again. I should just unpack, but that could be too strenuous, given my pounding head. Maybe I’ll just retrace my steps and see if my missing wallet, cell phone, and jacket turn up.
Stopping first at THE GATE (321 Fifth Avenue, 718-768-4329) seems wise. It was the last place I graced before stumbling out for a piss and a summons. Their business card reads, “Work is the curse of the drinking class,” which doesn’t mean much to me because I don’t have a job. The bartender serves me a Red Hook ($4) and explains that before leaving I accepted a challenge to sample each of the 24 drafts on tap. Apparently I made it to Old Speckled Hen ($4.25) before throwing my wallet and mumbling something about not needing to prove myself. The place looks homey, though; with crate barrel tables and a sprawling patio where you can watch Slopers sip cappuccinos and shop for vintage coats. The long wooden benches inside remind me of a place Irish guys might go to clink mugs and heckle each other about their wives.
For the jacket and cell phone I head to LOKI (304 Fifth Avenue, 718-965-9600), whose interior prods my otherwise nonexistent memory. The front of the place is like every bar I went to in college: dark, crowded, and unremarkable. But continue toward the back and it morphs into a posh club complete with velvet curtains, marble tables, and industrial skylights, all helping to attain that drunken, arty feeling (if only inside your head). Drink a Bud ($3) or glass of merlot($5) and sign up to shoot some stick. On Friday nights you can place friendly bets on which might happen first—your game or the end of the world.
THE RISING (186 Fifth Avenue, 718-789-6340) I remember this place like it actually happened. The $5 cover sort of annoyed until I walked into a room full of sleepy intellectuals in church pews, mesmerized by the soulful strumming of a guitar player. This is a good place to chill. Order a Brooklyn Lager ($4) and sink into a couch while musicians climb onstage to bare their souls. If you’re a girl who likes girls and you hang with guys who like girls and guys who like guys, this might be your kind of bohemia. During the summer you can sit outside with a pinot grigio ($6) while the gentle Park Slope breeze kisses your cheek. Me, I’m still half-drunk and short one jacket and a cell phone. I wonder if I’ll remember any of this tomorrow.