My own private Minneapolis: Indie rockers open Midwestern bar in Greenpoint

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Why go back to Minnesota when you can make a little piece of it in Brooklyn?

A bunch of indie rock guys got together to do just that, addressing what they see as a lack of laid-backness in Greenpoint by opening Lake Street, a Midwestern-themed bar that they swear is not Midwestern-themed.

“We wanted something friendly and non-pretentious, more like the bars we came from in the middle of the country,” said co-owner Rob Pope, a native of Kansas City, Kansas and bassist for the band Spoon. “It’s not about a theme, it’s about attitude and friendly people.”

All but one of the owners are musicians and Midwesterners. Eric Odness is from near Fargo, North Dakota and plays bass for English-Irish boy band The Wanted at live shows. Frank Bevan used to sing for a band called the Freedom Fighters, Bobby Drake plays drums in The Hold Steady, and both hail from the Twin Cities, where the bar gets its name.

The original Lake Street runs through Minneapolis and the transplanted barmen say that, over years of living in Brooklyn, they came to miss the casual vibe of places like Minnesota’s biggest city and smaller towns like Lawrence, Kansas.

Only Irishman Stevie Howlett is not in a band but the focus, the bar’s owners say, is not music but ambience.

The bar opened quietly in July, with Coors Light on tap and sports playing on the big screen, and started serving hot dogs and bratwursts this week to mark the beginning of football season.

The musicians may be freshly minted bar owners, but their indie rock pedigrees are never far from their bar stools, especially when old friends have control of the stereo.

“There is something really strange about walking into a bar and hearing your own records,” said Pope. “Of course, we f--- with each other and put each other’s records on all the time.”

Lake Street [706 Manhattan Ave. between Norman and Messerole avenues in Greenpoint, (718) 609–0005,]. Open Mon–Fri, 5 pm–2 am; Sat and Sun, 2 pm–4 am.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

bkdude64 says:
diehipster - go get em!!!
Sept. 10, 2013, 3:25 am
bkdude64 says:
hi mary
Sept. 10, 2013, 3:40 am
JAZ from Hunting Redbeards says:
Like Yahhh!!!

This bar will be packed every night, and there won't be a person with a New York birth certificate in the entire place. But thanks for coming here and pricing normal people out just so you can surround yourself with a bunch of midwesterners (which you coulda just stayed home to do for a fraction of the cost.) Makes a lot of sense.
Sept. 10, 2013, 8:29 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Welcome home, Lake Street. If memory does not fail me, there was a Kansas mafia and a Texas mafia in Williamsburg in the 90s. Kevin Pyle, Annie Herron, Morgan Garwood, and William Bazinsky all come to mind.

I used to think Texans and Mid-Westerners were attracted early to Williamsburg because they couldn't fit into the apartments in Manhattan. And nor were they able to discern that there is what we in the East call a "distance" between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Sept. 10, 2013, 9:44 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
I remember asking a Texan in Williamsburg where he was from. He said "About 95 miles outside Houston." Which would have taken me about halfway back to my hometown. It meant nothing.
Sept. 10, 2013, 10 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Kevin Pyle is the founding Kansan of bohemian Williamsburg. He had a big absurdist kind of dada brass band called "Shoehorse" or something. And he's a well-known illustrator. If I recall, he was the first artist in Williamsburg to get a real gig - illustrating the op-ed page in the NY Times.
Sept. 10, 2013, 10:05 am
Northside Ned from Greenpoint says:
I went there the other week. The crowd was pretty good. There wasn’t one Southside Snooki, Jealous Jerome, Teamster Tony or Wanilia Ice to be seen. Good thing too. I’m sure any day now they’ll start petitioning to government for guys like me to subsidize ‘affordable’ drinks.

It’s not really a theme bar. It’s pretty much a bar with your standard dive’s beer and crappy well drinks, with a little nicer décor. I guess it’s ‘cheap’. Probably best for kids in the earlier twenties w/o much $ looking to hook up.

Isn’t the place that said it was going to ‘curate’ sports games on the TV? I’m pretty sure it is. If so, this is the last place I’d go to watch football. “Curate games”, is unforgivable.
Sept. 10, 2013, 10:08 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Morgan Garwood (RIP) was the founding Texan of bohemian Berry Street. He had the whole top floor of his loft building. Billy Basinsky had the entire floor of a building on North 11th, where he founded Arcadia, the first serious nightclub where you could get a shot of redeye. The Texans had the biggest lofts, for sure. And they always complained about not having enough space.
Sept. 10, 2013, 10:11 am
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Well, Ned, if it's the Timberwolves they're curating, that would require some critical distance in Brooklyn, let's face it.
Sept. 10, 2013, 10:18 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
Danielle is totally just trolling the message board tough guys like diehipster with this one.
Sept. 10, 2013, 11:52 am
diehipster from Boxcutting Brodys says:
Imagine how f*cking ridiculous it would be if a bunch of real Brooklyn types - lets call them Vinny, Sal, and Franky - opened a bar in Minnesota called "18th Avenue" and.... well, yeah. End of story.
Sept. 10, 2013, Noon
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
Not ridiculous at all, Jerome. Brooklyn is a worldwide brand today. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find a Bay Ridge sports bar in, say, Düsseldorf. They love that stuff over there.
Sept. 10, 2013, 12:59 pm
Ethan Pettit from Park Slope says:
My brother-in-law came over from Italy to take photos of graffiti in Brooklyn. I would not leave him alone about it. I was speaking broken Italian with a cotton wad in my mouth, I swear. Absolutely busting his balls. "What are you crazy? This? Are you kidding? You got MUCH better graffiti in Rome! I like the ones that go "Hail Caesar!" You know, the really old tags that are scratched into the wall."
Sept. 10, 2013, 1:04 pm
ty from pps says:
I love the fact that Diehipster seems to have bored himself with his tired schtick.
Sept. 10, 2013, 6:36 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
if they have a decent jukebox and cheap beer and shot wtf - when is cow tipping night (for the real cows not the chicks lol)ever notice women over 50 in the Midwest look like butch lesbians - I got that form kathy griffin and she is right
Sept. 10, 2013, 7:44 pm
Bill DeBongio from MSPherst says:
I bet they serve pints of Ranch.
Sept. 11, 2013, 9:32 am
Tony Ballz from Tha Internet says:
This makes a lot of sense actually. Most of the dive bars run by "real" Brooklinites are so name (like the "realz" are. This will at least be a place for the educated to drink cheaply, and not be bothered by the local riff raff pining for the old days where they could sit on their dilapidated stoops in the brownstones they'd run down, because everyone knows the locals from the 90s couldn't be trusted with Brooklyn. Look what they did to it! These weird Midwesterners actually bring back some love to BK in a seriously good way. Don't like it? Move to Queens.
Sept. 11, 2013, 9:40 am
Jamo Classon from Bed-Stuy says:
Indie rock = soft ——

Have fun nerds, though maybe you can use those big Minnesota connections land a Prince after-show sometime?
Sept. 12, 2013, 12:12 am

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