If the State Liquor Authority gives its stamp of approval, the city will welcome yet another floating bar option with Brooklyn Barge Bar, which is hoping to dock in Greenpoint this summer. Unfortunately, the local Community Board has put the kibosh on the plan, choosing to not give their recommendation for the bar's liquor license. Undeterred, general manager, co-owner and aptly-named Will Drawbridge tells us they'll await the final word from the SLA before giving up hope—but they've got a Plan B in place just in case.

The team will be presenting their case at an SLA board review meeting scheduled sometime in late May or early June. "One of the things that they will be looking for is are we in a cluster of other bars and the answer to that: no," explains Drawbridge. "The other thing they will look at is are you building some kind of community, which we are. So we're not really worried about it, but it's just another step that's holding us back from getting open when we want it to."

Their plans are ambitious, to say the least, and include not just a floating bar aboard a restored barge, but also community-oriented activities like kayaking, fishing and sailing lessons. The 2,700-square-foot barge will serve as both a bar/restaurant as well as a casting off point for fishing lessons, while another 7,000-square-feet of land space will be used as additional seating and as a launch site for kayaking lessons.

The barge is currently being optimized for their multi-faceted needs (courtesy Brooklyn Barge Bar)

"It was always our intention to do the water-based community activities," Drawbridge says. "It's always been the idea, having free kayaking, having sailing classes for kids, having fishing, having whatever we could do there for the space because waterfront space is at a premium in New York. Frankly, not a lot of people understand that there's a lot of stuff to do on the water."

While the model of offering free activities doesn't sound sustainable, Drawbridge says that was the whole point of also operating a bar and restaurant. "We don't have get government grants, we don't have to do this, we don't have to do that, we just pay for it," Drawbridge explains. "The bar and restaurant is what pays for [the free activities]. You can't go to a landlord and say, 'I just want to do a community center on your private property and maybe or maybe not I might be able to make rent.' We never would have gotten this land without a feasible business plan on one side of it to be able to offer all of these other things on the other side of it."

If the team doesn't win the SLA's approval to serve alcohol, the Brooklyn Barge Bar will still happen, just without the bar element. Drawbridge says they'll just operate a casual restaurant in the space instead, serving stuff like salads, burgers, grilled chicken and fries. People would order at the counter then find a seat and hang out. "We're not into turning tables, but we'd be more than happy to have a group of people come in at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and stay all the way through sunset." Of course, all of that would be even better with a cold beer in hand!