The Third Annual Atlantic Frantic begins at 7:30 pm at Hank’s, a familiar country dive. Jed Koslow, the pubcrawl’s organizer, sits alone at the bar. He’s ordered me a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a comfort beer that recalls college days. It’s a shame Hank’s has to come so early on the route — as the hours pass, Hank’s tends to gets rowdier, and better. The first to arrive for the crawl is a couple on a date. “You can get a drink at the next stop,” Koslow decrees. And on we go.
This wine bar is the choice of Maureen “Momo” Farrell, who joined the Planning Committee by simply asking, “What do I have to do to get on the Planning Committee?” Koslow answered, “You’re on it.”
We are going to need more wine as crawlers arrive — all we’ve had so far is a bottle of Montepulciano, but there’s no time. We inquire about to-go options for the food, (homemade pickles, pigs-in-blankets and garlic shrimp) which is taking forever. An enterprising crawler sneaks next door to the cake shop and gets boxes — instantly our snacks become take-out.
We’re back in the comfort zone with beers flowing freely from many taps. One subgroup gets to work on nametags for steadily arriving crawlers — “My name is [blank]. [Blank] makes me frantic.” No good can come of this. I only have time to down a pint of Blue Point IPA.
Beers on tap, an old-timey family feel and a popcorn machine are all sure-fire hits. We have bonded as a group since crossing the Avenue and chanting (“We are the back of the crawl!” “We are the front of the crawl!”) to the amusement of passers-by. Koslow breaks out a whistle to spur the herd. It seems a cattle prod could be next.
An inflatable Corona airplane and Tecate Star of David hang from the ceiling of this Mexican restaurant with cheap pitchers of margaritas (pucker-inducing, but drinkable with a splash of seltzer). We take over the whole place and clink our glasses. Conversation is lively and spills over liberally to strangers at adjoining tables. Koslow makes a speech. I don’t remember much of it.
We are a force to be reckoned with. There’s a wait for the dartboard, so instead we aggressively mingle. A girl I’ve never met before asked if there had ever been an Atlantic Frantic marriage. “Not that I know of,” I replied, “but there sure have been regrets.”
Nothing in a can here, so I go for the Miller High Life bottle. I like the bar’s lounge-y vibe, and sometimes there’s decent music. But I have heard this same DJ drop the vocal from “Passin’ Me By” over the instrumental from “Love is a Battlefield” at least twice before. I keep rooting for him to at least get it right once. No such luck.
The wait for the bocce court is endless as usual, so I get another PBR and kick back on an antique couch. Koslow gets in trouble with the bar management for blowing his whistle and yelling “Two minutes!” They’re right to be worried — we have stolen patrons from every stop along the way. Koslow passes the whistle off to Momo, tells her to wait ’til he gets outside, then blow it as loud as she can.
This is where it gets hazy. Someone’s making out in the photo booth and a bartender’s talking up a “Mets Brunch.” Sounds great, but I’m already thinking of the headache I’ll have from the “Mets Brew” they have on tap. Can’t fathom wanting to return.
“It’s great being the last stop on the pub crawl,” cracked the icy, platinum-haired bartender. “Everyone’s wasted, and all they order is water.” Sometimes they pass out on the bathroom floor, too, she tells me. Illicit-smelling smoke fills the air back by the pool table.
We have probably done some things we’re not proud of, but who can say what they are? Faces flash by in recent memory, but no one can be certain of who was really there. All we know for sure is we set out with a goal in mind, and we made it. We didn’t let anything or anyone slow us down, and we came out of it alive (if not so well). And we’ll live to do it all over again next year.
1. Hank’s Saloon (46 Third Ave. at Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill) is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am-4 am and Sunday from noon-4 am. For more information, call (718) 625–8003.
2. Donna da Vine (378 Atlantic Ave., between Hoyt and Bond streets in Boerum Hill) is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 pm–11 pm, Friday from 5:30 pm-midnight, Saturday from 2 pm–1 am and Sunday from 2 pm–10 pm. For information call (718) 643-2250 or visit www.donnadavine.com
3. The Brazen Head (228 Atlantic Ave., between Court Street and Boerum Place in Cobble Hill) is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon–4 am and Sunday and Monday from noon–2 am. For information, call (718) 488-0430 or visit www.brazenheadbrooklyn.com
4. Waterfront Ale House (155 Atlantic Ave., between Clinton and Henry streets in Cobble Hill) is open daily from 11:30 am–3 am. For information, call (718) 522-3794 or visit www.waterfrontalehouse.com.
5. Mezcal’s (151 Atlantic Ave., between Clinton and Henry streets in Cobble Hill) is open Monday through Thursday from 11 am–11 pm, and Friday through Sunday noon–midnight. For information, call (718) 643-6000.
6. Buck’s Lounge (145 Atlantic Ave., between Clinton and Henry streets in Cobble Hill) is open daily at 5 pm. For information, call (718) 624-7658.
7. Last Exit (136 Atlantic Ave., between Clinton and Henry streets in Cobble Hill) is open noon–4 am daily. For information, call (718) 222-9198.
8. Floyd (131 Atlantic Ave., between Clinton and Henry streets in Cobble Hill) is open Monday through Thursday from 5 pm–4 am, Friday from 4 pm–4 am and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am–4 am. For information, call (718) 858-5810 or visit www.floydny.com.
9. Magnetic Field (97 Atlantic Ave., between Henry and Hicks streets in Brooklyn Heights) is open Monday through Wednesday from 5 pm-4 am and Thursday through Sunday from 3 pm–4 am. For information, call (718) 854-0069 or visit www.magneticbrooklyn.com.
10. Montero Bar & Grill (73 Atlantic Ave., between Hicks and Columbia streets in Brooklyn Heights) is open daily from noon–4 am. For information, call (718) 624-9799.