The bike ride down 5th Avenue is lively and bustling. As you enter Windsor Terrace or South Slope or Sunset Park which ever you like to call it, the air gets nicer, the road becomes less occupied and a view of Lady Liberty becomes clear on your right side. At the corner of 20th Street is an unassuming and apt place for Quarter Bar, named for its cross streets (20 + 5!). I recently rolled in very close to last call after working a bartending shift. Tim found a house in Sunset Park with his girlfriend of a year and loves the vibe.
After locking up my one speed, I sauntered into the sound of Animal Collective, which made an excellent first impression. Above the sleek black booths and butcher-block tables is a tall shelf of found art, ranging from a stuffed quail to a boom box from what looks like it was salvaged in 1981. A vase of fresh cut flowers, a row of taps and a sparkling white tiled backsplash made up the well stocked bar, which is surrounded by ten stools. Greg, my bartender, was chatting it up with David, the owner. They were surrounded by good looking regulars.
I hunker down and check out the seasonal cocktails. The list is tantalizing and will shift as the weather gets colder. The Plantation, comprised of basil, grapefruit, fresh lime juice and Plymouth Gin, catches my eye and I order it on the spot. Tim grabs a Dewar’s on the rocks and we start to chat. “They have an amazing Happy Hour,” Tim brags of the bar that has provided many happy hours, three blocks away from home.
I look over and sure enough it does look outrageous. All the draught and well drinks are half price during Happy Hour, making for a great cheap date opportunity. The higher end stuff includes a sparkling wine, Paul Cheneau Brut for $10 a glass, and for the more frugal, most every beer is between $5 and $7.
I ask Greg what his favorite drink to make is and he responds without a beat, “I love making the Two Bit, cause there is fire involved!” David and I laugh at the talented tender who is smart and sharp-witted. I drill him about bar snacks and he brags to me of their famous Dub Pies. The two and a half year old bar offers a homemade charm with DIY woodworking and local bar spirit, as Quarter was one of the first hipster bars to open in the area. Now it is one of a handful. Nearby are lots of spots to order in, Lot 2 is great for a brisket and Brothers Pizza for a cheap slice.
Since the bar is next to a laundromat, the back garden often smells of fabric softener and the clientele during the day is usually waiting for the wash cycle. The jukebox is a refreshing dose of Bowie, a danceable LCD Soundsystem album and a mix called “Songs for a Rainy Day.”
Quarter is no spring chicken when it comes to pouring for girls who like girls. The crowd is often made up of queer ladies reflecting the population of lesbians in Park Slope and Sunset Park – one of the largest in the United States. I learned from David that last Halloween consisted of a surprise lady invasion of more than 40 queer girls. He chuckled, and offered that it’s the kind of place where people often, “Show up and make their own party happen.” Who knows what will happen this year?
On my way out, I encounter Amelia, a young resident of Sunset Park. I ask her if she has any other local haunts, and she bluntly responds, “Besides here?” Now there’s an endorsement!
(Photos by Michael Popp)