This was news to me.
Sure enough, the Times had an item about it on Sunday:
The Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge, a dive at Flushing and Washington Avenues opposite an entrance to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, was a bastion of grit. Scantily clad dancers would gyrate for tips as patrons sipped inexpensive drinks and shot pool. But the area has become more upscale, and when the building with the bar was sold, said Steve Frankel, who owned the bar for 11 years, the lounge’s days were over. “That bar was a real-deal place, built in 1907, and now they’ve gutted it,” he said. “All that history down the drain.”
I've heard about the bar through the years — in rather mythical proportions, too. Sketchy! Dangerous! Anything goes! Quite the legend. In any event, I had never taken the time to go. Navy Yard had been on the endangered list since the building first hit the market in February 2009, as Grub Street reported.
I did make it out there a few times this year with the long-lost Intern of EV Grieve. I planned to write about it one of these days, though never got around to it seeing as it was far off the usual EVG beat. Didn't realize that the post would be an obituary.
The first thing I remember seeing walking up to the bar — just across the street.
Anyway, at first glance inside the Navy Yard, the place seems like your average rundown neighborhood bar. A few regulars are milling about, playing pool. The bartender is cordial. (I'm sort of blending the different trips into one post here....it was always the same.) WBLS is on a little too loudly on the radio. The TV is also on seemingly just as loud — one of those CBS shows that I've never watched on Thursday nights. (CSINCS?)
Eventually around 10 p.m., a lot more women are suddenly in the bar... they walk in, talk with the bartender, spend a lot of time in the women's room. Soon, there are anywhere from five to 10 women va-va-va-vooming around in lingerie, bikinis, etc. Oh! They're all very outgoing, especially when there are just two of you in the bar.
Every few minutes Delicious or Cinnamon or Diamond walks up and asks again if you'd like a dance. No thanks! Two minutes later... There's not much of a chance of sitting here for, say, a few hours drinking without purchasing a $10 dance. (And they don't have change for a $20, oddly enough.) So just sit there in your stool at the bar for the lapdance and wonder why Laurence Fishburne decided to do CSINCS.
There's steady drinking. No one is smashed. It's not amateur hour. There's a no-nonsense, studied drinking going on. I always expect it to get fratastic, though that never happens these nights.
I wanted to take some photos of the dancers, though thought better of it. I think Steve is giving me funny looks down the way. I did take some more innocuous photos.
I asked the Intern of EV Grieve for his notes too:
• The drink list: Thug Passion, Incredible Hulk (which a dancer told me is "sweet")
• The old school kitchen refrigerators
• Approximately 8 security monitors
• Pool table, punching bag machine and the stage that they only use for "special occasions"
• A sign behind the bar that listed prices for top, middle and bottom shelves, literally
• The bathroom has a super-long corridor with mirror in the corner, I guess so you can see if you're about to be stabbed or raided by the cops
• There was a posted time limit on the bathroom doors. Two minutes? And I think a no-gambling sign.
• 23 and over to enter... two-drink minimum.
• The tile floor
• The wood paneling
"God that place is great," the intern said.
Incidentally, the item on the Navy Yard from the Sunday Times ran with a piece on The Fetch Club, "a haven for pampered pooches, fills a space where Fulton Fish Market smells once wafted. There is certainly no odor in this deluxe dormitory for dogs — the air is ionized and purified. The water is filtered, and the food is organic."
In the paper's Chronicle of a Changing City feature. Changing, indeed.