For someone who’s logged as many hours as I did at Freddy’s (RIP), I really can’t remember much about it. No sign outside—or maybe just the one, for PBR, flickering, upside down. (Or was it?) Wooden booths, a backroom—or a downstairs? Both? Saloon style-shutters leading to the graffiti-covered toilets, which otherwise didn’t really close. Three-dollar PBR on ice in a cooler under the bar, never cold enough, but for $3 (or was it $2, back then?), who’s complaining? Freddy’s either didn’t serve wine or served it in such a way that asking felt weird and not okay. When patrons ordered pizza delivered they left any extra crusts or slices in the box on the bar; you could help yourself by making meaningful eye-contact with the assumed-owner, though it was marginally more polite to wait until offered. A jukebox—there was definitely a jukebox—I definitely made out with a few dudes I don’t remember clearly in the corner near that jukebox. One of the guys had a dog, also present. Freddy’s had several dog-regulars.
Although I witnessed people celebrating birthdays, new jobs, promotions, and other life milestones (including St. Patrick’s Day and April Fool’s) at Freddy’s, and despite the full slate of bands/readings/performances/etc on the calendar, it remains difficult to remember or imagine anything actually good happening there—perhaps the infinity loop of unsettling video art playing on an old TV above the bar gave all happenings an air of eerie weirdness, or perhaps it’s just the natural outcome of so many cheap, cheap drinks. Now, a flotilla of bike racks stands at the original location of Freddy’s, near the Barclays Center; five years later, just the physical juxtaposition let alone the mental association of exercise or any kind of healthy behavior with that corner of 6th and Dean still feels wrong. At Freddy’s after the magic hour of… 2 am? 1 am? you could smoke inside. At last call, the bartender pulled down the shutters and you could stay until everyone else felt like leaving, not that I remember much about that either.
I do remember learning that Freddy’s had wifi—this would have been circa 2008 or so—and reeling at the news. Did people have business meetings at Freddy’s? Work on their screenplays? Who would even bring a computer there? No, Freddy’s was for meeting strangers and making out with them lackadaisically under the flickering PBR sign outside that was maybe upside down, for laughing at them when they took their dick out of their pants five minutes later, right there outside on the corner of 6th and Dean across from the fire station, laughing harder when they shrugged, “It was worth a shot.” Laughing some more when, back indoors, they started hitting on your roommate instead. Freddy’s was where Summer Fridays turned into summer Saturday mornings, stumbling home in business casual while garbage trucks began their routes. Freddy’s was for getting day drunk, fast, when thunderstorms chased you out of Prospect Park right before the free Blonde Redhead show, for keeping an eye on the clouds through the tops of those shuttered windows so you could run back to the park when the sun broke through and dance, screaming, drunk off your face, when the band came finally came on, drinking the PBRs you stashed in your backpack and lifting your face to the rain when it inevitably started again.