It’s a swampass summer Saturday in the city, and everyone else got out of bed at the crack of dawn to make it to Rockaway or the Hamptons, but you ain’t got nowhere to go. You might need to recharge with an exotic staycation at Black Flamingo. If you’ve never cruised by its off-the-main-drag corner in Williamsburg (168 Borinquen Pl.), Black Flamingo is one drink, dinner and disco destination that’s not yet been overexposed via Instagram. The cocktails satiate tropical tastebuds without being too sweet, the Mexican-slanted vegetarian offerings are tasty and hearty, and the Friday and Saturday night basement parties have become something of a dance lover’s dirty underground legend.
The space has kind of a vintage Miami Vice realness, if Miami Vice was set in the 60s instead of the 80s. So it leans a little more Don Draper than Don Johnson. The dramatically arched gold bar area, palm and banana trees, mid-century light fixtures and small candlelit cocktail tables set the mood. They’ve managed to create a super laid-back setting with the regal retro-meets-Rio design. And the happy hours are solid: from 6-8pm Tuesday through Friday you can grub on $3 tacos, while washing them back with $3 beers or $4 champagne.
Though there’s a focus on dance music, Black Flamingo is definitely not a techno club; if you wanna be a cool kid, you probably shouldn’t whisper the acronym EDM when you’re inside its doors. You’ll hear a lot of throwback house, disco, and classic dance, among whatever else strikes the DJ’s fancy that night. A few months ago they launched a Membership program to give priority to the real music-loving regulars. The free card (with your photo on it) entitles you to no cover for the Friday and Saturday night dance parties, which otherwise would be $10. If you’re cool and you ask nicely, they’ll probably hook you up with one. On Wednesdays they’ve got tropical jams with the steamy Benga Benga—original & remixed music from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean—plus a little live music, from 7pm-2am.
The cocktails are lovingly crafted, and some of them are deliciously punchy. The Ginger Capirinha’s got spice—a heat that keeps on going. We also love where the Permanent Vacation takes us, with pisco, lemon, pineapple, simple syrup, and orange bitters. And you really can’t go wrong with any of the tacos—even if you’re an omnivore, don’t be intimidated by the veggies. They’re all delish.
Black Flamingo | 168 Borinquen Pl., at S. 2nd St. Williamsburg | 718-387-3337