Because it’s been beaten to death, because it’s used for everything and tells us nothing—because a 24-hour and/or certified artisanal and/or kitschy-weird anything does not a precious blood diamond make—let’s boycott “hidden gem.”
Tucked away on an otherwise gray stretch of Woodpoint Road, particularly in the thick of legitimate (see: Code Narnia) winter weather, Tar Pit is more like a cabin in the woods—think Mr. Tumnus, not Joss Whedon. Owners Lauren Kidder (a furniture fabricator) and Kerry Sano (a motorcycle mechanic) have made it so, building up most of the space from reclaimed wood and lucky estate sale finds. Boasting espresso-based drinks (Plowshares), baked goods (Ceci-Cela, Pie Corps), and tea packaged on-site, it feels like an intimate hideaway in an alternate universe where brusque baristas and laptop lurkers simply don’t exist. Since opening a few blocks away from the main Graham Avenue strip in July 2011, Tar Pit has made it clear that it is more than just another coffee shop. “We wanted to build community without being pretentious,” says Lauren, “and that kind of started when the building owner approached us and said, ‘Hey, you should paint those garage doors down the block’—so we got a bunch of people together and did.”
Every September, the ladies of Tar Pit host Locally Brewed. Much like a live demonstration of exquisite corpse, it brings together selected artists who are assigned a theme and a garage door while the rest of the neighborhood is invited to watch. With raffles, DJ sets, and Lauren herself keeping it real (seriously) at the grill, the event has been a huge success, with all past proceeds going to the 9/11 Relief Fund. But fuck, wait, there’s more. If the toy dinosaurs and the commemorative Prince William/Kate Middleton tea set (!) aren’t enough, consider this: Tar Pit’s secret weapon is its Kyoto-style, slow-drip cold brew. Call it rocket fuel or liquid gold—it takes 12-15 hours in what looks like an advanced chemistry set to make barely 20 cups of this potent potion—you can get it to go or bring it home bottled (yes, they do that). Get ready for take-off.
135a Woodpoint Road
Brooklyn, NY 11211
L to Graham Avenue
Samantha Wolner of My Social List