“If you ain’t first, you’re last.” – Ricky Bobby
Eric Hall, owner of Greenpoint Avenue’s Red Star Bar, took those words to heart this summer. Although being included in the Village Voice’s list of top ten sports bars in the city, Time Out New York’s top five and finishing second in New York Magazine’s contest, would thrill most bar owners, on August 30th, Hall closed Red Star to give his space a massive, $200,000 renovation in time for the NFL opener on Wednesday, September 5th. Among the changes: custom built furniture, 22 new TVs, a new sound and light system, a retooled menu, refinished floors and bar and fresh paint inside and outside the building.
“I don’t want to be one of the best. I want to be the best!” Hall said. “So I basically ran down all the articles and found anything that beat us out and went out and bought it.” First on Hall’s shopping list: bigger TVs and a lot more of them. He replaced the 42 inch screens behind the bar with 50 inch models, including four additional sets. Two more TVs were added to the restaurant, one to the staircase and one above the urinal in the men’s bathroom, “so you never have to miss a second of the game,” Hall said, adding proudly, “now there’s no seat in the house where you can see fewer than five screens.”
The new sound system, installed by Daryl Kral of DK/AV, with too many features to list, creates “sound zones” that allow patrons to listen to three different games at the same time based on where they are sitting in the bar. Other additions by Kral include new iPod docks in the walls, a “video game-like” touchscreen to control the entire audio-video setup, and a new lighting system that creates a ceiling wash using LED lights to change the color of the room.
Hall also added a touchscreen jukebox that converts into a photo booth, allowing customers to download pictures to their mobile devices and social media. “You can capture all your Red Star moments, right here,” Hall said pointing to the new machine. “Although some people may call it evidence,” he added with a smile.
Frequent Red Star diners will notice the subtle update in furniture. Hall tapped local metal fabricator Trevor Wade to create tables that don’t shake on Red Star’s 160 + year old floors. The timing couldn’t have been better, as Chef Iggy Kostov is offering up an overhauled menu with four new exotic wing flavors like bacon/cheddar and crisp curry wings with coriander cucumber dipping sauce, several new munchies such as fresh lump crab cakes and cheese and mushroom fondue and a full list of entrees. There are also some new dessert offerings, including warm chocolate lava cake (with homemade vanilla bean ice cream) and cinnamon sugar churro tots.
As anyone who has ever been involved in a renovation can tell you, these things rarely get done on time. Hall timed the completion of the work to coincide with the Giants-Cowboys NFL opener, planning to open the doors at 7:00PM, an hour before kickoff. At 8:00 a long line of restless fans lined Greenpoint Avenue anxiously waiting to get into the bar whose gates were still down. Hall managed to open up a few minutes later, keeping his promise that at the new Red Star no one would miss a minute of the game.
“For the people who come here for the sports, we gave them more. For the people who come here for something to eat, we gave them more too,” said Hall. “We covered all our bases to keep as many people as happy as possible.”
Red Star Bar
37 Greenpoint Avenue
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