Lucinda Rosenfeld

       Around nine last night, boyfriend G. and I entered Strong Contender For World’s Most Depressing Bar, a neighborhood joint in my native Brooklyn where the television monitors transmit baseball without the sound, lunkheads laugh in unison, and blue-haired octogenarians with osteoporosis fall asleep over highball glasses. We stayed for about 45 minutes. The place is actually called “Snookies,” I think. Or “Snuggies.” Whatever it’s called, it’s out of keeping with the neighborhood vibe, which is all about “wellness.” That word could have been invented here in Park Slope, a college townish enclave filled with Rollerblading vegetarians. Even if it wasn’t, I’d hate it. It makes me want to smoke. I had two cigarettes at the World’s Most Depressing Bar, but I was too depressed to enjoy them. (That wasn’t really the fault of the bar; it was because G. and I were there to talk about breaking up.)
       To most of my friends, the very idea of “going out” in Brooklyn is absurd. One goes to Brooklyn in order to recover from having been out in Manhattan, where the drinks are overpriced, the service nonexistent, and the people dishearteningly attractive. However, having been out in Manhattan, one never contends with the sensation of having “missed out.” Brooklyn is about “missing out.” There are those of us who like the idea of “missing out” in Brooklyn. The problem is: There isn’t anywhere you’d want to go to do it.
       The only other place to drink in Park Slope is Two Boots. It’s a pizza-and-pasta restaurant, but the front room contains a circular bar. The typical customer is a 23-year-old girl (or guy) with a lot of bracelets and earrings and long brown free-flowing hair. There is a good chance he or she is on an Ultimate Frisbee team. There is a beautiful corner bar over in Boerum Hill, a historic neighborhood where real estate is made cheaper by the proximity of the Gowanus Housing Projects. It’s called the Brooklyn Inn. The tin ceiling is about 16 feet high. There’s a lovely old mirror behind the mahogany bar and a pool table in the back room. The only problem with the Brooklyn Inn is that it can make you hate your country. The guys who pack this place on weekend nights appear to have removed their pledge pins just the week before. They wear baseball caps and tuck their long-sleeved T-shirts into belted jeans. The women wear jeans, too. (When did I start hating jeans?) They stand in groups, laughing and chatting in a manner I associate with non-New York cities like Boston. They seem relieved not to be in Manhattan.
       G., with whom I once went to the Brooklyn Inn, is convinced the only reason to live in Brooklyn is the cost of real estate. I disagree: There’s peace and tranquility, cultural diversity, brownstones, Prospect Park. We argue about this. But G. and I argue about everything.