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The Crawl: Williamsburg, 7/16/09

: Thursday

HOOD: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

BARS HIT: Spuyten Duyvil, Duff’s Brooklyn, Royal Oak

ODDITIES: Bourbon Stout, Jesus Juice



Some nights, stupidity is the only draught that you can stomach. Last Thursday, I decided that I not only had to go out drinking, but I had to do so in a number of places, and do so to the point that I was a complete fucking moron. I enlisted the help of Crux, Alex, and James for the evening, deciding that if stupidity was the name of the game, I should roll with my closest and strongest crew. Hey, if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

First stop was Spuyten Duyvil, one of Williamsburg’s more extensive beer bars. The location is perfect for a summer night’s boozing—white and yellow wood interior, strange old chairs and stools, and a massive backyard for outdoor drinking. Top this off with an extensive list of strange beers and wines from the world over (they got mead!) and you’ve got a lovely place to begin your evening. I enjoyed a Kolsch first, and then, idiotically, asked Alex to recommend something “beery” to me. Offended I would ask such a thing (dude’s a brewer), Alex suggested I blow twelve bucks on a Bourbon Stout. Of course, when the bartender whipped out a thimble-like Belgian glass, I knew I would not be getting the foamy yellow drink I wanted, and instead choked down half a bottle of the beer equivalent of Turkish coffee while my friends chuckled. While I enjoyed both the drink and the layout of Spuyten Duyvil, I can’t say I was into the crowd—the place was Hipster City, packed with folks who seemed overdressed, underwhelmed, and way too into themselves. Sadly, the one dude in a Deicide shirt who walked it escaped shortly afterwords. Couldn’t blame him. By the time we left, we were beered up and going strong.


Next was Duff’s Brooklyn, the Heavy Metal Bar of the five boroughs. When I attended the old Duff’s location on 3rd Street, I was put off by the cramped quarters and shitty selection; the new location, I’ve found, is far superior. While the front room is packed with horror movie stills, heavy metal posters, and creepy religious crap; and contains a juke box packed with awesome heavy metal (free on Sundays!) and a Prize Wheel that goes for three bucks a spin (I won a beer cozie and a shot of “Jesus Juice,” a lemony concoction that made me want to punch a chick in the face for no reason). The back room, however, was the place to be—tables lined with H.R. Giger art, pentagrams glowing above each booth, a gimp in a cage in one corner of the room, and so on and so forth. While the lack of draught beer is definitely a downer, the decor, soundtrack, and atmosphere of the bar certainly made up for it. The crowd, too, was nice if sparse; the bar serves as a metal hub for the Tri-State area, with past clientele including Rob Zombie, Slayer’s Kerry King, and porcelain-skinned starlet Evan Rachel Wood, making it a great place to meet metalheads who just want to have a drink. Your typical violent barfly is less of an issue (though a previous trip introduced me to a scornful wandering Hassid!). All in all, Duff’s is an awesome place for a group of rockers to get stupid, and so we did.


The Royal Oak might be my favorite bar in Billyburg, mainly because a) it’s huge, and b) my friend Maddy is a bartender and makes a mean whiskey sour. By the time I reached the Oak and got a pint in me, I was blotto with a capital ‘BLO.’ Crux had long since disappeared, and Alex eventually went home to the wife, leaving James and I to mop up even more booze while Maddy stared on in amusement, horror, and disgust. The Oak is a good place around this time of night, when sleep seems far off but trying to be cool and interesting is long gone—the perfect hour for the pickled drunk. The size and style of the Oak is almost Sinatra-esque, reminding one of a time when men were drunks and women were drunks and the bartender was your only friend. I poured some liquor into myself, unsuccessfully called my drug dealer, and repeatedly hit on Maddy, who laughed it off, thank God. Eventually, it all blurred together.


When I woke up on James’ futon, my head felt like someone had inserted a fiddler crab into it. My stomach was doing somersaults. I took a shit as black and solid as a nightstick and immediately wolfed down a breakfast of a bacon cheeseburger and fries. By the time I got home, to Washington Heights, I was drenched in drunk sweat and sorry to have been born.  Stupidity accomplished.