Lovable, bearded bar czar Tracy Westmoreland has landed in Brooklyn. His new watering hole, Manhattans— at 769 Washington Ave. in Prospect Heights— will open on Friday, reclaiming the legacy of his former Hell’s Kitchen dive Siberia.
While it might seem odd that a move to Brooklyn would inspire the name Manhattans, Westmoreland assures us that the name grew out of the borough.
“Hipsters call the city the Manhattans, the name grew out of Brooklyn,” he said over the phone two days before unveiling the new saloon. “Hopefully when enough people know the bar, when they’re making plans to go out, they’ll say, ‘Wait, are we going to the city, or are we going to Tracy’s bar?’ It’s a perfect circle.”
The space, formerly a sketchy watering hole called Ripple Bar, has seen little in terms of renovations. According to Westmoreland, a steel beam was added to reinforce the structure, but little else has been done to revitalize the space, which is exactly how he likes it.
“What we’ve done to it is absolutely nothing,” he said. “It’s a down home funky neighborhood bar, we’re just reviving its soul.
“This bar will draw the coolest people that live in Brooklyn—I want the artists, I want the freaks, I want the drag queens.”
And though he is a Hell’s Kitchen resident, Westmoreland will be taking an apartment next-door, proclaiming, “I can’t have a bar in Brooklyn and not live there.
“It’s a place—you can just go there, be yourself, be a normal human being, I don’t want posers. A lot of the bars I’ve been to they just look like sets, like a Broadway set, they look at detail and don’t pay attention.
“I was in a play and I said to this woman, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ I said, ‘Am I not focusing?’ She said, ‘You’re focusing fine, you’re just not paying attention,’” he continues. “That’s what [these bars are] doing—they’re focusing on getting everything right, but it’s just a set. This is going to be a real bar, if it has anything in common with Siberia it will be real.”
There’s just one stipulation upon entry: “If anybody has ever called you a meathead or a bigot, don’t come to the bar.”
Update: Manhattan’s was shortlived in Brooklyn, but you can visit Tracy at his new spot on West 38th Street. If you can find it!