The news came in June and some of us are still reeling from it. After nine-and-a-half years at 988 Manhattan Avenue, The Habitat will be closing its doors forever on Saturday, September 16th. The owners tried to negotiate a new lease with reasonable market rates, but they couldn’t come to an agreement with the landlords. Ever since I first stepped foot inside during an epic 2008 pub crawl, Habitat has always held a special place in my heart. The trivia night involving real buzzers and graphics, art shows including one involving my first true love (ice cream), afternoon happy hour, their always fantastic tap list, and of course, the food. Delicious, unpretentious, and affordable, as good bar food should be. To me, Habitat and Mark Bar (RIP) balanced each other out on what was the quieter side of Manhattan Avenue. Alas, all good things must come to an end.
I’m not the only one with fond memories—the place is always crowded—and it seems Cupid’s arrow found its target more than once inside. Apparently, The New York Times dropped the ball on running this Vows column from Kelly Helfrich and her beau, Vince Perretti, Jr.
“I was sitting in his seat at the bar which was also my seat at the bar. We’d seen each other in passing before, specifically at quiz nights. So I knew he was regular as well and not a creep.” The two began dating, and probably became one hell of a trivia team. A few Mays later, they stopped by on a Wednesday night. “The Thing” is playing, but then, it abruptly changes to “Star Trek: Next Generation” complete with audio.
“As most Habitat patrons know, they never have audio for movies on. Star Trek intro ends, and then, it’s him on screen, in a Star Trek uniform, and then all of our friends on screen also in Star Trek uniforms. I love Star Trek, I knew what was about to happen. The video ended with Vince saying “Engage” (one of Captain Picard’s catch phrases on the show) and he slides a ring box over on the bar. Obviously, I said yes.”
That’s not all. The Habitat was a part of their wedding too. “It’s the night of our wedding and we all [went] there after for some fries and empanadas to sober up and for some more ice cream. Went there again for our first anniversary, and will be going again on our second anniversary August 15. We owe Habitat so much. It’s really heartbreaking they’re leaving. I definitely cried at my desk at work when I read the news.”
Are you crying yet? Because Jimmy Newborg’s story will make you need a few tissues.
“My boyfriend and I liked to go there on date nights, sometimes after his shifts at Permanent Records, and usually accompanied by a trip to Photoplay (that’s what that store was called, right?) to raid the bins of VHS tapes. My boyfriend, Christopher Meyer tragically died in a bicycle accident in 2013. Those nights of shopping for movies and grabbing a good bite at Habitat afterward are some of my favorite memories of my too-short time with him. Sorry to hear of another longtime Greenpoint business shutting its doors but thankful for those memories.”
If you need to drown your tears and/or reminisce about the good times, there is a North Brooklyn Community Meet-up at The Habitat tonight at 8pm. Keep in mind that they are now cash only and as of a few days ago, without gas (read: the food situation). Though you can buy some of their delicious sauces by the pint.
As for the rest of our beloved drinking holes, the developers can only have Black Rabbit over my dead body. Beer Food Games Make Out Forever!