EAST WILLIAMSBURG — After tending bar all over the city, Eric Wygant knew he wanted to open a cafe in East Williamsburg — but he second-guessed the move as soon as he set up shop by the Montrose L station.
"When we first moved here with Boulevard, the street was like a ghost town," recalled Wygant, 42, of the Bushwick Avenue block when he opened in 2008. "There were days when I'd sit outside and see no one, and think, what did I get myself into?"
But Wygant's investment in the strip has proven prescient. He's developed a steady group of regulars, supplemented by an influx of new residents.
A few blocks away, the warehouse Danbro Studios now draws musicians to the area for its practice spaces, and will soon house a giant beer hall and music venue as well.
Spurred by the neighborhood's constant growth, Wygant and his wife Ester Luteranoea are about to invest even further — with a classy bar next door to his Boulevard Cafe.
Post No Bills, an intimate spot with vintage concert handbills tacked to intricate tin walls, looks to spice up the current landscape of dives and metal bars when it opens in a few weeks.
Patrons will be able sip classic cocktails, munch on snacks like chicken-meatball sliders and cheese plates, and soon, Wygant said, they'll be able sit in the back patio-in-progress.
"It's going to be different from anywhere around here," said Wygant. "But it's not going to be pretentious. This is for everybody."
Post No Bills will have an "industrial" theme in keeping with the neighborhood vibe, Wygant said.
The 850-square-foot space will feature a zinc bar, the owner said.
"The place was destroyed when we got it," said Luteranoea, 30, of the building, which like much of the block, had been vacant.
Wygant said he welcomes the idea of the neighborhood developing further.
"I've been waiting on people to take chances in this neighborhood," he said. "The more the merrier, that's only going to help attract people."
Claude Barnes, a barista at Boulevard who will be bartending at Post No Bills, believes the spot will be "classy and upbeat" and appeal to young artists living in the nearby McKibbin Lofts as well as local "successful creative minds who want something more upscale" than the current offerings.
"This area has been lacking something upscale," Barnes said.
Wygant maintained his bar would not specifically be "upscale," and he said drinks would be reasonably priced between $5 and $10.
Whatever the description, many local residents are looking forward to the new nightspot.
David Grossman, a local resident and freelance writer, said he only knew of dives in close proximity, and that he'd be happy to have a new option in the neighborhood.
"It's a warm atmosphere and they're very welcoming of new people," said Grossman, 25, of Boulevard. "I'd think that atmosphere would translate over to their bar."
Alex Saidi, who owns the Easy Pass Deli and Bushwick Pita Palace down the block from Post No Bills, said he hoped the bar would bring more business to his shops.
Saidi, 40, said that in the past several years, the developments on the strip have brought more attention to the area, making it safer.
"If it's not going to bring the wrong crowd, it'll be good," said Saidi of the future watering hole. "You know, if it's going to be quiet...You don't want drunk young kids fighting. I don't think it'll be like that."