CROWN HEIGHTS — Though it won't officially open until this fall, the massive, Brooklyn Flea-inflected artisanal food court, events venue and creative workspace slated for 1000 Dean Street is already inspiring changes in its formerly sleepy section of Crown Heights.
"We think it’s going to be the next hot spot, that little nook we found," said Diana Mora, a creative strategist and one half of the partnership behind Friends and Lovers, an intimate bar and music venue with plans to open this fall on Classon Avenue between Pacific and Dean streets, just a few blocks from the project.
"The neighborhood needs music. Everybody crosses Classon on the way to Washington or Franklin. Not everyone’s going to want to be guzzling beer next to a bunch of dudes."
Beer-guzzling dudes aside, Mora and business partner Eric Sosa hope the venture at 641 Classon Ave. will offer residents a cozy alternative to what Mora called a tough, masculine bar scene, while filling a nightlife niche for live music.
"Music-wise, it's going to be eclectic," Sosa said. "Indie rock to electronic — we’re going to have indie nights, acoustic, soul. It’s going to cover a lot of genres and speak to a lot of people in the neighborhood, and we’re going to have a lot of Brooklyn bands as well."
Friends and Lovers isn't the first venue to invest in the area since the 1000 Dean Street project was announced last fall. Bushwick's 3rd Ward plans to open a test kitchen space in the building, and others have their eyes on the block.
"We’ll definitely leverage the relationship," Mora said of that space. "We’re a part of the community."
But for the Brooklyn-born music lover, the most important thing was finally having a cool place to boogie down in the neighborhood she'd come to love since moving in three years ago.
"I grew up dancing — we would go out in Brooklyn after church to my aunts house and everyone was playing drums and you’d put Celia Cruz on and everyone would start dancing," Mora said. "That’s what we did every Sunday. To not be surrounded by that is just crazy."