The shuttering of Red Hook's own Rocky Sullivan's was among last year's many bummers. However, unlike bringing back a dead celebrity or undoing an election, bars can reopen, and that's exactly what happened with Rocky's, as the owners found a new spot just down the block from the previous location. So, 2017 has one good thing going for it at least.
Befitting a bar that only moved a block away, Rocky's hasn't made major changes to their offerings in their new location on the corner of Dwight Street and Beard Street in the space that housed Lillie's. You can still get a $6 draft of Guiness, Coors Light or a couple of rotating Barrier Brewing offerings. $5 can get you a variety of domestic bottles, along with a healthy pour of well liquor if that's the way you want to play it.
The large tables (perfect for groups) from the location up the block made the short journey, as did the neon Mets sign behind the bar, the framed 9/11 first responders poster, Rangers memorabilia including a Mats Zuccarello garden gnome. There's one or two fewer TVs than the last spot, but all three in the new spot are easy to stare at from the bar itself, and of course you'll want to since they're usually showing a game.
The new space is somewhat smaller, which means that any future musical performances won't be in a totally separate room like in the old location, and instead will be on a stage in front of a couple of spacious booths towards the back of the bar. On the other hand, while Rocky's had to close their awesome roof deck in the old bar, the new location has a spacious yard deck in the back that will be perfect for summer drinking. Oh, and the new location also puts Rocky's even closer to Sunny's than it used to be. Okay fine it's an almost infinitesimal difference in distance, but I'm here to celebrate two of my favorite bars moving nearer to each other.
Some aspects of the bar are still getting up to speed. Rocky's is cash only at the moment (though they still have a wi-fi connection with the world's most difficult password), and the kitchen, which served excellent thin crust pizza, isn't open yet due to continuing negotiations over the bar getting permission to hook up its cooking gas.
The atmosphere remains though. In addition to a friendly crop of bartenders, the bar's patrons are the same Red Hook locals and neighborhood fans that Rocky's attracted up the block. On visits to the new spot, I've met parents with adorable children performing on the stage on a quiet afternoon, the publisher of the Red Hook Star Revue and folks going over mutual friends with a bartender. I also met a vacationing middle aged real estate broker who propositioned me deep into her day drinking, and then helpfully suggested "Oh maybe you two should f*ck" while a sailor at the bar was explaining what it was like for her to spend 6 months at a time living on a boat mapping the ocean floor. So, Rocky's is back for sure. Why not pay them a visit?
Rocky Sullivan's, 46 Beard Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn