While I don’t venture out in downtown Brooklyn much, I have a general sense of whereabouts around Atlantic Terminal. Anything beyond that is a crap shoot. Our meeting spot is 61 Local. I Google the venue before I commit, making sure it is 1) bikable and 2) has something other than beer. Both items are affirmed and I agree on 7:30pm. Sparing the transit details, I lock up outside 61 local and walk in to find a fusion of a beer-bar and laptops in a neighborhood that doesn’t quite compute as familiar. Kate appears, then Steve, and we eat and drink and agree to move on.
“We could go to this place down the street,” Kate guides. I know nothing of the area or things it offers and am completely at her mercy. Steve and I both shrug, offering nothing, and we walk in the direction of the dive bar she mentioned, though it is immediately ruled out by the flip of a coin (please note this coin is on an app, not an actual coin because – 21st century).
Again we venture, indecision among us, the culprit of friends not seen in some time. We arrive in front of a place called “CAMP” with a kitschy decor in and out. A girl bounds out only to be met with disappointment, “Oh, I thought you all were smoking and I was going to ask for a cigarette.” She looks 15-16 years old, though I am sure she is 22 and I am getting older. We encourage her bubbly nature to try the group down the street that is actually exhaling tobacco.
We love the overboard white birch exterior and walk into a cabin designed dive bar playing very loud top 40s music. The bartender also begs to be considered 21. Ignoring all red flags, we choose a corner at the bar and continue our conversation from the street. Soon Steve stares past me to what I assume is the small display of photo booth pictures. A little part of me gets excited about a photo booth until he points to the giant roach on the wall. Kate turns and points to one on the ceiling, and the floor. With no drinks yet in hand, we tap out, three giant-sized Texas roaches is enough for us to leave.
Our search resumes. “We could go to this place,” Kate guides until we are in front on June, a wine bar. The place is quaintly elegant and, most importantly, roach-free. Though none of the other bars in Cobble Hill were terribly busy, June is packed on a weeknight. We are offered a table with no judgement as we state we are here for drinks only. The waitress is friendly and attentive, yet regards the fact that our excursion is more about conversation than alcohol and allows us enough time to finally glance at the menu.
I order the Indian Summer (mezcal, sapins, mastiha, lime). It is a variation on the last word, substituting chartreuse with two lesser-known herbal liquors. Sapins tastes like a botanical forest, and mastiha adds more earthiness with a spirit distilled from the resin of Greecian Mastia trees. Kate orders a drink a bit more straightforward, Hell for the Company (bourbon, sfumato rabarbaro, lemon, honey) while Steve sticks to beer. Chatter ensues around us and I forget where I am, this jem engulfing me in its refined modern decor with equal parts intimate lighting and open space.
The bar empties and fills again behind us as we decide to call it a weeknight. I leave wishing June was in my neighborhood with its atmosphere, well-stocked backbar, and impeccable wine list.