It’s widely known in my household that I’m pretty ghetto, and when it comes to anything free I’m the first in line. So when I heard that Safe Haven, the new bar and grill on 6th ave and 20th st, was having a grand opening party with free southern food and $5 Six Point Craft Ales, I put on my walking shoes.
This space recently held the beloved Bar BQ where young and old liquored up on weekly specials like $2 Bluepoints, free bourbon, and an inexhaustible supply of live bluegrass, country and rock. Safe Haven hasn’t changed much of the inside of this joint. The bar seems to have been cleaned up a bit and the floors have a new coat of polish, but all in all it still has that friendly neighborhood vibe that attracts the locals and there were plenty of them last night!
The bar was packed and the restaurant area was standing room only when we arrived. Despite having what seemed like only one bartender and one waiter we were quickly able to secure a glass of Six Point Emasculator, because after all, with a name like that it has to be good. It had a dark rich color and deep malty flavor. With a 7.4% ABV I can fully see how Emasculator can put any guy or gal in their place! All beers were served in what I can only describe as a tall goblet, which led me to wonder if all the beers that night were full pints. Humm curious… but I digress. With beers in hand and wide grins on our faces a waiter placed before us a basket of catfish fingers.
They were scrumptious. Outside of each hot chunk was a crunchy cornmeal coating with a definite Cajun spiciness. Inside there was a tender and moist hunk of wonderful catfish. On the side came a unique house made tartar sauce. It had the tangy relish of your typical tartar but creamier and speckled with bell pepper, almost reminiscent of a ranch dressing. It complimented the catfish wonderfully.
Our next trip to the bar yielded a couple of glasses of the Belgium Rye. Once again, you can’t beat a locally made brew, it was slightly sweet with a nice hoppy flavor and deep amber color. Back at the table the friendly waiter offered us a basket of hushpuppies, how could I say no?
Each small ball was fresh out of the fryer and looked delicious, but looks can be deceiving. I broke into one only to find an extremely salty crust and an awfully boring center. There was obviously some chives mixed in the batter but the end result left me not wanting another bite. It came with a side of a similar dressing as the tartar sauce but a little less tangy. I tried dipping another one into that to see if it would help, but alas it did not so the basket went largely uneaten. This really says something, because I never turn down free food. Hell, I even disappointed myself. Did I mention I’m cheap and I love free stuff?
The place was getting even more packed and I was hungry to we left soon after. The beers are excellent, but I’m not sure if they will exclusively carry Six Point or if that was only for the opening. The catfish is solid and their seemed to be some corndogs and fritters being passed around, though I didn’t get a chance to catch any of those. I’d certainly go back to try the full menu and some of the pork I hear rumors about. All in all, I still miss Bar BQ but I’m looking forward to seeing this bar develop and grow its niche. Hopefully adding in some of the happy hour specials and great music that helped make the last bar so memorable.
689 6th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215