So here’s the thing about Fridays: Despite recent pop song insistence that Friday night is the most fun ever, if you have anything job-like to do during the week, by Friday you’re tired.
My default impulse is to hibernate with all of the TV I missed on Hulu and an enormous glass of wine. Unfortunately, this hermit behavior just ends up making you feel kind of dirty after emerging from a four-hour post-work nap and consuming massive quantities of take out while watching “Parks and Recreation.”
My solution to Fridays that allows the TGIF weary to be both social and lazy is the Friday night dinner out. Hey, you’re wearing real clothes and talking to people about not work things! And, if it’s an eatery that also doubles as a watering hole, even better. You can segue seamlessly into the going out portion of the evening without even having to move.
With this in mind, here are Park Slope Patch’s picks for restaurants that are also excellent places to drink.
The epitome of the restaurant-bar transformer is (1123 Eighth Avenue). It is literally a bar and a grill. The single address houses a more formal dining room on Eighth Avenue and a casual bar on 12th Street.
Around since the early 1980s, the concept of the double business naturally emerged out of the way the historic buildings were set up; the bar is actually the old carriage house to the landmark building.
But, the best part is that the bar serves the full dining room menu plus its own pub food. Dishes are New American and the menu changes often. The grilled porchetta (crispy seasoned roast pork) over potatoes gives the East Village’s famous Porchetta restaurant some serious competition. The curry mussels are also a local favorite.
Making locals happy is the main agenda here. Bartender Jeanine Giammarino was born in Park Slope and grew up on Eighth Avenue, so the bar feels like home to her. Ditto for four other bartenders at 12th Street who were born within three blocks of the place, as well loyal regulars.
“It’s like our living room because apartments are so freaking small,” Guammarino joked. Slopers from a five-mile radius are often in every night of the week. There’s even a standing Saturday night poker game across the street with bartenders and regulars. Ask Giammarino to make you her signature drink, a rye Manhattan with a brandied cherry, and maybe you can score an invite.
If you’re in the mood for a gastropub that was around before it was trendy and will be around long after, go dinner-partying at the (210 Prospect Park West). While technically in Windsor Terrace, the Double Windsor is too good to leave out. So, I hereby claim it in the name of Park Slope. With wide planked wooden tables you can play Trivial Pursuit, a craft beer selection so big that even beer haters can find something they like (read cider), and the best double of the all—a BLT and tomato soup combo, it’s a lazy-night-out dream come true.
And if a gastropub is feeling a little too familiar, spice it up and grab dinner and drinks at (276 Fifth Avenue). Plunk down at a stool in front of the open kitchen and chat up the staff as you watch them in action. Skip the ramen (that’s what is for) and make a meal out of the traditional izakaya (Japanese bar) appetizers.
The takoyaki (fried octopus balls) are not only hilarious fodder for double entendres but savory, and piping hot. Naruto’s karaage (Japanese fried chicken) is perfectly authentic divvy Japanese junk food, the spicy tuna in a bowl only costs three bucks, and the chahan (fried rice) is the best in Park Slope—and I say that with the blessing of my Hong Kong-born father. Wash it all down with a giant mug of Sapporo, usually on special, and make sure to say campi (cheers).