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Looking for an old man bar with good (even okay) food in Bklyn

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One of the very few things I loved about Los Angeles was that, if you really looked, you could usually (still) find a great old man bar -- you know, dark, red vinyl booths, scratched dark wood walls, older regulars at the bar talking about the same stuff they were talking about the night before. And usually you could get a decent burger or a corned beef sandwich. Anyone know of a place like this? Maybe in Sunset Park? (Ideally, I'd like something that's an easy commute to South Slope and also not overly discovered.)

Tall order. Any advice?

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  1. Yeah, know what you mean but they're getting to be medium-rare finds.

    RHYTHM & BOOZE on Prospect Avenue / 10th Avenue - close enough to South Slope? - might fit the bill, as they've got a "classic", at times cantankerous, clientele, excellent burgers and fries and reasonably-priced brewskis (4-buck pints of Sierra Nevada) with table or at-the-bar seating...comfy.

    There's the RAINBOW CAFE on 5th Avenue & 39th Street but you may have to import your own eats. No shortage there however. Just take a quick hop over to 46th Street to score some dynamite Tamales Oaxaquenos on the other side of Fifth Ave.

    1. New York is a city of neighborhoods and the bar was the neighborhood headquarters. There used to be a place on just about every corner in Brooklyn where the guys at the bar are sitting at the same stools their grandparents did 50 years before. Fifth Avenue is still to some extent one big long street of those bars. Some serve food, others will let you take food in. I once walked from north Park Slope, past Fifth Amendment, past Timboos, all the way to Bay Ridge, and there were bars all the way. I dont remember much after about 65 Street, but there were some good bars in the 60s.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Brian S

        What a quest. There is a great old man bar on coney island ave near Ditmas. on the east side. Wish I remember name, but bars and names can be tough.

        1. re: driggs

          it's the 773 Lounge, but I think it has another name too. Coney Island Ave between Dorchester and Cortelyou.

          1. re: ghbrooklyn

            Thanks. That is the name I was looking for.

      2. Brian S mentioned Jackie's Fifth Amendment which is like 5th Ave and 7th street or so. That is definitely an old man bar. Also there is O'Connor's at the Flatbush end of 5th Ave..although that may have been taken over by the hipsters by now.

        2 Replies
        1. re: spicynuts

          o'connors is the original brooklyn old man bar to be taken over by the early hipsters. if they are still in there, i dk. probably so. you can take food in.

          the retired original owner used to come in and hand out free corned beef sandwiches on st pats, that was always a nice touch.

          farrells is another one. now that place is god's idea of a neighborhood old guy bar.

          1. re: mrnyc

            They still have free corned beef sandwiches on St. P day. Has there been a change in ownership at some point?

        2. i'm not sure if it's still there, but the long island restaurant on atlantic and henry (i think) is a wonderfully preserved 40s bar that made me one of the best cheeseburgers i've ever had.

          5 Replies
          1. re: wleatherette

            LI restaurant is still there and still the same.

            1. re: ghbrooklyn

              great news. i'm long overdue for a visit, then.

              1. re: ghbrooklyn

                I don't know that I've ever seen LI restaurant open. Does it still operate?

                1. re: cazique

                  Still open. Relies on business from LI College Hospital.

              2. re: wleatherette

                How abut Montero's on the other side of the Street - Atlantic and Hicks? Does it serve food? That's an old man's bar.

              3. Thanks -- this is all really great.
                I do love Farrell's, live pretty close. I like that it's often busiest on Friday's when, for its regulars, knocking off a little early from work means getting to Farrell's by noon. Later in the afternoon, when everyone's loaded, it can feel a little sketchy. On the other hand, most of the guys loaded are cops & firemen so I guess you don't have to worry too much. If I have one beef with Farrell's (besides the fact that they don't still sell "chops" as the sign says. sigh. chops)** it's that it's too bright at night.
                I'm so glad to hear about Rhythm & Booze (also just read on this board about its great burgers). I live near, but honestly the bad punnage of the name has kept me away. Who would guess that a place called Rhythm & Booze could be good? Guess there are worse names out there. My favorite bad pun restaurant = place in DC called "Thai - Tanic: an Adventure in Asian Cuisine." Hard to beat that.
                **Oops, just walked by and it does NOT say chops, just Bar & Grill. Confused it with another sign. Or maybe just saw ghost signage of chops long gone.

                6 Replies
                1. re: JenMarie66

                  the best thing about farrells is that you stand at the bar & drink like a man. now thats classic. also, the bud in goblets or containers. the whole deal, what a hoot.

                  agree about monteros on atlantic, ive been in a few times over the years. totally old man joint, much more so in the daytime of course.

                  not very old man, but you'd prob dig the brooklyn inn too in boreum hill. yuppified, but it's the oldest bar in the city.

                  1. re: mrnyc

                    A veteran bartender who lived almost 70 years in Brooklyn told me that many years ago they discouraged ladies from standing at the bar. A very famous movie actress came in to stand at the bar and was told to sit at a table. Do you know who that is? someone asked the owner. He replied, yes I do, she's the lady who is about to sit at a table.

                    1. re: Brian S

                      It was at Farrell's, and it was Shirley Maclaine.

                      1. re: Brian S

                        I was reading through these and when I was a small child I remember my father (Thomas Farrell) son of Michael Farrell(original owner of Farrell's Bar & Grill)telling me the story of when Shirley Maclaine came in and was told she couldn't sit at the bar. It's really nice to hear that so many people love Farrell's. From what I have read, my Uncle Eddie was loved by many, and a very generous man. It must run in the family, because my father Tommy, Eddie's brother was also loved by everyone and missed greatly. He has been gone for 31 years now.Thank you

                        1. re: colleen farrell

                          The story is told by Pete Hamill, who brought in his then-girlfriend Maclaine, in his great book, A Drinking Life.

                          1. re: colleen farrell

                            thanks so much for this, colleen. do members of your family still own farrell's? or has it been passed on to new owners...

                    2. I guess the whole gist is that there are a ton of old man bars, but very few with food. I think you could probably bring food into any of them. I personally really like Jackie's Fifth, and did have a good time at Timboo's also...Monterro's is fun too...as for O'Connor's, it's still a good bar, you just have to go earlier..the hipsters come later on. It's a good afternoon bar, the bartenders are great, the music is good, and you can most certainly bring food in.

                      1. OH, I have to plug my local bar, the Canal bar, which is NOT an old man bar, but does occassionally serve really good food...the owners like to grill outside the bar most Sunday's and holidays, and the food is free for customers. Very friendly place, great rowdy bartenders, it's a nice mix of regular locals, the guys from the GLory social club down the street, etc. It's not a hipster joint, praise god, and the juke box is great.

                        1. My father who lives with me on SI and is 74 years young still hangs out at Timbos, has been for years and years. The original owners Tim Something and Bobby SoandSo........hence the name Timbo :)
                          My mother was also asked to take a seat in Farrells years ago. May not be as famous at Shirley but she is in my book.

                          1. For a true Old Man Bar, try heading to Ave Z and 21st Street. It's called the Log Cabin, and you can usually catch one of the old Italian men singing Sinatra tunes. TV screens behind the bar have either sports or karoake text for those looking for a nightly karaoke experience.
                            There always seems to be smoke in the air, even with our great Mayor's ban, and there's pool hustlers in the back.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: eglazarev

                              I used to have friends that were bartenders at the Log Cabin. If you hit the Log Cabin at the right time they have a free buffet on the nights the dart league plays. I always prefered Wheelers on Sheepshead Bay Road though, they serve food and it's good. I miss Captain Walter's they closed down some time ago.

                              You might also want to try cruising Flatbush Ave and Nostrand Ave near Kings Highway and Ave R.

                              1. re: MrsT

                                Captain Walter's was great. I miss that place, too.

                                1. re: MaspethMaven

                                  Do you remember the 1 Cpt Walter's. Wheelrs in the 80's way cool. TLC is a good old blue collar free lunch during the week . When you buy a beer.

                                  1. re: FAL

                                    I was too young for Wheelers in the 80s. Hell, I was too young for Wheelers int he 90s, but I went anyway.

                            2. The Log Cabin has a lot of characters in there lol. I was there once, with my DH and Brotherinlaw. It was fun, but unless you go in there with a "regular" it might be uncomfortable.

                              I used to love Wheelers. My friends and I were regulars there all through nursing school.

                              1. sadly, some of the best "old man bars" in brooklyn don't serve food, and/or they're taken over by hipsters.

                                however, not really an old man bar, but a good place for beer and burgers and a cast of characters that doesn't seem to change is Mugs Ale House on Bedford Avenue. I see the same four guys every time I go there.

                                1. There's a place in Kensington near me that I haven't been to yet but looks promising, Denny's Steak Pub. Not sure if there's any Steak there anymore, but the Pub part sure seems intact. Another is the Starlight on McDonald and maybe Ave J, right under the F train. Anyone been there?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: HankyT

                                    Denny's is good and has a pool table and Quick Draw to keep you busy...previous reports state that their T-Bones went bye-bye in the early '90s.