Typically when you read about a new bar, the review lingers over the carefully crafted cocktail list, the house-made bitters, the collection of rare mezcals the owner traveled to Oaxaca to get. There’s no shortage of exotic concoctions lit by Edison bulbs in Brooklyn. But the neighborhood bar, the place you go to run into people you know, with solid drinks, a good happy hour, and a comfortable vibe, those we could use a few more of around these parts. Welcome to The Starliner.
Opened in January of 2016 in a former tae kwon do studio a short walk from the Myrtle-Wykoff train station in Bushwick, the well-appointed space is roomy enough to comfortably accommodate big crowds on weekends, but warm enough that you’ll feel just as comfortable settling in for a quiet early evening cocktail. The Starliner’s interior design could be described as fifties diner-meets-Brooklyn-hipster, with oversized red leather booths–including one built into the bar–against tiled walls and clean hardwood floors and matching ceilings. The spacious backyard area has ample seating in the open area as well as a converted garage boasting a giant American flag wall mural which signals Starliner’s work-hard, play-hard ethos.
The staff is not overly concerned with high-end mixology, but the bartenders will happily fix you a stiff old fashioned or negroni ($9) in addition to slinging happy hour beer-and-shot deals. A rotating array of signature punches (also $9) are on offer; on a recent visit we found the peach tea punch to be tasty and refreshing but a little watered down by too much ice in the glass; the rum punch was listed on the menu but not available that night. There is a decent selection of beer on tap, from Goose Island IPA to Coors Banquet, and a great happy hour deal of $4 for a Coors and a shot. Happy hour is generous at seven days a week, from 3pm to 8pm, and also includes $4 well drinks and $4 wine. Not too shabby! Starliner doesn’t have a kitchen, but you can order delivery from the nearby Twin Suns deli.
If there’s something odd about Starliner, it’s that it seems to want to be divier than it is. It’s difficult to create a believable hole-in-the-wall vibe when the design is so nice. Owner Seth Piracci, a super friendly, upbeat guy who can often be found at the bar, seems committed to maintaining an atmosphere that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and wants everyone to come as they are. This is great! However, a newcomer walking into the truly stunning space for the first time might find herself with higher expectations when it comes to the cocktails, both in the selection and the execution. Also, while the posted hours state the bar is open at noon on weekends, a recent late afternoon visit on a Saturday found that it was not. Still, if you find yourself in central Bushwick, there’s no better place to kick back with simple drink or three. And if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path space for a group outing or birthday party, the Starliner has got you covered, as a true neighborhood joint should.
1446 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
M-F, 3pm to 4am, Sat & Sunday noon-4 am