This review is part of an ongoing series on electronic cigarettes and vaping. It rates how vape friendly a particular venue is. The views expressed are purely the opinion of the author, and do not represent those of Bedford Slims. Feedback is welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an e-cigarette experience worth sharing.
Brooklyn Magazine last week hosted a Pop Up Market at Brooklyn Night Bazaar to publicize the launch of its Gift Guide issues. It was one of those semi-exclusive affairs that is meant to make the people who attend it feel like they were "on the list", when in reality, all one really needed to do was RSVP for free ahead of time.
I had yet to visit the Bazaar's new location. The old spot was further north in Greenpoint, in a warehouse among other warehouses. But in perhaps the surest sign of the neighborhood's trajectory, it is being replaced by a restaurant/co-working space/design store that is also somehow a startup incubator being sponsored by BMW. The new location is predictably slicker than the old one.
The new Bazaar has a pervasive sense that it is a self-aware retro scene. It has a distinctive Boogie Nights 1970's vibe, derived from the fact that it used genuinely be just that kind of place before it was abandoned for decades. The extensive square footage is not a place that's intended to be enjoyed, so much as it's meant to be appreciated. Like so much in Williamsburg nowadays, you can't escape the sense that you're being marketed to.
That was particularly true of Brooklyn Magazine's event, which was full of tables where you could buy small bespoke items. I was actually struck by the brilliant synergy of late capitalism: a party where you can also shop. It gave you something to do, at least, other than talk to other Brooklynites about the thing none of us wants to talk about. I'm sure there's a symbolic insight of national scope that you could draw out, but that might be a subject for a different piece.
Besides, the event left plenty to be cynical about on a local level. It's fascinating how a venue like the Bazaar attempts to affect the trappings of an ironic youth culture that is juuuuust a few years out of date. Rather than attracting people in their mid-20's, as you'd expect in a trendy new bar, there was a touch of grey coloring the beards in attendance. The very fact this party was for a Gift Guide, meant to help you pick the perfect gift for family, friends and coworkers, was proof that this was not the epicenter of a rebellious youth culture. Instead, Williamsburg and Greenpoint have become a stamping ground for families and mid-30's couples that don't want to descend into lameness. Not that there's anything wrong with that per se (I live there after all), but it felt a little subdued for the venue's super hip design and party-ready set up.
As for vaping there, it's hard to do just like any place with that many bouncers. But the cellar is where you wanna go if you want to sneak an e-cig without going outside. There's an enormous room with two ping pong tables in it, and you could probably fill the room entirely with vapor and no one would notice or care. It also helps that it's incredibly dark and musky, so vaping is unlikely to attract that much attention. And you can play ping pong! I might just be a hipster who's beginning to age, but that sounds like a good time to me.
Rating for Vaping: 2/10