SIDECAR • offManhattan.com

SidecarSidecar 560 Fifth Ave, Brooklyn, 718 369 0077 | Written for offManhattan.com

FOOD & DRINK CURES ALL PAIN declares the tongue-in-cheek motto stamped on Sidecar’s seal. Come sundown, this American bar-bistro sparks to life, attracting Park Slope locals and night owls who pass through its glass facade with the hope that the owners, brothers Bart and Johnny DeCoursy, will make good on their promise.

Bart (ex-O’Connor’s) directs the front-of-house where friends and singles meet at the long mahogany bar, sipping the lemony namesake cocktails. From above, bare bulbs wash the exposed brick walls in a Cointreau-colored rinse that invokes a sepia-toned nostalgia more often associated with bottled Coke served with bendy straws.

Johnny, a Blue Ribbon veteran, mans the stove to deliver posh pub grub that boasts fresh ingredients prepared on premise. A robust list of daily specials run the gamut from basmati rice-filled red pepper to jerk chicken, complementing ol’ reliables like the requisite Sidecar burger, which arrives with its top bun on the side to spotlight the cheese-smothered tender 8 oz. patty and a heap of homemade skinny fries. Another crowd pleaser is the bean dip starter followed by the Banh-D, a spicy pork-and-pate stuffed Vietnamese sandwich, accompanied by a shot of cucumber juice.

Sidecar boothOpposite the open kitchen a jukebox glows, calling attention to its novel existence, while Spy Hunter stands alone in the back. Shortly after midnight, the barkeeps break out the Wii to engage late night imbibers in bowling on the flat screen until the, well, wee hours of the morning. Open until 4 a.m., Sidecar is popular with sleepwalking bar and restaurant industry folk looking to chase their nightcap with some virtual smackdown.

On a recent Sunday during brunch, the brothers shared their plans to open the cozy back deck for table service by May 1st. “The whole area will be covered in white oak to contrast with the black walnut used inside, and there will be planters lining the edges,” said Johnny, who plans to grow herbs to be used in his dishes. While Johnny envisioned the trappings outside, his daughters Amelia, five, and Isabel, three, weaved stealthily between patrons inside, trotting up to the front windows to spy on passersby on Fifth Avenue.

Turning two in July, it’s still too soon to tell whether Sidecar will be the panacea as advertised. But judging by the constant stream of regulars and new enthusiasts filling the house, it seems that by mixing business with pleasure, the DeCoursy brothers are brewing a recession remedy that just might work.

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April 8, 2009. Brooklyn, Brunch, offManhattan, Park Slope.

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