Hank’s Saloon re-opens with a taste of old Brooklyn
Downtown Brooklyn snags a Boerum Hill icon.
January 31, 2019
Grit isn’t dead in Downtown Brooklyn.
When Hank’s Saloon, a long-time, no-frills, neighborhood bar closed its bumper-sticker covered doors in December last year, it looked like another casualty of Brooklyn’s upscale resurgence. According to its website, the bar closed down “due to the overwhelming need for more condos in Brooklyn.”
But, as fate would have it, Hank’s is already back, and it’s located in the center of Downtown Brooklyn, at the newly built-out Hill Country Food Park.
“When we put the date up of when we were closing, a mutual friend of Hill Country and Hank’s knew that Hill Country had space upstairs that they thought might be a really nice spot for Hank’s,” explained co-owner and local resident, Julie Ipcar. “We came to look at the spot and it was perfect. It had the sound equipment, we just needed to Hanken it a little bit.”
“Hankening” the space means that visitors find certain details they might not expect at a brand new bar. Patrons stand on distressed hardwood floors beneath neon lights advertising beer brands, colored string lights hang from the rafters. Reclaimed treasures from the original bar abound, including the stickered-up mirror from the original bar. A stage is set in the back corner, with drum kit, mic stands, and amps, all ready to go, making Hank’s the only bar in Downtown Brooklyn where you can catch a rock and roll show.
“You can’t recreate Hank’s, ‘cause that’s not possible, But what you can do is create a neighborhood bar and a venue for live music. So my challenge, which I love, is creating a community, because I don’t know this area that well and I don’t know the courts and the Borough Hall area and I don’t know who lives around here. When I was growing up it was mostly a commercial zone. But there are people that are here and that’s what you need to put in this neighborhood, a place where everyone knows the staff and you always have somewhere to go and there’s people that look out for you.”
The people at Hank’s do seem to be the backbone of the place. Despite the bar not even having had its grand opening yet, it was filled with trusty regulars on a recent Monday evening after work. These seeming regulars were being served by their regular bartender, Jeanie Taliercio. Taliercio worked at the original Hank’s for the past 24 years, and on this Monday night took turns serving the regulars and wrangling the new POS system for the first time. Talierco is a throwback to an era of bartenders with personality and attitude. She has the Hank’s logo tattooed on her left arm. Jeanie even has appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show in his exploration of authentic Brooklyn bartenders, and has since catered private events for him.
So how does a bar that hasn’t even officially opened pack the bar on a random Monday night in the middle of winter?
“Our servers really care about the people here,” Ipcar said. “It’s respect, and how you’re treated, catching people’s eyes and not just seeing them as dollar bills.”
Hank’s Saloon is located at 345 Adams St. in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s open starting at 4pm everyday and closes at 12am on weeknights and at 2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Hank’s will launch its live music series Feb. 2.