The first thing to note about Goldie’s, the newcomer bar on Nassau Avenue, is its timing. Because when a neighborhood dive closes after almost nine decades in business—just as The Palace Café, across the street from it, said goodnight to Greenpoint—devastation follows. But Goldie’s had opened a week before, and alleviated collective depression. Mournful Palace overflow could spill into Goldie’s just in the knick of time.
The second thing to note about Goldie’s is that, in terms of a de-facto replacement, it does pretty well. It might not attract the longest-standing neighborhood stalwarts who would sit for hours at The Palace’s dark round bar; but Goldie’s’ nightly traffic already parallels that of an institution. Whether or not a lot of that belonged to The Palace, Goldie’s offers good times in its own right.
For starters: Gold glitter table tops and blood-red leather booths; painted likenesses of wild animals and late celebrities, like Paul Newman, in wood frames; a black and white tiled floor, retained from prior occupants; a pool table; and a large jug of cold self-service water. There’s no juke box filled with metal, like The Palace famously had, but Goldie’s’ soundtrack is full of solid post-punk and rock (The Clash, The Cars, New Order). And—a nice coincidence?—the centerpiece bar is also pleasantly round.
What is on offer behind it is almost beside the point, but in a good way: a simple list of beer and shot specials, a short list of perfectly tasty cocktails, and (because this is Brooklyn in 2016) an icy cocktail called The Frozen Motrin with coconut cream, orange juice, and rum. But the crown jewel of the menu takes solid form: Goldfish. Bottomless small bowls of them, upon request.
Goldie’s certainly wasn’t trying to replace The Palace, and, aesthetically, it’s hard to say what it is—something like a 60s rocker vibe crossed with a 70s coke den (the unrealistically lavish and clean kind you see in the movies). But, when asked, the bartender probably described it best: “All I know is that when I walk in here, I’m like, ‘Fuck yeah, this is awesome.’” Which seems about right.
Beyond all that, Goldie’s is a genuinely valuable reminder, in a Brooklyn that is rapidly losing long-standing favorites, that not only is change inevitable, it can be all right. On rare occasions, it can even be a little brighter than what came before it.