Rainy Day Brooklyn

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If the meteorologists are right, a deluge of near-Biblical proportions is in store for April. This should come as no surprise, though, it being April and all (whose showers, legend has it, bring about the next month’s flowers).

In honor of the borough’s restless and intrepid residents, we at GO Brooklyn have diligently compiled a list of indoor activities to help keep you occupied all month long, through the most dismal of drizzles and soul-crushing of storms. Bear in mind that foul-weather gear, a steely resolve and, in some cases, flotation devices may be required for transit to-and-from the following venues.

A Brownie Sundae at theChocolate Room

The restorative qualities of a brownie sundae cannot be overstated. On a rainy day, it might be all that stands between you and complete mental collapse. The Chocolate Room, which has been plying the masses with unrivaled sweets since it opened in January 2005, serves a brownie sundae that could very well be classified as a controlled substance. A fresh-baked brownie is liberally adorned with a scoop of ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream, all of it homemade.

“It’s probably the best brownie sundae I’ve ever had,” co-owner Naomi Josephus humbly said. The lady doesn’t lie.

Battleship at Old Pioneer Beer Hall & Garden

Known mostly for its pulled pork sandwiches and transcendently scrumptious chili-cheese fries, this Red Hook bastion also has a cornucopia of superb board games. Prominent among them is the standard-edition Battleship (the kind for which you must supply your own sound effects). The grueling mental gymnastics required for Battleship will keep your sunlight-deprived synapses firing throughout April.

The bar also has Scrabble nights on Tuesdays, 25-cent wing nights Monday through Wednesday and a Trivial Pursuit challenge on weekends. “If it’s really crappy out, we’ll throw a movie on the TV,” said owner Jim Leonard. Did we mention the excellent selection of whiskeys and ryes?

Dig Dug at Barcade?

Barcade is the best thing to happen to Williamsburg since the free pizza at Capone’s. It features a surplus of draft microbrews, complimentary snacks and an impressive array of classic arcade games like Centipede, Dig Dug, Moon Patrol, Frogger, Donkey Kong and Tron (sadly, at press time, Joust was out-of-order).

Its reputation as a hipster stronghold is largely unfounded, according to co-owner Jon Miller. “There’s really more of a corner bar feel here, with a lot of regulars. And despite what you might think because of the games, it’s a pretty even split between guys and girls.” Videogames, snacks and girls — what more could you possibly ask for?

The FA Cup at Alibi

With March Madness soon ending, there is a glut of sports coverage until the NBA finals (sorry, but to this reporter baseball doesn’t count until they get rid of those silly pants). In the interim, soccer (or “football,” as they call it) is as good as it gets.

Alibi, a cavernous, slightly derelict bar in Fort Greene, is by far the best place to drink yourself into a hooligan-like frenzy while watching the Football Association Cup — a sort of March Madness of international soccer, if you will. Alibi features a heady assortment of draft beers and a good-size TV tuned almost exclusively to Fox Sports World. In the FA Cup semifinals (April 14 and 15), much-loathed Manchester United meets provincial underdogs Watford, while league powerhouse Chelsea plays the unfortunately named Blackburn Rovers.

Ping-pong at Brownstone Billiards

Depending on your outlook, ping-pong is either the poor man’s squash or the ancient sport of kings. Either way, it requires a rare combination of brains and brawn. At Brownstone Billiards, you’ll find all of the necessary ping-pong tackle (tables, paddles, balls) with which to test your mettle.

For the ping-pong adverse, there are 34 pool tables, two bowling lanes, an unfathomable number of big-screen TVs and a full-service restaurant and bar. If you’re not careful, you can spend 24-hours at this place without realizing any time has passed. As co-owner Frank Violante put it, “When you come here, why would you leave?” Indeed.

Fun fact: In 2002, Mr. T filmed three of his career-reviving 1-800-COLLECT commercials here.

Shark feeding at the New York Aquarium

It’s sometimes easy to forget that we live on an island. Perhaps an afternoon of shark feeding will serve as a good reminder. Sharks at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island are not fed puppies (apparently we were misled), but are served up a kebab-like pole baited with plenty of fish, said Fran Hackett, mouthpiece for the Aquarium.

“It’s usually pretty crowded during shark feeding,” said Hackett, “because people are waiting for a frenzy.” Still, April is a great time to avoid the larger summer crowds, she explained. And there are plenty of other attractions, including sea otters, penguins, and perennial GO Brooklyn favorite Ayveq, the 1,200-pound walrus who will make you feel better about all that winter weight you gained.

We could go on, but we know you’re anxious to get started. So, venture forth, brave souls! Yes, nature is cruel, but it’s nothing a little pluck and Gortex can’t handle.

Alibi (242 DeKalb Ave. at Vanderbilt Avenue in Fort Greene) is open Monday through Thursday from 5 pm-4 am, Friday from 3 pm-4 am and Saturday and Sunday 1 pm-4 am. Sorry, no phone.

Barcade (388 Union Ave. at Powers Street in Williamsburg) is open Monday through Saturday from 5 pm-4 am and Sunday from 5 pm-2 am. For information, call (718) 302-6464 or visit www.barcadebrooklyn.....

Brownstone Billiards (308 Flatbush Ave. at Park Place in Park Slope) is open Sunday through Thursday from noon- 2 am, and Friday and Saturday from noon- 4 am. For information, call (718) 857-5555 or visit

The Chocolate Room (86 Fifth Ave. at Warren Street in Park Slope) is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday from noon-11 pm and on Friday and Saturday from noon-midnight. For information, call (718) 783-2900 or visit

The New York Aquarium (602 Surf Ave. at West Fifth Street in Coney Island) is open Monday through Friday from 10 am-5 pm and on weekends from 10 am-5:30 pm. For information call (718) 265-3474 or visit

Old Pioneer Beer Hall & Garden (318 Van Brunt St. at Pioneer Street in Red Hook) is open weekdays from noon-4 am and weekends from 2 pm-4 am. For information, call (718) 701-2189.

Updated 4:28 pm, July 9, 2018
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