Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Times Visits the South Side

The New York Times visits Latino-themed nightclubs in Williamsburg and likes what it sees... hey, wait a second, what's Lincoln Restler doing here?

Actually, the article is about the "battle for the soul" of Williamsburg's nightlife. I didn't realize there was a battle, as the only bullets flying around seemed to be happening in Greenpoint.
Instead, the article suggests a segregated nightlife scene where hipsters are partying at the latest bars and restaurants near S. Fourth Street (such as Rye, Dram, Pies 'N Thighs, Traif, etc.) while Latinos who grew up in Williamsburg have few options for themselves besides going into the Meatpacking District or the Lower East Side.
Alma Lounge is one of them (Note: I had originally written that Diana Reyna had her primary victory party there. I was wrong. Her party was at Le Feu Lounge on S. Fifth Street. Alma doesn't have brick walls and a narrow corridor, and the location above does.), but so is Ooba, a tapas lounge on Grand Street, and Don Pancho, also on Grand Street, where many Latino small business owners are opening restaurants and bars.
The article ends noting that many longtime residents don't want bars of any kind on the south side. That sentiment is echoed by Luis Garden Acosta's comments in my article about Vecino Pizza (the last authentic Puerto Rican restaurant in Williamsburg), which may be closing this year.

“Most of us in the Latino community don’t eat at restaurants. If we go to takeout or a restaurant, it has to feel like home,” said Acosta. “The average working class Latino will never step into the places on Bedford, which are owned largely by the white upper middle class community. Everything else is more high end.”

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