Longtime Park Slope Bar Wants to 'Secede' from Neighborhood
PARK SLOPE — A longtime local watering hole says it wants to quit Park Slope cold turkey.
A bartender at Jackie's Fifth Amendment has started an online petition to "secede" from the neighborhood because its residents are too "disdainful" of the no-frills bar.
The petition, first reported by F'd in Park Slope, aims to collect 25,000 signatures in support of Jackie's bid for freedom from a neighborhood whose residents seem increasingly dismissive of the bar's humble charms, said bartender Rebecca McCarthy.
McCarthy, 23, said she started the campaign as a joke after she read about an effort by East Williamsburg residents to secede from Williamsburg.
"I figured we had a much better case for seccession," said McCarthy, who's worked at Jackie's for a year.
The petition reads: "Due to the changing nature of the neighborhood and the fact that we are beginning to take offense when potential customers come into the bar, look around them with disdain, and leave, immediately, we the people of Jackie's 5th Amendment at 404 5th Avenue request the permission of the United States Government to peacefully secede from Park Slope and become our own neighborhood, to be tentatively known as 'Brooklyn.'"
Jackie's is one of the few remaining dive bars in the neighborhood, and drinkers who wander in looking for high-priced artisanal cocktails poured by "mixologists" will be disappointed. The bar's specialty is a $10 ice-filled bucket of six "ponies," or 7-ounce domestic beers.
"The neighborhood is changing," McCarthy said. "People walk in and they're like, ‘Oh no, not this.' We don’t even have vermouth. We couldn’t make martinis if we tried."
Jackie's is on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street, where there's been a bar, under various names and owners, for 75 years, said Linda, the bartender on duty Tuesday afternoon.
Jackie's is known for being open most hours of the day, even in the morning, which Linda said provides a drinking spot for people on overnight shifts who want to unwind with a beer after work.
Linda, who declined to give her last name, was unaware of McCarthy's plot to form a breakaway republic, but she quickly guessed her fellow barkeep's motivation.
"It has to do with the yuppie invasion," she said.
The wisecracking bartender, who was sporting lavender painted fingernails, first started working at Jackie's about 1995. As she remembers it, Park Slope in those days was still full of shuttered storefronts and burned-out buildings. It wasn't safe for women to walk through the park on Third Street and Fifth Avenue, even during the day. Today the park is home to a state-of-the art playground.
Linda said she used to know most of the people who walked by on the sidewalk in front of Jackie's plate-glass windows, but not anymore — they're mostly gone because they were priced out of the neighborhood, she said. But she noted that she still knows 95 percent of the customers at Jackie's, either by sight or by nicknames like "Bobby 17th Street."
Though strollers and mommy meet-ups are an increasingly common sight at other Park Slope bars, Linda says she forbids strollers and once kicked a woman out of Jackie's after she complained that the jukebox was "hurting her baby's ears."
Jackie's regular Mark McFarland, 50, said parents with children generally steer clear of the pub.
"They don't come in," McFarland said. "They know better. It kind of hurts your kid's future when a 300-pound drunk falls on you," he joked, adding that patrons don't often tumble off their barstools.
McFarland, who visits Jackie's four of five times a week to sip on vodka and soda, said there would always be a need for bars like Jackie's, even as the neighborhood changes.
"There are some people that like it for the same reasons that other people don't like it," McFarland said. "You're not going to get hassled, the drinks are relatively inexpensive, it's relatively quiet, and there aren't too many mooks."