Die Stammkneipe/Der Schwarze Kölner: You Try Pronouncing It, Especially After a Few Beers

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

When ordering a pint just isn’t enough, spring for the liter to get the true “beer hall black out” experience

  • Subway stop: Fulton Street
  • Walk from subway: 3 minutes
  • Neighborhood: Fort Greene
  • Location: 710 Fulton St., on the corner of Hanson Pl.

Every once in awhile, you want to take a break from your average sports bar, cocktail bar, American bar, fusion bar (I just made that up…or did I?), dive bar, etc., and get a taste for that authentic German beer hall flavor. Well, then look no further than Fort Greene, more specifically Fulton St., where there are a couple of beer halls vying for the attention of local alcoholics. In today’s post, I’ll be covering just one, Die Stammkneipe/Der Schwarze Kölner, or as I will be calling it from here on out, DSK, because honestly, you try typing that name out more than once. It’s EXHAUSTING. When you first step into DSK, you’re immediately struck by it’s lack of pretension and a vibe that says, “This may have once been an Italian restaurant where mobsters would meet over plates of spaghetti and discuss their finances.” I say that last part because the black and white checkered floors seem somewhat out of place, but in an endearing, “There’s nothing wrong with these floors so why would we tear them up, now sit down and drink” kind of way. It’s not that uncommon to walk into an establishment in Brooklyn and feel like the ambiance is trying very hard to be hip and a little too on the nose. I could really go on and on about how the floors alone at DSK set the tone for this being a low key, welcoming environment that still understands what makes for good beer, but I will spare you an entire entry where I compare beer and sausages to floor tiles.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Am I the only one who looks at these floors and doesn’t immediately think “German beer hall?”

One of the main stays of any beer hall is having a large, comprehensive list of German beers flowing straight from the tap, into a liter glass, into your beer belly, and this place is no exception. In addition to your run of the mill wheat beers, pilsners, IPAs and lagers, they also have beer cocktails and you can get growlers if you’re just not feeling like hanging out. Or if you’re feeling like taking the party home with you. I don’t judge. If you’re trying to watch your figure, or if you’re not a glutton like me, you don’t have to get a liter of beer, either. You can be an upstanding member of society and order a third of a liter or a half liter. And for those of you who like to watch the world burn, you can order your beer in one of those enormous glass boots.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Hi strangers! I took a picture of you! Enjoy your beers! Bye!

If you’re smart, you know that the best way to enjoy your beer, is to enjoy it with a hefty side of meat. In fact, you should have it with so much meat, that you no longer know who’s eating who, as your vision becomes blurred and you slowly enter into a meat coma. There are plenty of options for all meat eaters, and if you’re a non-meat eater, I BEG you to reconsider. Have you smelled someone barbecuing before? Imagine tasting it. It’s really that good. I’m completely unoriginal in that my go to meat of choice is bacon, but that’s simply because it’s so much more accessible in these modern times of ordering a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich at any bodega on any corner at any time. If all meat was as readily available as bacon, let me just tell you, lamb is my jam. And duck, oooh-weee! Don’t even get me started! Obviously a German beer hall is going to be the opposite of most places out there in that those lesser available meats are right there at your finger tips. Most recently at DSK I had the duck fennel sausage, made with garlic, port wine, and pomegranate. I also ordered the KaseKrainer, which is apparently a classic German sausage with pork, beef, and cheddar cheese. What did I even just write, I don’t know! I’m in a meat daze!

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

KaseKrainer meat dish, up close and personal. So sorry to all vegan and vegetarian readers. Oh, I have none? Still sorry to all readers.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

If you hate sausage, focus on the potato fritters, apple sauce, and sour cream, and not on the duck fennel sausage hiding behind some mustard

As stated above, this place is very approachable and welcoming, and that may have to do with more than just the floors (what can I say, I loved these floors!). A good playlist and a bartender who appreciates that I tend to dance with just my shoulders can go a long way in me really liking a place. And the later into the night it gets, the higher chance you are to meet someone who not only comes there often and has a good rapport with the bartender, but also teaches archery and invites you to come by their range and take knife throwing classes. It’s, like, how did you know? And if a late night crew of archery and knife throwing instructors isn’t your bag (I don’t relate), the place also caters to children earlier in the day, having bi-weekly playgroups on Tuesday and Thursday late afternoons, as well as a sing-along every Wednesday from January-April at 4pm. Because when I think fun for the whole family, I think that beer hall where I met that guy who throws knives for a living.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Some festive deer with hearts watching over all of the patrons

So, if you’re looking for one of those New York-type experiences that seems to be a bit of a mixed bag of things that just comes together in a way that somehow makes perfect sense (and is also a beer hall), look no further than DSK. It’s the best way to work through your DT’s. And always remember-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off The G

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

P.S. I saw this in the bathroom at DSK. Please advise.

Straphanger’s Delight #1: Momofuku Milk Bar

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Some of Momofuku Milk Bar’s offerings that can be found at both locations. I forgot to take a picture of the crack pie before I ate it. I don’t regret this decision.

  • Subway stops: Carroll St and Metropolitan Ave
  • Walk from subway: 1.5 seconds from Carroll St; 4 minutes from Metropolitan Ave
  • Neighborhoods: Carroll Gardens and Williamsburg
  • Location: Smith St. and 2nd Pl.; Metropolitan Ave between Marcy Ave and Havemeyer St.

First off, let me welcome you to the first ever edition of Straphanger’s Delight. If you’re wondering what that means, I suggest you a.) check out my previous post here where I explain a lot about how this blog will look moving forward, and b.) understand that most of my ideas come to me in a flash of inspiration akin to a fever dream a toddler with the flu might have, which is to say my ideas make NO sense to anyone, not even myself. There isn’t really such a thing as a “straphanger’s delight.” Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the real meat and potatoes of this post, or should I say milk and cookies? Or milk and pie? Or milk and bread? Or milk and booze?

As the name might suggest, Momofuku Milk Bar specializes in all things milk. One might think, “Well shit, I’m not going there, I’ve seen A Clockwork Orange.” Wrong. That was a movie and this is reality. There are two Momofuku Milk Bar’s along the G line, and while they are largely the same, each of them offer up their own unique vibe, something you would be able to surmise based on their locations alone. Carroll Gardens is home to young families, younger kids, and I’ve also seen my fair share of Jemima Kirke, despite the fact that from an outsider perspective I would expect to see her more in Williamsburg. For those of you not familiar with Williamsburg, it’s not a stereotype, there really are that many hipsters there. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the fame of Jemima Kirke, she’s one of the stars of the show “Girls.” So you do the math. I know I didn’t. But I digress.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Outside the Carroll Gardens Momofuku Milk Bar, where they get right to the point. They sell milk products here.

As one can imagine, there are some big differences between the Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens shops, the most glaring one being that one serves boozy shakes. And if you guessed the alcohol-serving shop to be the one that is located in the more family-centric neighborhood, you’d be really dumb and I wouldn’t ask you to help me with any kind of logic problems I might encounter in the future. Yes, that’s right, the Carroll Garden’s shop does not serve boozy shakes, which I had the misfortune to discover one day when I went there with the sole purpose of buying a White Russian shake. When I walked in and saw that there were no “Fancy Shakes” as they’re called in the Williamsburg shop, I thought I was having yet another visual migraine that was blocking that part of the menu. “Excuse me, where are your alcoholic shakes?” I asked the barista. I said alcoholic shakes because I was in a fancier part of town and thus wanted to put on airs. Also, they’re technically called Fancy Shakes, so you GOTTA PLAY THE PART. “We can’t serve alcohol here because we share a wall with a school,” she replied. Good answer. Can’t really fight you on that one. While this might seem like a bit of a downer, there are some definite plus sides to the Carroll Gardens location. For one, it is literally right about the subway stop. So if it’s cold, pouring, heat waving, or acid raining out, you can quickly duck in there for cover to wait out the elements. It’s also much more spacious, and has great seating that looks right out onto Smith St., which has offered me some very interesting people watching in the past. A recent visit provided me with front row seats to some religious procession complete with kids wearing black veils, what looked like a large Virgin Mary statue being paraded down the street, flowers a plenty, and a small girl falling out of her stroller. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but I’m including a picture below in the hopes that someone can please identify what I’m looking at.

IMG_3265

Um, yeah, hi, what is this?

But of course, there are those occasions when a boozy shake, excuse me FANCY SHAKE, trumps a peak into a culture you just don’t understand. This is where the Williamsburg location really shines. Served with their signature cereal milk, get ready to hunker down in their tinier shop until you’re done because a.) they’re not allowed outside and b.) that is kind of, like, a law. No open containers. But don’t worry, you can always wait until no one is looking and quickly pour it into a to-go cup and then run out the door and hope everyone thinks you’re just buzzing from a sugar high as you walk down the street. I’m just kidding, IT’S AGAINST THE LAW. I don’t condone this behavior. What I do condone is cereal milk, which is exactly what you think it is, milk left behind in a bowl after a really good bowl of sugary cereal. Remember that weird, light brownish-purple, semi-unappetizing looking milk that was left behind in a bowl Lucky Charms? Yeah, they use that kind of milk. Except, to be clear, they use something more along the lines of sugary milk. They don’t have hoards of five year-olds eating Frosted Flakes out of a trough in the back room, and then they drain what’s left in the trough into a jar that they use for baking and milk-related purposes. That’s just what I do, which might explain why I don’t own a business. They know what they’re doing with their milk. And it’s fucking delicious. And they don’t just use it in their Fancy Shakes, they also use it in a lot of their baked goods, and their ice cream. And you can buy it just on it’s own. Don’t act like you’re above it. You’re not.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

One of each, NO I DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

That’s not just any old ice cream with crunch, that’s cereal milk ice cream with crunch. Crunch being crunchy brown stuff coating the ice cream. Ya know, I don’t know what crunch is, but it isn’t poison so it can’t be that bad

In addition to awesome ice cream and boozy shakes, they have the aptly named Crack Pie. I currently have a slice of Crack Pie sitting in my fridge and maybe it has been there for many weeks, but I am an adult and I answer to no one! Maybe I find some comfort in knowing that it’s there, just in case. And I like knowing that a slice of Crack Pie that assuredly went bad 10 days ago is only a two second walk away from me because it’s so delicious that I would still probably eat it and suffer through the pains of eating spoiled food, it’s just that good. And they know it, hence the crack part of the name. Ya see, crack is a drug that really took hold of a lot of communities in the 80’s and it has a lot of extremely addictive properties. Now, the politics behind crack cocaine is a bit a hot button issue and I don’t believe this is the forum to go into that, but feel free to google it at your leisure. Hours of conspiracy theorizing await you. Back to the pie, it’s good. That’s it. I think I made that pretty clear. And if you need to explain to a young baby or an innocent peer what the crack part of the pie’s name means, just say, “I’m sorry, I’m very busy.”

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Remember when walking down the sidewalk to always look down. There might be something pointing you in the direction of pie.

If all of this wasn’t enough to convince you that one, if not both, of the Momofuku Milk Bar’s is worth a quick pop in, it should be noted that the last time I went to the Williamsburg location, there were paintings on the walls done by dachshunds. Yes, as in the dogs. And as proof, there were pictures of the dachshunds painting the masterpieces. In a perfect world, all walls in all places would come standard with these paintings. But this isn’t a perfect world. For more on that, please continue your research on crack. Once you’re done with that, please enjoy this dog painting:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

We’re all going to be okay.

And on that note-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off the G

Planned Service Change

It’s happened before and it’s happening again, but this time let’s hope it’ll stick: the Off the G blog is starting up again in the new year! This time around things are going to be a little different. For starters, I’m going to actually try to write the damn thing. The best blogs and pieces of writing usually involve the author, ya know, writing. Along with the usual posts that you’ve come to know and love and then forget about with the passing of time, you might see the occasional “feature.” You might be wondering what exactly do you mean by “feature?” Feature film? Featured contributor? No. A feature story. Am I using that term correctly? Who cares! These features will show up periodically as “Take Out Tuesdays,” highlighting take out that might be from restaurants not along the G line, but can be ordered in areas serviced by the G line (sense?) and “Off the Rails,” focusing on the sights, sounds and smells one might encounter NOT along the G line. You’ll also see the occasional “Trivia Thursday,” which seems pretty self explanatory. If you can’t figure it out from the title alone, then I would assume trivia is not really your thing and thus, the posts won’t really do anything for you anyway.

TSC_Blog_MTA_Service-Change_Redesign_02A

I didn’t take this picture, I found it online. I’m sorry. But this is what a service change poster looks like and that was the image I wanted and I’m only human and don’t have a picture of that anywhere, so get off my jock

The first ever feature will be posted this very Friday, January 15th. I’m calling it “Straphanger’s Delight” because when I came up with the name 45 minutes ago I laughed very hard at my comic genius. “Straphanger’s Delight” will highlight two businesses (or whatever I decide to write about) that have a similar feel (or whatever I decide to write about). Basically, I’ll be writing about two things along the G line that feel somehow related. “Straphanger’s Delight” will be posted on the 15th of every month. It’ll all make sense in time, trust me.

This, of course, all hinges on me being a bit more proactive and WRITING. THE. FUCKING. BLOG. So keep reading the blog, sharing it with your friends, enemies, and young uncles and I’ll try to keep writing it. And as always-

Keep r-i-d-i-n

-Off the G