Brooklyn Ice House
Tue Sep 2 2008
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Ginger Man veteran Trevor Budd is betting on the appeal of men's simple pleasures at this everyman's pub, next door to Red Hook stalwart Bait & Tackle. Chic cocktails and wine are conspicuously absent from Budd's reboot of the defunct Pioneer Bar-B-Q, as is decor: Holdovers like splintered-wood walls, mismatched furniture and a sports-tuned TV make a testosterone-friendly den for the motley crew of beer drinkers and Pioneer expats. Thankfully, Budd's beer-bar pedigree means suds extend beyond, well, Bud. Chalkboards list 30-plus affordable brews, from the $2 Carling Black Label to chocolaty Aventinus from Germany (a $7 steal), as well as drafts including Guinness and the hoppy Dogfish Head. But it's the $4 PBR--Evan Williams whiskey combo that fuels the good-humored crowd, content to plug Merle Haggard and Sex Pistols into the jukebox and blast Big Buck Hunter critters. For the gun-shy, there's Jenga, Scrabble and Connect Four, best played between bites of 'cue procured from Pioneer's old smoker. Excellent pulled pork is piled on soft buns (two for $5); superbly smoky, fall-apart-tender brisket po' boys are topped with pickled onions and paired with crisp, rough-cut sweet-potato fries. Dessert—Hershey's Kisses on the house—is a sweet touch you'd never have found at grizzly Pioneer. True enough, the haunt is missed, but Brooklyn Ice House ably fills Pioneer's shoes, and improves upon its shortcomings: The 'cue is better, the beer selection more vast, the vibe more relaxed. Sometimes it takes a second-wave settler to fix the pioneer's mistakes.