Last week, a single tweet from Brokelyn announced that Splitty, Clinton Hill’s fantastic pork-bun-serving drinking destination plus events space—designed to resemble a vintage airstream camper inside—would close after a swan song blowout last Saturday. And, a little farther south in Fort Greene, the neighborhood staple Chez Oskar announced it will be moving to Bed-Stuy.
Both are bummers for the adjoining hoods. Oddly enough, solid drinking spots in the immediate vicinity—ones that are not attached to nice but fairly expensive restaurants or, on the other end of the spectrum, reliable dives—are few and far between. Alibi on Dekalb is, perhaps, the bar that fits this criteria, and it is perfect. But Splitty added to that gap and then some, with its almost nightly live programming. Andy McDowell, who owned the bar (and who is also behind the excellent Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg), has not been available for comment. And for once, the rest of the Internet has been oddly silent on the topic. Employees at Pete’s did confirm, however, that Splitty was closed for good, and the bar’s Twitter handle has already been shutdown.
The 17-year-old Chez Oskar will also leave a sad footprint on the corner of DeKalb and Adelphi, just up the block from Fort Green Park and, incidentally, Madiba, which is running its own Indiegogo fight to stay open. Similarly to Splitty, Chez Oskar owner Charlotta Janssen has not revealed the official reason behind the restaurant’s impending move to 310 Malcolm X Boulevard this January. Comments on the community blog are blaming rising rent and not enough local patron support. All the old regulars, they say, have already been forced out due to high rents.
Don’t get me wrong, neither neighborhood is hurting for places to eat and drink. But both offered top-notch forms of what they did—drinks, food, and entertainment—for not that much money. For those of us who live in the neighborhood, it feels like only a matter of time before we must choose whether to socialize there or rent there—but not both at the same time.