The Weekend Shortlist February 6 to 8
Friday February 6
Wasn’t there a rumor a little while back that Beirut had broken up? Thankfully, this is one rumor that is false apparently, as the eastern European indie rock band is set to release a double EP of material in March of the Zapotec/Holland EP. Known more for its cheesecake than anything else on its menu, Junior’s also offers fantastic diner and deli style eats from steak burgers to deli sandwiches. If you can make it through dinner, the cheesecake will be worth the wait! One of Brooklyn’s most interesting dive bars, O’Connor’s offers cheap drinks in a place where Park Slope hipsters meet old-time drinkers, making for one of the oddest pairings that works. An excellent place to get schnitzel and goulash and other Austrian delights, Thomas Beisl is right across the street from BAM.
Friday February 6
British singer/electronica artist Little Boots hails from Britain and her stage name comes from the Latin translation of “Caligula,” which gives you a small taste of what this synth playing singer’s music is all about! Though Relish looks like a 50s diner or an even larger version of an L train car, this restaurant offers up some gourmet treats for dinner. With influences from all over the globe, Relish features diner classics like burgers and onion rings, and step it up with the likes of Blackened Yellow Fin Tuna ($21). Williamsburg’s first beer garden, Radegast, has a beautiful all-wood interior, an enclosed outdoor backyard, and 12 German/Austrian beers on tap and more than 30 bottles. Another great bar in the area, Zebulon offers free live jazz and afrobeat. The drinks here are inexpensive, and I’ve never seen a bad show here before.
Saturday February 7
Cat Power (AKA Chan Marshall) has a lush voice that captivates audiences and though live she’s known to be erratic, has gotten much better at it. With her new EP Dark End of the Street, she sticks to covers by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fairport Convention, and The Pogues. While you’re up in Harlem, head over to Amy Ruth’s for some of the best fried chicken around. A MUST TRY is the fried or smothered Chicken & Waffles named The Rev. Al Sharpton ($9.50). It’s out of this world! A complex housing 24 bowling lanes, mini arcade, and a gourmet café, Harlem Lanes also has a sports bar with 24 plasma screen TVs. At Stop 125 you’d think the outdoor Tiki Bar would be the main attraction, but it’s the food that many come for. Offering dinner entree’s as well as small tapas style appetizers like the much-loved Chorizo With Caramelized Figs sautéed in its own juices (sm $6.95, lg $12.95), Stop 125 takes American cuisine and spices it up with the international flair that NYC, and especially Harlem are known for.
Saturday February 7
Featuring ex-members of Arab on Radar, Made in Mexico sound like art rock with a hint of espanol and a punk vibe, which makes them not just an interesting listen but probably as good live. Seasick on the other hand are punk and hardcore and remind me of early 80s bands like Suicidal Tendencies. Joining them are Abigail Warchild, Extra Life, and Scrambler Seequill. Paladar, whose celebrity chef, Aarón Sanchez is from the Food Network show “Melting Pot,” delivers a Pan-Latino concept taking traditional Spanish fare and adding deliciously executed gourmet twists. Feeling retro? Then Welcome to the Johnsons is the place for you. It’s like being in your uncles wreck room from the 70s. With all wood paneled walls, plastic covered couches, and a Pac Man machine, this bar is out for a good time. Stop by Economy Candy and get a small taste of what it might be like to walk through Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, minus the hijinks, as there’s all sorts of candy everywhere. A real NY landmark, it’s been around since 1937.
Saturday February 7
Remember rocking Kangols and Gazelle’s, breakin’ and beatboxing, and wearing suede puma’s with the fat laces? Well, those were the days during the Golden Age of Hip Hop and tonight, the music that drove all those fads, fashions and ways of live are back in the drivers seat as performances by legends like Doug E. Fresh, Chubb Rock, Brand Nubian, Positive K, and Lord Finesse take over Irving Plaza. If you’ve never been to Minca for dinner, go right now! This small noodle bar makes some amazing ramen noodles from scratch. Try the Minca Ramen, a mild broth with pork, chicken & dried seafood ($8.50). One of the newer bars in the East Village, Common Ground has a dark wood interior, a relaxed atmosphere, and excellent cocktails like the Blueberry Pie. If you like pastries filled with cream, check out Beard Papa Sweets Café. They offer cream fillings like earl grey, green tea, coffee, and the standard vanilla, chocolate, strawberry among others.
Sunday February 8
Host and founder Matt Timms is taking his Chili Takedown competition into its fifth year, where 30 entrants compete for a $100 prize. Your chili recipe can go as out there as you want too. Ever have candy chili? I didn’t think so. Before that, a great restaurant on the same block is SEA. Asian inspired from the décor to the food, this huge and gorgeous space serves up a mostly Thai menu from massaman curries to house specialties like Red SEA Duck (Half duck in red vinaigrette-tomato gravy sauce served with stir-fried mixed veggies), SEA is inexpensive and visually impressive for Brooklyn. With an increasing amount of new bars on the block, Zablozki’s is a standout that’s cozy, mostly mahogany, and has great drinks specials. A great stop off if you’re early is Academy Records. One of the biggest vinyl shops in NYC, if you are a vinyl fan, you will be blown away.