Even though The Trophy Bar in Williamsburg has only been open for three months, it already has the feel of an established neighborhood watering hole.
“Hey Doug, where’s your mustache?” bartender and co-owner Jim Rowe asks of a man who strolls into the bar on a recent Monday night.
“I don’t think we’ve met,” says another customer, extending his hand over the bar to shake Rowe’s.
Rowe opened the bar in April, along with fellow Williamsburg residents Mandy Misagal and Farika, who previously owned the Stay Gold Gallery and artists’ studios just around the corner on Grand Street.
Because Stay Gold had created a loyal following by the time they shut it down, Misagal and Farika wanted to create a place that would be an artists’ venue as well as a gathering place for their former patrons and neighborhood locals.
With Trophy, they’ve done just that.
The backyard houses a small sculpture garden — right now, there’s an abstract piece by Bushwick artist Jason Peters, who also did Trophy’s interior woodwork — and throws weekend barbecues every Sunday (and some Saturdays).
The exterior of the bar is discrete — there’s no name on the black awning, just a picture of a gold trophy — and the interior is tranquil, with low lighting, a cool green and black color scheme, and shelves of polished trophies, found on eBay or contributed by customers, along the exposed-brick wall.
“It’s got a very quiet, a very calm feeling that a lot of the Williamsburg bars don’t have,” Rowe said.
So far, Trophy’s received its most press from the unfortunate Kyle Hausmann incident — the Bedford-Stuyvesant paralegal who, after emerging from a lengthy stay in the bathroom, ended up locked in the tavern overnight. At 6 am, Hausmann couldn’t get in touch with his sleeping friends and didn’t want to call the police, so he wasn’t released until a very surprised Rowe found him there later that day.
Although Rowe took the episode lightly, he hopes that Trophy will become known for other things.
“We want [Trophy] to be open to the neighbors, but we also want it to be a destination for people from Manhattan by offering international DJs and musicians,” said Farika, the designated “music person” of the trio.
Trophy has already been host to a number of well-known DJs, such as “Dave 1” from the Canadian group Chromeo and DJ Vadim from Russia, and is reserving upcoming weekends for more musicians and dancing.
During the rest of the week, customers can choose their own tunes from the vintage jukebox, whose music collection Farika personally oversees and changes every two months.
The daily happy hour is also a draw: Trophy offers $4 “Victory” margaritas — with Herradura Silver tequila, Cointreau, sour drink mix, fresh lime juice and salt — as well as $3 well drinks and $2 off any other drink, from opening until 8 pm.
Other popular drinks include the “Best in Show” cocktail, with St. Germain liqueur, Prosecco, and fresh lime juice, or one of the eight beers on tap, such as Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Brooklyn Lager.
But ultimately, Rowe said, The Trophy Bar is about the people.
“There are quite a few people who are regulars. There are some regulars who have already moved out of the neighborhood, who I really miss. They sort of became part of the bar and now they’re gone, you know,” he said quietly.
It’s clear in the behavior of the customers, most of whom greet Rowe as an old friend or make an effort to introduce themselves, that the personal element of the bar is important to them as well.
And in Williamsburg, where people and businesses come and go faster than you can write down their telephone numbers, it’s nice to know that there’s a neighborhood bar where you’ll be welcome and — if you leave — where you’ll be missed.
The Trophy Bar (351 Broadway at Keap Street in Williamsburg) accepts Discover, MasterCard and Visa. The bar is open Monday through Thursday, from 5 pm to 4 am, and Friday through Sunday, from 4 pm to 4 am. For information, call (347) 227-8515 or visit www.myspace.com/trophybar.