Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Three In One Day: Blackbird Rising,
Alia at Last, and A Bar With No Name

alia opening

North Sixth Street is set to gain three new eating and/or drinking establishments in just over 24 hours, with the simultaneous openings of Alia (Wednesday), Blackbird Parlour (Thursday AM), and the still-nameless bar at 108 North 6th.

Blackbird Parlour, which we reported on a couple weeks back, was making final preparations for a Thursday morning opening when we popped in this evening. The café-by-day / cozy wine bar after dark is at 197 Bedford - the corner of North 6th.

Alia, the long-awaited Mediterranean restaurant at 95 North 6th (between Berry and Wythe), threw open its doors - and threw down the possibility of table-side belly dancing tonight, after well over two years of construction.

Across the street at 108 North 6th, the uniquely artful pub we reported on Monday night rolled up its gate late Tuesday, attracting a steady stream of drinkers - and, according to owner Carrie Oelfke, about 20 groups of photographers.

The tunnel-shaped tavern was decorated by a number of area artists, and besides a well-stocked bar, the unidentified establishment features a small performance stage, a weather-friendly smokers' porch (much like nearby Gutter), and - get this - two short lanes of skee ball!

As for the name issue, Oelfke says the joint won't remain anonymous for long. "Its like a new pet," she explained, "you have to play with it and get to know its personality before you go naming it." Get to know it yourself at the bar's official grand opening next Friday, October 26th.
skee ball
skee ball!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

After 2 1/2 Years, Alia Has a Menu;
Yes, There are Belly Dancers


Two new businesses appear close to opening on the 100 block of North 6th this week; one has been publicly in the works for ages, and the other sneaks in with nary a mention in the local press.

On the north side of the block, Alia - a fabled Mediterranean restaurant - has been under interior renovations since early 2005. To put that in perspective, when contractors began work on Alia:

- Northside Piers was still a waste transfer station

- The Edge was a recently-defunct truck rental business and an impound lot

- The Finger building was still...ah, never mind

Alia has sported various "coming soon" banners for much of the past two years. But this week's appearance of a take-out menu - and a website whose FAQ section includes the frequently-asked "Are there belly dancers?" (A: Belly dancing available on request and on special events) - implies that the falafel may finally hit the fryer sometime soon.

Meanwhile - in a tale of two development styles - across the street at 108 North 6th, a yet-to-be-named bar with an extremely cool-looking interior is nearing completion with nary a mention in the press (not even a job posting on Williamsboard or Craigslist). One state liquor authority hearing notice from April '06 is the only evidence the place even exists.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Advertecture Portends Future
Topless - sorry - Tapas Club In Park

kent advertecture

When we first spied this three-story frame painted in eight-bit pastels across the side of 110 Kent Avenue - a nineteenth century brick building blissfully landlocked by East River State Park - we thought to ourselves, "Huh. A giant Space Invaders shield. Thank goodness."

But several days later, noticing the absence of rows of hovering, bomb-dropping aliens above it, we began to wonder if our earlier conclusion was premature. So we asked the building's owner about it.

The 30 ft pastel frame is the outline for an upcoming billboard for a "tapas bar and club" to eventually be developed in the building. From the sound of things, the would-be restaurateur has been haggling with State Parks for some time, and expects a long road to the first evening when park-goers munch boquerónes and albondigas and sip Syrah while watching the sun set over the Manhattan skyline.

Until that day, we'll have a romantic, thirty-foot wall ad to gaze upon and get us in the mood.