Really open bar! Smorgasburg wants to serve cocktails in middle of Prospect Park

Really open bar! Smorgasburg wants to serve cocktails in middle of Prospect Park
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Forget Brooklyn’s Backyard — Prospect Park is now Brooklyn’s Beer Garden!

The organizers of hipster food market Smorgasburg want to stick an open-air cocktail bar on the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens side of the park, and locals say why not — it is already full of boozehounds, anyway.

“On any nice day on our side of the park people drink all over the place, barbecue, and leave lots of garbage,” said resident and Community Board 9 member Tim Thomas, who first reported the news on his blog the Q at Parkside. “It’s been that way for years, and frankly it’s not that big a deal and totally tolerated.”

Board members voted 26–5 to recommend the State Liquor Authority allow the Sunday food-fest to sell wine, beer, and spirits within a roped-off area where the market moved from Brooklyn Bridge Park last summer — though cracking open your own Narragansett tall boy outside the zone would remain prohibited.

If the state body gives its blessing, the Brooklyn Flea spin-off market will be offering libations alongside its usual array of wacky finger foods by its seasonal April 3 opening, according to the market’s co-founder Eric Demby.

Several park-goers welcomed the new drinkery, but some were skeptical that it was really geared to the nearby neighborhood.

“It’s nice to have an outdoor bar, but I wish they’d invest in the surrounding community and neighborhood and not just in entertainment that local people can’t afford,” said Ben Childs during a stroll through the greenery.

The pop-up bar would not be the first park outpost to sling intoxicants — the eatery at its skating rink, Bluestone Cafe, has been quietly serving wine and beer since its 2014 opening.

But locals have not always welcomed the presence of liquor in the garden — city parks officials booted out short-lived music and food festival the Great GoogaMooga three years ago after drunken hoards laid waste to its grassy meadows.

Demby insists his weekend bar will be on the right side of the park’s mixed history of consumption, however — claiming it will ease into the change by first serving only wine and beer before introducing cocktails made with artisan liquors from borough distilleries.

“Once we have the operation down pat, we’ll think about expanding,” said Demby. “We understand it’s a people’s park, and we not only have to show up in a way that doesn’t disrupt the park, but adds to people’s enjoyment of the park.”

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobb[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Cheers: Prospect-Lefferts Gardens locals and neighbors Gloria Guzman and Ben Childs are all about enjoying a cold one in beautiful Prospect Park.
Photo by Jordan Rathkopf