After Hours Referees: Playing Ball in Boerum Hill

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We After Hours Athletes may think that we’re the heroes of the story, but it’s our referees, the bartenders, bouncers and roadies, who make it all possible--from pouring pilsners to keeping the peace. This is the first in our series chatting with the referees of the night.

Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, may masquerade as a residential neighbourhood, but it’s one of our favourite places for a night of underground sport, refereed by some of the best bartenders in the city. With everything from darts and pool to board games and Big Buck Hunter, these bars are our favourites. We checked in with the local refs for their best advice for successful night out with the opposite sex.

Scene: Somewhere between class and clutter, between mood and murk, and between Smith Street and Bond, is the Brooklyn Tavern.
Sport: Pool
The Call from the Ref: Although Martha is no taller than the taps she stands behind, she tells us: “The best piece of advice I could give a young person is this: Before telling the person you met online you’re serious, terminate the online dating account. It’s just about sending a message, ha.”

Scene: Roebling Inn, where the rye flows like lager, and you might just hear some Siri-incompatible Welsh accents.
Sport: Skeeball
The Call from the Ref: Heather Leroy is a transplanted LA comic, actress, cocktailsmith and all around despicable human. (No, no, no, the good kind!) She won’t judge you for ordering something girly, but she knows how to survive late-night rides on the subway: “If you get in a jam with some weirdo, don’t call for help. Just point and scream PERVERT! Oh, they’ll pay attention.”

Scene: A short stroll down Atlantic Avenue is Floyd. The chalkboard out front declares that booze and bliss can be discovered within. Inside, the welcoming appeal of the ragtag, mismatched furniture is all the more surprising in this dark age of bedbugs.
Sport: Bocce
The Call from the Ref: Tom mans the beverage station, and the conversation flows like molasses. The slow shake of his ponytailed head says: “I have no backstory”; his scars say something different: “I don’t want my mom to find out I work here.”

Scene: Building on Bond is a magnetic neighbourhood foodery/drinkery/laptoppery where where the rum flows, no wait...where the wifi flows like... ginger beer? (Trust us, you’ll be craving a dark and stormy when you walk in the door, too.)
Sport: Board Games
The Call from the Ref: Ann isn’t a stickler for the “rules” of engagement: “EVVVVERYBODY calls after three to four days, but what’s so wrong with a little impatience? Two days? One day?”

Bartenders know what they’re talking about. They’ve had front row seats to it all, from the worst pickup lines to the most successful closes, and they have nearly unlimited wisdom. What after-hours tips have you picked up from your local referees? 

All photos courtesy of Adrian Tung.