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Bergen Street Bar Vows to Be Affordable Neighborhood Watering Hole

By Rachel Holliday Smith | May 17, 2014 8:28am | Updated on May 19, 2014 8:28am
 Dane Risch, left, and Palmer Thompson-Moss, right, plan to open a bar at 1095 Bergen St. in November.
Dane Risch, left, and Palmer Thompson-Moss, right, plan to open a bar at 1095 Bergen St. in November.
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Palmer Thompson-Moss

CROWN HEIGHTS — A 870-square-foot, garage-like building at the corner of Bergen Street and Nostrand Avenue is set to become a neighborhood watering hole that its new owners hope to transform into a “mainstay” for locals.

Owners Palmer Thompson-Moss and Dane Risch bought 1095 Bergen St. last fall with the intention of turning the space into a bar by November. The two plan to keep the price point affordable so it can be “part of the neighborhood.”

“We’re going to do something that’s casual, but elegant,” said Thompson-Moss, 34, adding that the bar does not yet have a name, but the two are referring to the project as Bar Bertrand, a mix of the cross streets "Bergen" and "Nostrand."

"The basic philosophy is to offer great drinks with fresh ingredients while also offering lots of specials under five bucks," he added. “It’s all about striking that balance where we’re not going to alienate anybody, while still making it kind of rad.”

Plans to construct the bar were approved earlier this month by the Department of Buildings, according to records, and excavation work has already begun. Community Board 8 also gave the bar a thumbs up on May 8, approving a full liquor license. Now the license request will go before the State Liquor Authority for final approval.

The space will have 44 interior seats and will be open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, according to the application. The pair hopes to add sidewalk seating at the bar at a later date.

Thompson-Moss is a professional architect who rebuilt a nearby brownstone, where he’s lived for the past decade. Risch, 36, has worked in the restaurant and nightlife business for 15 years, managing Bubby’s in Tribeca and bartending at Botanica on Houston Street. Together, they believe they have the expertise to create a bar that fits the up-and-coming feel of their neighborhood.

Thompson-Moss said the space will be "light, airy and lush" with a view of the Walt Shemal Community Garden next door.

“I’m excited about the changes and I’m excited to be a part of it," he said.