by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
November 28, 2004
After running as fast as we could from Floyd, another Atlantic Avenue bar we found overrun with a drab post-fraternity crowd, we were relieved to pull up a stool at Kili’s long black bar and relax over a few drinks, good music, and a warm fireplace. Beyond the fireplace, which was stoked all night by the amiable bartender and various patrons eager to share their fire-building expertise, there wasn’t really much in the way of ski-lodge paraphernalia, save for a snowboard in the window and intricately carved snowflake designs that lined plush, wraparound booths. Still, we didn’t come here expecting over-the-top kitsch, and the dimly lit atmosphere, accentuated by candlelit wooden tables and a circular, wrought-iron chandelier with low-hanging lamps, was enough to lure us into a multiple-drink sojourn at a bar we feared might be packed with hipsters and hipsterettes. If Kili were in Manhattan, it probably would have been.
Instead, we found an unpretentious, laid-back crowd content with snacking from Kili’s small food menu (the pumpkin ravioli at $12.95 sounded delicious), sipping on reasonably priced drinks, or toasting complimentary marshmallows over the fireplace with two-pronged, silver roasters provided by the bar. A few DJs took turns on the decks, spinning a smooth mix of soul, classics, jazzy hip-hop, vintage Motown, and porn funk. Indeed, for a while, it seemed that Shaft himself might walk through the door at any minute.
Kili features $2 Pabsts and $3 Buds during happy hour, with Brooklyn Lager, Stella Artois, and Hoegarden on tap (though they had unfortunately run out of the latter on our visit). There is no specialty drink menu, but the liquor supply looked to be fully stocked, and our mixed drinks were stiffer than spiked punch at a 1977 prom (make sure to tip your bartender).
In a neighborhood moving in the gentrified direction of Williamsburg, Kili is a winter-friendly joint that’s perfect for unwinding over a few drinks and a cozy fireplace. Here’s hoping it stays so low-key.
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