At first, the idea of a sports bar in Fort Greene seemed slightly odd: In the midst of all the lounges and ethnic eateries, it’s clear that one of these things is not like the others. But now the neighborhood has one, in the form of the rookie joint
Mullanes Bar & Grill (71 Lafayette Avenue), a hop, skip, and jump shot away from the site of the Nets’ (proposed) new home. A mostly unadventurous but amiable place, Mullanes has all the requisite touches, including a collection of flat-screens above the bar area tuned to the Yankees and Mets (R.I.P.)—though, surprisingly, one was showing a Major League Soccer game, to which no one objected. It was cool to watch, as well as simultaneously demolishing any stereotypes of the Brazilians being the most attractive people on the planet. (I’m just saying.)
In fact, only a few guys seemed fixated solely on the games—there was only one backwards cap in sight. The crowd was evenly balanced between males and females, with small groups scattered throughout the bar area and the tables in the back. The spot seemed like a smart choice for a place to meet before catching a flick at BAM—especially early on in the courtship, when you’re figuring out whether to see Eastern Promises (Russian gangsters) or 2 Days in Paris (neurotic couples)—with a mellow vibe and a noise level that’s pleasantly low.
The routine beer list includes the standard options (Bass, Sierra Nevada, Guinness), though local brews like Sixpoint’s Sweet Action ($5) are represented as well. The “Attitude Adjustment Hour” (which runs from 4 to 7 p.m.) sounded like it might finally deliver just what my elementary-school teachers always told me I was sorely in need of.
During my visit, the bartender capably handled the moderate-sized crowd, but the waitstaff seemed plagued by nerves. A typical exchange went something like this:
Waiter: “What can I get you?”
Me: “Can I have a Bud Light?”
Waiter: “We don’t have Bud Light.”
Me: “Oh, well, it’s on the menu.”
Waiter: “Uhmm . . . hold on, let me check.”
(Ten minutes later.)
Different Waiter: “What can I get you?”
But even the bumbling was charming, in a way. It’s hard to get irritated with a place so laid-back; the only uncomfortable part of the night came when a man sitting at the bar with a woman approached the table and asked me if he could buy a round of drinks. When I asked why, he leered back: “Well, the signals have been pretty clear.” (Am I being propositioned? It’s not even midnight, for God’s sake!) “No, no, that’s cool—we’re fine,” I replied. My friends told me I should have at least taken the drinks, but then again, they’re idiots.
That small awkward moment aside, at least now I have a new place to go to debate the talents of Wes Anderson after seeing The Darjeeling Limited.