Sure, Greenpoint's newest bar/lounge is an easy target; one glance at the velvet ropes, the movie tchotchkes on the walls, the furniture salvaged from some foreclosed New Jersey McMansion, and one is all too tempted to prophesy the beginning of the end for this charming little stretch of Franklin Street. But after talking with the enthusiastic, well-meaning owner Joe Ariola during the opening weekend, it's hard to be too critical. Also, one gets the feeling he's connected.

Ariola says The Production Lounge occupies a space previously occupied by the Eberhard Faber factory, where No. 2 pencils were made until the '50s. (Hence the "Pencil Factory" bar kitty corner across Franklin.) He envisions his place becoming a go-to spot for wrap parties, movie screenings and industry Q&As. And with Lipstick Jungle shooting so much in Greenpoint, who knows, it just might work. He's got an Avid editing system in the back and is set up to stream video from events on the website.

In the meantime, he's working on luring customers with talent shows and open mic comedy nights. The kitchen will start working this week, offering standard bar food, sandwiches and pizza. While it's hard to imagine the hipsters who crowd the neighboring Lost & Found feeling at home on these plush couches, maybe he'll end up attracting a different clientele that's typically seen frequenting the nearby nightspots. To be sure, much rests on the blessing of Miss Heather at New York Shitty, who previously brought Studio B to its knees.

UPDATE!Miss Heather is NOT impressed. She sends us her verdict: "Whoever started this place clearly did not do his research. The last time I walked by there they had velvet ropes and what appeared to be two bouncers. I found this rather amusing as there was nobody around to "bounce." I give this place six months. Max."