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.

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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?

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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