Bushwick bars have been getting bigger and fancier over the past couple of years, which is great for the $12 cocktail set, though not so much for those who can't afford aged rum and lamb sliders. But the neighborhood's newest bar, the laid-back Happy Fun Hideaway, is a welcome departure from some of the sleeker spots opening up, both in price (pro tip: it's cheap!) and atmosphere.
Happy Fun Hideaway is a little removed from burgeoning L Train Bushwick, located under the elevated JMZ train at Myrtle-Broadway. And it doesn't offer fancy artisanal cocktails or craft beer, either. Drinks are kept cold in a regular kitchen fridge; you can get a can of Budweiser ($3) or a Tecate ($4), and if you want to go really wild, they've got bottles of Sierra Nevada and Pacifico for $5. There are also strong "specialty" cocktails like Dark and Stormies ($6) and a juice-and-tequila concoction called Tequila Guava ($6), regular mixed drinks ($5, $6 for top-shelf liquor) and wine for $5-$6.
And best of all for this classy drinker, they sell glasses of Franzia for $3, so you can recapture the boxed wine memories without struggling to turn the tap off and spilling Chillable Red all over the frat floor. There's also some bar grub for sale, like pretzels with mustard, munchie mix and frito pie.
But you don't go to Happy Fun Hideaway for the drink selection (though if you don't love Franzia, you've been seriously conned by the Fine Wine Coalition, and we send our condolences). Rather, you go to hang out, drink in hand. The bar's decor hedges between Florida beach scene and your hippie parents' living room, with sunset scene murals and funky artwork decorating the walls. There's a picnic table up front for communal seating, and a few stools at the wooden bar where you can sit and chat with the bartender or watch a movie on the flat screen TV perched above the refrigerator.
And what's that just past the refurbished vintage video games? A little yard out back, bedecked in colorful patio furniture, a wooden bench and some hanging plants. Cocktails are even served in gently-used, mismatched jars and glasses, elevating the whole homey feel.
Happy Fun Hideaway is co-owned by Rachel Nelson, who's probably best known for her work with once-longtime Williamsburg art institution Secret Project Robot. They've since relocated to Bushwick, and now that they've found a home for themselves in the neighborhood, Nelson and her partners have given back by creating something of a home-away-from-home for everyone else. "That moment when you’re so relaxed because you have nothing to do, that's what we're trying to capture," Nelson told Bushwick Daily last week. "We’re creating this community space outside of what we’re taught bars should be."
Stop by for happy hour, which runs daily from 4 to 9 p.m. and warrants a buck off all drinks; the bar also runs Double Feature Sundays, boasting two movies, pizza and beer, and there's reggae music every Saturday night, if you're so inclined.
Happy Fun Hideaway is located at 1211 Myrtle Avenue near Willoughby Avenue in Bushwick. No phone and no website, so just show up and have a drink.