320 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: Mon-Fri 4p-4a, Sat-Sun 2p-4a
Transportation: A,C,F to Jay St/Borough Hall—then Bus B61 to Red Hook or F,G to Carroll St—then, $6 Cab
Written by: Heather McCown
Tired of staring at the pigeons on your fire escape? Then head down to Bait & Tackle to enjoy the natural, and not so natural, fauna of Brooklyn. Opened around 2004, this bar took up residence where a real bait shop operated for years. The current owners assimilated the prior identity of the space to create a live music venue that is truly comfortable and unique.
From the stuffed game, antler horns and assorted fishing and hunting paraphernalia hanging from the walls, to the beautiful natural wood bar top, B & T gives no apology for its character. “They don’t try to be hip—they don’t have to…it just is what it is,” says Erin, a former bartender who trims a friend’s hair with a straight-edge between sips of beer.
There are plenty of places to hide in the bar’s camouflage decor, yet Bait & Tackle is also a great place to meet friendly neighbors, discuss local events and commiserate underneath the bucket lamps hanging above the bar. Positioned in Red Hook, where residential blocks meet industrial buildings, the bar feels like a no-man’s land. “People come here to hideout from other areas of Brooklyn,” Erin, states, as she explains how the venue has become a refuge from the hipster scene in other neighborhoods.
The stage area consists of a small space in the center of the room, and lends itself to an ideal setup for acoustic or small acts that don’t mind a stuffed billy goat peering over their shoulders while they are playing. With a full PA system, mixer, and speakers, Bait & Tackle is a great venue to plug-in and play.
This is a come as you are kind of place. Grab a seat on one of the vinyl sofas with a friend, play a game of Buck Hunter, or just rest your feet on the railroad tie at the bar and enjoy the warmth of a good conversation and the sounds of live music.