There are more than forty bars for the approximately 79,000 residents of Bay Ridge. But to have a bar that means something and does something, that’s where John Avelluto’s the Owl’s Head comes in. Named after a local park, the cozy, brick-walled space opened in December 2011, serving a carefully curated wine and beer list along with small, house-made bites. Locals, many more familiar with Bud and wings than Malbec and panini, were quick to adapt. While Avelluto speaks knowledgeably about wine and art (he holds an MFA in painting from Brooklyn College), he’s also a down-to-earth father of two young girls who works hard for his community. The Owl’s Head hosts the monthly open-mic Bay Ridge Poets Society, and Avelluto is the co-founder and current president of the Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk (SAW). After Hurricane Sandy, Avelluto rounded up members of the bar’s then–runner’s club to deliver food and assistance; more recently, the bar held a fundraiser two days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, raising close to $1,700. A Twin Peaks fanatic, Avelluto also puts on an annual tribute to the series at his bar; one year saw Angelo Badalamenti, the locally born David Lynch collaborator/composer, drop in to check out the festivities. One of Avelluto’s aims, he says, is to “champion our artists’ accomplishments, as this section of Brooklyn largely goes overlooked.” Cheers to the champion of the underdogs.
479 74th Street, Brooklyn