A girl in a pink tutu, probably no older than eight, poises over a cornhole game board. Her hands grip a beanbag and her purple sparkly nails shimmer under the slowly setting sun.
As other beanbags threaten her area, she attempts to swat them away, but her aim is not much better than her tosses, which had resulted in several beanbags plopped no more than five feet away from her. Her opponent, her father, gleefully plays while sipping a Stella out of a plastic cup. It’s the last of summer in a summer place, The Brooklyn Crab in Red Hook.
Nearby, a coveted picnic table adjacent to the bar opens up. Five young men swiftly scurry over with a silver fishing bucket full of beer bottles in tow. They settle in and clink their bottles together in celebration. The group that had once occupied the table swarmed near the miniature golf course in the back area of the bar. In their huddle, they debate who should play first. None of them want the honor. Eventually, a small woman with black hair takes the first putt. She assesses her performance and then sweeps her hair up into a ponytail. Game on. One of her competitors pulls out his phone and records her stroke. He continued to loudly announce the standings after each putt. They all agree: loser buys the next round.
The Brooklyn Crab is decorated with fishing baskets hanging from the ceiling, plastic palm trees, and a turtle statue reminiscent of Crush, the laid back turtle from Finding Nemo. It has a main bar, an upstairs bar, and a bar in the yard. It even has a sandbox.
The place is clearly popular, and overflowing guests spill out onto the Red Hook sidewalks. Patrons seem to be coming for many different reasons — Some bring along families, some come to enjoy seafood, others come for the drinks and the option to sip a daiquiri out of a long plastic twisty straw.
A barback, Ethan Nol, says that people come to the Brooklyn Crab from “all over — Staten Island, the Bronx, lots from Brooklyn, Manhattan, everywhere.” Nearby cars help prove his point; two vintage cars with New Jersey license plates occupy front spots. A bartender says that it’s often hard to find someone who is actually from Red Hook in the crowd.
But the Brooklyn Crab’s popularity is beginning to fade as winter approaches. The hotspot will soon close some of its areas, and many of its games and will transition inside to the indoor part of the restaurant. The Brooklyn Crab has not announced when it will begin closing the outdoor areas just yet, but it will likely be in the next few weeks according to a bartender. Nol noted that the restaurant has already seen dwindling numbers as summer winds down. “It can get busier than this,” he said. “Last weekend we had a lot more people.”