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Brooklyn's Best Bars Celebrated in Silkscreen Series by Local Artist

By Nikhita Venugopal | November 8, 2013 8:50am
 Artist John Tebeau has created a silkscreen collection featuring six of Brooklyn's popular bars.
'Great Good Places'
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RED HOOK — When John Tebeau walks into a bar, he’s looking for a home away from home.

Since moving to Brooklyn eight years ago, Tebeau has patronized about 75 bars in the borough from Coney Island watering holes to Smith Street lounges, he said.

But from the long list of contenders, Tebeau chose six bars to celebrate as some of Brooklyn’s best hangouts in his new series of silkscreen prints called “Great Good Places,” which will debut at Red Hook’s Fort Defiance on Nov. 13.

In New York, tiny, cramped apartments often leave locals relying on nearby eateries for entertaining, hanging out with friends or even reading a book and working, said Tebeau.

“Coffee houses and bars and restaurants are sort of an extension of your living space,” he said.

Tebeau drew each of the six taverns – namely Fort Defiance, Sunny’s Bar, the Brooklyn Inn, Bar Great Harry, The Gate and Mugs Alehouse – and then prepared them for silk screening. Each piece is hand-printed on 100 percent heavyweight cotton fiber, he said.

Atmosphere, like the sound, smell and feel of a bar, add to its character, as does a welcoming bartender, good music and the regular drinkers, he said.

And each bar also has its own charm like Sunny’s long history in Red Hook or the chance for conversation at Carroll Gardens’ Bar Great Harry, which doesn’t have a television.

“It’s what I call a talking bar,” said Tebeau, who works at KC Arts in Cobble Hill.

Tebeau is already looking for new places to add to the collection like Lulu’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Ice House in Red Hook and Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg.

And as he expands the collection, Tebeau is hoping to receive suggestions from local drinkers on bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, he said.

“It’s New York. I haven’t scratched the surface,” he said.

“Great Good Places” will host an opening reception on Nov. 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Fort Defiance (365 Van Brunt St.). The night will feature live music from the three-piece blues act Stevie from St. Lou. Framed and unframed prints will be sold at the reception and $10 from each sale will be donated to the Red Hook Initiative.