All photos by Scarlett Cavanaugh for Bushwick Daily

Finally, the gods have answered our prayers. Don’t get me wrong – I love Arena Billiards. But ever since I moved to this side of the Myrtle-Wyckoff stop, I’ve been on my knees daily askin’ the good lord for a place to wet my whistle with the standards I’ve come to know and love: Lagunita’s, Bell’s, SixPoint, etc.

And I don’t know if it was the goat I sacrficed on the Spring Equinox, or the tithe I dropped in the mail to Salt Lake City, or what, but I do know that I will be spending plenty of summer nights in the cozy brown booths at Bootleg Bar. (And at Old Stanley’s! Full review coming.) Bootleg Bar is co-owned by Bobby Rich, an alum of Goodbye Blue Mondays, and Marek Gregorski, owner of East River Bar.

Bootleg Bar smells like delicious new paint.

Bootleg is slendar and austere. The décor, though sparse, is punctuated with soft gestures hinting at the history of the space, which was a German pub and grill in the 1950’s and, most recently, a lounge called Ruby’s. The arch of the back room gives away the original structure of the building—it was built in 1956. And Rich proudly points out that the same year is engraved on the side of their heavy, fire-proof basement doors. In a neighborhood fraught by change, it can be pleasant to savor these small outposts of the past—a stained glass window, a façade, a pizzeria.

Large front windows allow one to monitor pedestrians as they enter and exit Popeye’s.

Bootleg boasts an extraordinarily well-curated jukebox, and they’re planning to have DJ’s on the weekends. But on Sunday afternoons, Willy Gantrim of Roots ‘n’ Ruckus will be hosting a rotating assortment of acoustic musicians from 6 PM to 9 PM in the bar. I stopped by last Sunday, enjoyed a slow beer and friendly chit chat, and listened to a young Brit play with his eyes closed while the rain streaked the windows.

Katie, a super friendly and hilarious bartender.

And if all that doesn’t sound just totally enjoyable, one of the beer and shot specials features tall boy PBR’s and a shot of well whiskey for 5 bucks.

Bootleg Bar is open seven days a week, from 5 PM to 4 AM, and it’s located at 1438 Myrtle Ave, right across the street from Popeye’s.