Abe’s Pagoda is not celebrating Valentine’s Day. The local bar says they are deliberately not hosting a “lover’s night,” playing any romantic music or promoting a holiday they are very much not taking seriously. In fact, the bar is doing the exact opposite– it’s hosting an anti-Valentine’s Day event.
Every year on February 14th, the bar’s logic goes, there is a significant amount of pressure to find a date or be stay by yourself and contemplate being single. Call it counter-programming: the Wyckoff Avenue bar is encouraging like-minded discontents to take shelter at the Tiki-inspired bar and its self-described “adventurous cuisine.” (This takes the form of bar-food inspired American Chinese fare, like sticky gochujang wings and pulled pernil-filled steamed buns.)
“We saw on the calendar that Valentine’s Day is coming up and we were like, we have to do something,” one of the bar’s co-owners, Greg Curley, told us.
So, Curley is putting together an “anti-valentine’s day event” they’re calling Valentine’s at The Pagoda.
The event begins Monday at 5 pm and will go until 2 am in the morning. The red, low-lit-and-illuminated-by-a-disco-ball bar at Abe’s won’t have any props or decorations related to the holiday; Curley says that customers “shouldn’t expect any Valentine’s decorations or even a vibe that we’re celebrating the holiday.”
Instead, “they can expect to get our amazing frosè and fries for just $10,” said Curley. Abe’s will also be serving happy hour-priced drinks all night – that’s $5 beer & shot combos and $6 well drinks, among other deals.
In addition to promising a general attitude of disdain for the holiday, the bar also has programmed a slate of anti-Valentine’s Day movies, including George Mihalka’s 1981 slasher My Bloody Valentine and War of The Roses, a movie from the same year that dramatizes a bitter divorce splitting a formerly happy couple played by Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas.
Valentine’s Day is a “holiday created by Hallmark greeting card companies,” Curley proclaims.
While the bar hopes that their event can be a local escape from the holiday, it’s official line doesn’t discourage couples from coming and spending money there too.
In a way, this is welcoming. Everyone can come to take part in an anti-celebration of a holiday that often has the impact of making some feel extremely alone. It’s a boycott of an entire idea by suggesting the day can be spent by opting to go out drinking, just like any other day. The message: people can still pay to have fun at a bar, even if they are otherwise dateless and lonely.
For Curley, this is a breath of fresh air.
“Valentine’s Day is for children. Bars are for adults,” he says.
Abe’s Pagoda is located at 108 Wyckoff Avenue.
Top photo taken by Andrew Karpan for Bushwick Daily.
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