Does Everything Really Also Need to Be a Bar?

Brooklyn is full of ordinary-sounding businesses that are also bars: a flower shop where you can also do a shot; a bookstore where you can also drink a beer; a movie theater with a bar downstairs, a bar upstairs, and drink-service at your seat. Generally I support this hybridization, because I like to drink alcohol, especially during movies and especially while buying flowers; I also enjoy intriguing curiosities. But even I can imagine a point at which maybe, you know, not everything has to be a bar, at which it would cease to be unique and just become tiresomely commonplace—at which you might want to go into a thrift store and get some old clothes without also getting your drink on.

The owners of Cool Pony in Crown Heights hope that point is far off. The Franklin Avenue thrift store recently applied for a liquor license to the bemusement and frustration of residents and local community board officials, DNAinfo reports. “Why does a thrift shop need a liquor license?” one neighbor asked at the meeting, adding that “most of the people I have in my building are working class people with school-age children.”

The story fits easily into the familiar narrative of two Brooklyns in opposition: one, an infringed-upon workaday stronghold; the other, a haven for invading hipsters. Foes of the plan seem animated by a deeper general resentment of the rapid evolution of Crown Heights into a home for substance-abusing youths who keep strange hours. In that regard, it seems unfair to single out Cool Pony, like neighborhood opponents scapegoated it, directing their anger at the cacophony of alcohol-soaked revelry toward just one establishment. “This is an area that’s rapidly changing, and no one business can be held responsible,” one Cool Pony owner said.

At the same time, I dunno, why does a thrift shop need a liquor license?

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