Over the last 20 years, Manhattan-based author-musician Mike Edison has come to appreciate Brooklyn’s amusements — no small feat considering it’s the borough where he was slashed in the face during an after-party White Castle run.
“I have no choice but to go to Brooklyn. I’m the last guy I know who lives in Manhattan,” he told us, marveling that the “great punk rock gigs” he used to travel to by car for safety’s sake were in neighborhoods that are now highly coveted addresses. “When [my old band] the Raunch Hands were recording our album at Coyote on North Sixth Street, the only thing there was a beer distributor and a Polish restaurant. It was a real end of the world kind of vibe. Now I’m [in Brooklyn] all the time, especially in Williamsburg, because I like the restaurants and my friends live there.”
And this is no small endorsement, as Edison is such a foodie, he toured Spain with a band for three years — not for the women or drugs, he said — but the cuisine!
So we turned to Edison, author of the newly published memoir, “I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World” (Faber and Faber, $25) for a list of the places he deems to be the most “fun” in Brooklyn.
601 Vanderbilt Ave. at Bergen Street in Prospect Heights, (718) 230-5170.
Edison’s a fan of this Prospect Heights bar for it’s “totally neighborhood vibe, but with a burlesque show and excellent bar food. It’s best on Tuesday nights, when the great Michael Chandler is spinning sleazy R&B and '60s soul. Mini-cheeseburgers, greasy music, liquor and half-naked women are hard to beat!”
1000 Surf Ave. at West 10th Street in Coney Island, (718) 372-0275, www.astroland.com.
Edison is a fan of the entire Coney Island experience — the boardwalk attractions, including Ruby’s Bar, the clams and The Cyclone.
“I love Coney Island. There hasn’t been a year in my adult life when I haven’t been there and ridden the Cyclone,” said Edison. “Being on the Cyclone in the rain on acid is as close to seeing God as I’ve ever come. I had to go ride the Wonder Wheel to calm down.
“I think [the Cyclone] is totally safe, but it does rattle your teeth. You know, the first curve has more negative G’s than they allow in roller coasters these days. You get that feeling that you’re coming out of your seat? They frown on that nowadays. The idea is to keep you in your seat.”
But he does miss the batting cages.
660 Fulton St. at South Elliot Street in Fort Greene, (718) 625-9339, www.franks
“Sometimes they have jazz on Sundays nights,” said Edison, who’s always on the lookout for a club or bar quiet enough for conversation with a date. “It’s one of those places from another era.”
73 Atlantic Ave. at Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 624-9799.
“It’s so much older than old school,” said Edison about this salty Brooklyn Heights watering hole that stays open until 2 am every day. “It exists for one purpose only and that’s to get s—faced. It’s a real barnacle on the bar scene.”
113 N. Third St. at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 963-3973. “It’s got a good vibe, and their kielbasa is the best,” said Edison of this enormous traditional Bavarian beer hall that opened in December. “It was real good. And it’s probably the best sauerkraut I ever had.” Surprisingly, he did not mention the dirndl-wearing waitresses (pictured).