“Great Good Places of Brooklyn” by John Tebeau
It’s a tough call choosing the best bars of Brooklyn.
As Brooklyn artist John Tebeau began work on his “Great Good Places of Brooklyn” series, he drafted a long list of contenders. Then he began the arduous process of winnowing the field. Tebeau wasn’t just looking for places that make a great cocktail or that have beautiful decor. He wanted to celebrate those that feel like home without being at home.
Henry James first published a short story called “The Great Good Place” in Scribner’s Magazine in 1900. Then in 1989 Ray Oldenburg published a book titled, “The Great Good Place: Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community.”
Inspired by that notion of hangouts that pull together a community, Tebeau made a list of Brooklyn bars that are conducive to conversation and that have welcoming bartenders. He sought out those with a good day drinking atmosphere, comfortable whether you’re with friends or reading a book. Tebeau gave bonus points for good light, a well-curated jukebox, happy hour specials and the occasional free round.
Ultimately, he chose:
- Fort Defiance in Red Hook
- Sunny’s in Red Hook
- Brooklyn Inn in Boerum Hill
- Bar Great Harry in Carroll Gardens
- The Gate in Park Slope
- Mugs Alehouse in Williamsburg
Tebeau’s Great Good Places of Brooklyn show opens at Fort Defiance, one of the Great Good Places, with a party 5-8 p.m. Nov. 13. The opening will feature drink specials inspired by the Great Good Places and free appetizers, plus live music from the three-piece blues act Stevie from St. Lou.
Ten dollars from each sale opening night will go to the nonprofit community center Red Hook Initiative: http://rhicenter.
Tebeau drew each of the six taverns, then prepared them for silk screening at Gowanus Print Labs. The 16 by 20 inch images each feature two colors to highlight features of the bar exteriors, with much of the design remaining black and white. The pieces are on hand printed on 100 percent cotton fiber, acid-free Stonehenge paper, each signed and numbered.
Tebeau is a fan of bold lines, strong design and vibrant colors. He taught himself how to draw in elementary school, and started painting later, melding cartoon sensibilities with an appreciation for art that shows wit and dash.
Tebeau learned to screen print in his 20s in Chicago, where he designed and printed T-shirts. After moving to Brooklyn, he refreshed those skills with a class at Gowanus Print Labs.
Tebeau also has a show called “You Want It, You Got It” opening at the Adjacent to Life Gallery, a pop up in the East Village, Nov. 7. That show features acrylic on canvas and board paintings on inspirational themes like courage, hustle and the fertility in chaos.
Fort Defiance, 365 Van Brunt St. on the corner of Dikeman Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Take the 2/3 or 4/5 to Borough Hall and connect to the B61 bus down Van Brunt. Or take the ferry from Pier 11-Wall Street to Red Hook.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 5-8 p.m.
Free, with live music, free appetizers and drink specials
John Tebeau: http://tebeau.com/
Fort Defiance: http://fortdefiancebrooklyn.