Melissa Elders hangs with her daughter Serena, 2, at Greenpoint's Spritzenhaus33.Stefano Giovannini
On a recent weekend afternoon, Rodney, a 27-year-old Bushwick resident, stopped by the bar Union Pool in Williamsburg. He planned to partake in Sunday Funday — a popular pastime in which millennials get day-drunk before heading into the workweek.
But when he showed up, he found more than a dozen little kids — ranging from toddlers to elementary schoolers — running around the bar and outdoor patio. For Rodney, the crowd was an immediate buzzkill.
“I felt slightly uneasy,” says Rodney, a consultant who asked to withhold his last name for professional reasons. “You’re put in an awkward position of little kids running up to your table … [I’d like to tell parents,] ‘I wanna tell your kids to sit down, but those are your children.’”
With soaring rent prices that have turned the trendiest parts of Brooklyn into a haven for families — many of them parented by the very people who used to day-drink in public — more bars are attracting little kids.
“When I first moved to New York 11 years ago, I had band practice in Williamsburg, and bars there [attracted] people in their 20s,” Heath Fradkoff, the 39-year-old founder of Ward 6 Marketing, tells The Post. “Now you’ve got condos and a lot of young families living there — it’s changing the bar dynamic.”
Fradkoff, who’s based in Brooklyn’s Columbia Street waterfront district, regularly brings his 1-year-old son, Hugh, to bars such as The Douglass in Boerum Hill while he’s catching up with friends.
“We usually bring him during daylight hours,” he said, adding that he’s never noticed anyone being annoyed by Hugh’s presence. “And if he starts getting disruptively fussy we’re out the door … Nobody is doing body shots with a toddler.”
“Bartenders are usually the most friendly to children and they always go above and beyond,” said Elders, founder of toddler dining service Nibble and Squeak, which hosts fancy food events for tots and their parents. “They offer cherry garnishes and give cups of olives to kids … They’re very intuitive.”
But Williamsburg parent Evan Saffer, 39, thinks there are better ways to spend time with one’s kids. He stopped bringing his children, ages 6 and 2, to bars last year.
“I just think [parents who take kids to bars] are trying hang onto a sort of lifestyle,” said Saffer, who owns Kávé Espresso Bar in Bushwick. “The more advanced parents are the ones who don’t see [kids] as a sacrifice, and find other creative ways to do things with them.”
As for millennial Rodney, he’s now scouting for a cool, kid-free place to get his weekend drink on.
“I get that parents want to spend time with their kids, but I’m trying to have fun and drink with my friends,” he said. “I don’t need to see kids toast their sippy cups with their parents’ drinks.”
Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop
There are very few places more comfy than a friendly pub. And on a cool Autumn afternoon with the doors flung open, we had high hopes for The Douglass (149 4th Avenue at Douglass Street), a newly-opened pub which also has a proper menu.
Co-owners Pete Cavanaugh and Bryan Kuhn started serving up food and drink just a few weeks backafter only two months of renovation. In restaurant parlance, that’s a record time turnaround.
The Australian pub Sheep Station closed up at the end of July, and the new owners have done a sharp job re-working the space to create an atmosphere that’s comfortable without being cluttered.
Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop
Our timing was right, as happy hour drinks were flowing as they will do on Mondays-Thursday between 4pm-7pm.
The drinks menu is certainly the featured element of the pub, with a full list of beer, wine, and cocktails to suit just about anyone. And it’s a proper pub with a nice mahogany bar — so simply stopping in for just a drink is encouraged.
Côtes du Rhône and a Douglass House Wheat Beer. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)
The tasty Douglass House Wheat Beer ($5 at Happy Hour) was light enough for a late afternoon sip. My dining partner enjoyed her glass of Côtes du Rhône ($6).
Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop
The menu is a take on your “standard” pub fare with a bit more flare. You’ll find onion rings, wings, quesadillas, salads, burgers (yes, a veggie burger as well), and even a “Douglass Breakfast” ($13) which is a plate of Irish sausage, bacon, eggs, and fries.
Chicken Tacos. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)
We split a starter and main, which together were filling enough to be a meal. The chicken tacos ($8, or $10 if you did shrimp) were soft and flavorful. The tacos weren’t weighed down with too much, so you could actually eat them with your hands. They were a good start.
Fish n’ Chips. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)
My dining partner suggested the Fish n’ Chips ($15) which I usually shy away from because of the dish being too heavy. However, this wasn’t the case. The Atlantic Cod was fluffy — and the batter was not too greasy at all. We forgot to add vinegar, so don’t make that mistake when you go in.
The rear dining area. (Photo by Donny Levit / Park Slope Stoop)
The team is putting the finishing touches on the back room, which was always my favorite part of Sheep Station. It’s an intimate alternative to the front room — good for a small group having a nightcap.
Co-owner Pete Cavanaugh knows what he’s doing. While he’s been in real estate for the last eight years, he previously owned the Dorian Gray Tap and Grill in the West Village, as well as some other drinking/food venues in Manhattan.
The Douglass also is serving brunch on the weekends beginning at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays.
How best to describe this new venue? It’s that comfortable item of clothing you wear — be it a pair of jeans or the sweater you’ve missed over the last six months. Nothing too flashy or expensive — just plain comfortable.
The Dining Rundown: The Douglass
Where: 149 4th Avenue at Douglass Street
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 4pm-12am (kitchen until 10pm); Fridays, 2pm-2am (kitchen until 10pm); Saturdays, 11am-2pm (kitchen until 11pm); Sundays, 11am-12am (kitchen until 10pm). Brunch served on weekends beginning at 11am.
Kid Friendly? Perfectly fine for brunch or mid-afternoon lunch.
New Bar and Restaurant Opening in Former Sheep Station Space
The new mahogany bar at The Douglass, a new bar opening next month in the former Sheep Station space.
PARK SLOPE — A longtime neighbor of the recently closed Aussie bar Sheep Station is opening a new watering hole in the space that will revive its casual vibe in a spruced up setting.
Peter Cavanagh, who moved in across the street from Sheep Station when it was under construction in 2006, will launch a bar and restaurant called The Douglass in the former Sheep Station space at 149 Fourth Ave., he told Community Board 6 members Monday night.
Cavanagh also owns The Dorian Gray Tap and Grill on the Lower East Side.
Sheep Station closed last month after 10 years in business, but some of its spirit will live on at The Douglass, Cavanagh said.
The Douglass will serve "simple, affordable" food with a menu that will include salads, burgers and favorites inspired by the Sheep Station menu such as meat pies and fish and chips.
Cavanagh is a longtime pal of Sheep Station's owner Jason Crew, and with Crew's input he's renovating the space to give it a brighter, cleaned-up look, Cavanagh told DNAinfo New York.
So far he's added a new mahogany bar, a sleek white tile wall, and a white-stained floor that has a "beach house" feel, he said.
He's aiming to have the space ready for a soft opening Sept. 20. Cavanagh is opening The Douglass with co-owner Bryan Kuhn, an FDNY firefighter who lives in Windsor Terrace.
"It's needed a cleanup and a brightening," Cavanagh said of the Sheep Station space, adding that new spots such as the Korean barbecue joint Insa and craft beer bar Threes Brewing have increased competition for customers.
"Everyone seems to like the new kid on the block," Cavanagh said. "We're going to be the new kid."
The Community Board 6 Environmental Protection, Permits and Licenses committee gave initial approval to the new bar’s liquor license application Monday night. The full board will review the application next month.