The Weekend Shortlist April 9 to 11
Friday April 9
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Event: The U.S. Air Guitar Championships: Brooklyn Regional
Show time: 8 PM
Venue: Brooklyn Bowl
Drink: Radegast Hall & Biergarten
21 people are currently registered to compete at The U.S. Air Guitar Championships: Brooklyn Regional at Brooklyn Bowl…typically it’s 15. Notable air guitarists include Shredy Mercury (The 2008 NY Champ), Ricky Stinkfingers, and Air To The Throne. Also, Bjorn Turoque will be hosting (The Star of the movie Air Guitar Nation), and Jason Jones from The Daily Show will be judging. 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 Hall & Biergarten, 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.
Friday April 9
This should be a great show as experimental pop act Cymbals Eat Guitars who sound like early 90s indie rock share the bill with Bear in Heaven who make minimalist pop that soars. Should be a great show with two great upcoming bands that rock. What also rocks is finding a decent pizza! Fornino offers just that, wrapped up in an original concept. Serving wood oven burning pizza, the menu is broken up into three generations, the first being your basic pizza ingredients while the second and third go off the gourmet deep end, giving you more than 20 options total. For drinks, the D.O.C. Wine Bar has a homey atmosphere and an excellent wine list of strictly Italian wines and small plates of food. If coffee is your thing, The Verb Café offers not only coffee but sandwiches, desserts, and soup. Chill at a table and write that novel, look for jobs online, or hang with a friend like everyone else there.
Saturday April 10
Celebrate all things Japan at j-CATION: Taste Japan, an all day event with highlights featuring the film Flavor of Happiness (Shiawase no Kaori), the Japanese game show-style competition “Clash of the Foodies!” and a “Table Talk” with international food-eating champion Takeru Kobayashi of Nathan’s Coney Island hot dog contest fame. There will also be food workshops, Japan Society’s exhibition Graphic Hereos, Magic Mosters, and a performance by Asobi Seksu. At one of my favorite places to get duck, The Peking Duck House, the meat is succulent and the skin crunches like a potato chip. Sometimes you just want to grab a pint without paying a cover charge or playing host to a group of people after work, which is why I like Blackstones Pub & Restaurant. It looks like an old-time saloon and has two pool tables in the back and plenty of other games, while also being big enough to grab traditional American food from the menu. If you’re still hungry, check out the New York Milkshake Company for one of the best $6 shakes of your life.
Saturday April 10
Brooklyn’s Mahogany have been making shoegaze music for several years now and they just keep refining their sound and getting better with every record. My suggestion, see them live. They’re even better than their stellar albums. Joining them are Arc in Round and Long Distance Poison. Keeping the night going, try El Viejo Yayo for dinner. This gorgeous and warm restaurant has an elegant dining room and an affordable menu offering Dominican/Latin cuisine. The outside of Buttermilk Bar may look non-descript, but looks are deceiving . . . just not in this case, as this low-key watering hole is where you can grab a cheap drink in a friendly atmosphere, while playing a board game or two. With a near insane menu of chocolates from coffee and tea to delectable dessert, and even beer, The Chocolate Room is a great way to end the night on a high note.
Sunday April 11
The annual Derbytaunt Ball sees the toughest girls in the all-girl Gotham Girls Roller Derby league dress up and party down. Get a chance to meet all of the league’s most dangerous and it’s newest stars as this is where the rookies and incoming transfers get assigned to their new teams. 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.