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, www.lakest