Ridge beer garden owner prepared for neighborhood’s ‘hipster invasion’

Ridge beer garden owner prepared for neighborhood’s ‘hipster invasion’
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Hipsters have invaded Bay Ridge — and barman Tommy Casatelli is ready for them.

In anticipation of the skinny-jeans set’s arrival in the neighborhood, the Kettle Black and Ho’Brah Taco Joint owner plans to debut the neighborhood’s first beer garden, the Lockyard, early next year that will serve an extensive selection of microbrews from around the Midwest — or, as Casatelli calls it, Pennsyltucky.

Casatelli, who once cracked jokes about members of the flannel-sporting counter culture in a viral video entitled “Sh– People From Brooklyn Say,” says his beer garden planned to be built inside the now shuttered Bridgeview Locksmith on Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street will easily draw the hipsters who have already been seen visiting neighborhood taprooms.

“A lot of different-looking people have been coming into the Kettle Black and they are definitely not from Bay Ridge,” said Casatelli. “We’re getting people from Nebraska, Ohio, California, and they were all wearing the hipster uniform.”

The indie-music loving youngsters Casatelli spoke with said they moved to Bay Ridge after getting priced out of Williamsburg and Park Slope — and the firefighter turned bar owner says he’s eager to welcome them with open arms.

“I think it’s great,” Casatelli said. “Bay Ridge needed to open its arms a bit. We’ve been a spaghetti and meatball and Irish bar neighborhood forever. Brooklyn’s always changing and there’s room for everybody.”

The Lockyard’s Midwest theme and mid-sized backyard may remind many Brooklyn transplants of home, he says.

“It’s really going to be about Americana. It’s going to look like somebody’s backyard,” Casatelli said, promising an interior design reminiscent of the classic “Sailor Jerry” tattoos and a menu of hot dogs, sausages, and knishes.

Craft beer lovers will be able to buy growlers — big glass urns that look like moonshine jugs — and fill them up with their favorite brews on tap to take back home with them, Casatelli says.

The 42-year-old bar owner picked the new spot’s name both as a tribute to the location’s history as a locksmith shop — which his uncle owned, and where he once worked — and because he claims it sounds like something from the heartland.

“‘Lockyard,’ you know, it just sounded old-school Americana,” Casatelli said.

But the self-described pizza-loving “Bay Ridge kid” said the beer garden won’t just be for transplants — he wants neighborhood natives to turn out, too.

“I’d never want to alienate what I am and where I come from,” said Casatelli. “When I was a kid, bars had Bud, Coors, Heineken, Corona, that’s it. If a place had Smithwick’s or something, that was a big deal,”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman