West Coast expats looking for a bit of home in Brooklyn struck gold with the opening of Pacific Standard (82 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn), a bar firmly committed to drawing Northern Californian transplants. Since last December, owners John and Jon—college chums from Berkeley—have been blogging about the various challenges involved with opening up a new drinking spot, treating readers to insider info like dealing with plumbers (not fun) and reaching out to the new neighbors (“We feel like Mormons, or child molesters”), and even allowing them to weigh in on what to call the unisex bathrooms (the not-so-imaginative Pacific/Atlantic carried the day). The duo also solicited help from friends: “Do you know a good contractor or a cool furniture store?” It says something about the affability of the owners that their buddies were willing to pitch in—although free beer may have had something to do with it. Add a hilarious Korean landlord who says things like “You know, woman very messy, put many thing in toilet,” and this could be a sitcom pilot.
John and Jon’s scruffy charm has clearly rubbed off on the bar itself, which is comfortable and decidedly low-key. The space resembles a cross between a coffeehouse and a surf shop. The front is spacious, with lots of pale wood and plenty of seating. The back has a bit of a dorm-room feeling, with bright blue walls, ugly couches, and a giant projection screen for catching Padres or 49ers games. The three large bookshelves offer an eccentric variety of reading material ideal for perusing while waiting on a tardy friend.
The beer list, however, is quite serious. A two-page menu describes the brews on tap ($4–$6) in minute detail, down to provenance and percentage of alcohol by volume. At a whopping 9 percent, the Old Rasputin was as dark as strong coffee and bears the label “Not for the faint of heart,” which is either a warning or a dare, depending on your point of view. The California selections like Stone IPA and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale were popular choices, and the bartender (John or Jon) was kind enough to provide samples for anyone unable to make up their mind. A much shorter food menu ($3–$4) offers grub like chips and salsa, almonds, cheese and salami, and a San Francisco treat called “It’s-it,” a peacock-painting ice-cream sandwich dipped in chocolate. If you manage to keep the party going until closing time, all the food is free.
An assortment of theme nights promises continual activity: “Mike’s Midnight Movie Madness” takes over the projector to screen comedic gems like Teen Wolf and more recent fare like Hot Fuzz and Knocked Up. Thursdays feature “Playtime with Cherry Tree,” a collabo with the saloon across the street. (See? Making friends is easy!) The bar kicked things off with a “Fortnight of Fury,” which challenged patrons to show up every night for two weeks and imbibe at least 50 drinks. The winner, a lush by the name of English Adams, emerged as the champion after downing a staggering total of 90. English Adams, we both salute and fear you.