As we’re sure you know, last night’s episode of Gossip Girl featured a somewhat convoluted plot involving Vanessa, Chuck,
Serena Blair, a sexy Cruel Intentions-style bet, and Boerum Hill’s well-loved Brooklyn Inn, which Vanessa was trying to save from destruction by getting it landmark status. While the bar’s divey, old-school qualities seem to have been a bit, shall we say, exaggerated for the purposes of the show (remember: they do have some viewers outside of New York!), we confirmed via the gentleman answering the phone over there that the episode was, in fact, shot on location. Had he enjoyed seeing his workplace on the small screen? "Oh, I don’t watch television," he replied before directing us to manager Jason Furlani, who didn’t pick up.
We can’t say we were totally surprised, as the Brooklyn Inn has had a somewhat chilly relationship with the blogosphere since April 2007, when Eater began looking into rumors that they were closing. Lost City claimed an employee told them, "There’s more to the story than a simple closure. The bartendress told me the tavern is not closing, but is changing hands. What’s not clear is if the new owners plan to keep the Brooklyn Inn the Brooklyn Inn, or keep it going as a bar under a different name, or convert the whole thing into a different business, such as a bistro. (Ugh.) The woman also said the two owners are trying to make sure the bar isn’t closed for the period of time during the handover. It’s all pretty murky."
A few days later, tipsters insisted that, while the bar would indeed be changing hands (the same people responsible for the Lower East Side’s Magician were taking over, the rumor went), regulars wouldn’t have anything more to fear than a couple changes to the drink specials.
And then came a a reassuring email from newly installed manager Mr. Furlani saying, in part:
"Okay – here’s the bottom line: the Brooklyn Inn is going to maintain EXACTLY the same vibe as it did before. How do I know?…For almost thirteen years I’ve worked for the individuals who NOW own/operate the Brooklyn Inn (as well as own the building it’s housed in – that part was correct) and – for the record – they have NO PLANS to turn it into anything other than what it is… the Broooklyn Inn….In fact – the only things that ARE being done to the space is a function of making it better/more comfortable for you – the Brooklynites that hang there. The NEW owners (who – by-the-by – currently have three very popular bars in the city, the oldest being twenty-five years old) LOVE the Brooklyn Inn. They are making capitol improvements – like having the tap lines cleaned on a regular basis (and NO – they weren’t before…) the bathrooms redone/cleaned up (and if you REALLY hang there you KNOW it needs it) and some pluming issues that are really boring to discuss. Anyone has a problem with any of that – feel free to call us on it."
That seemed to be the end of the story, but a few months later, regulars wrote in to complain about the presence of bar nuts (they apparently created "a frat-boy alehouse vibe"), the removal of a stained-glass window, and ugly new air conditioners. What exactly was the new management up to?, wondered the handful of semi-obsessed, slightly paranoid regulars/food blog readers.
Fed up with the speculation, Mr. Furlani fired off a second–much less friendly–email:
Plainly and collectively the answer is clearly "NO."
We have no plans to put in food, central air conditioning is not only energy efficient but makes the room more comfortable, and the "regulars" are very fond of the new management AND the ‘beer nuts’.
Here’s a news-flash, jackass – yes, we raised some prices (ONLY on premium liquor – not beer, wine, or otherwise) to standards comparable with the NEIGHBORHOOD – not Manhattan or the "gastro-pub" frat-boy places some individuals speculated the place would be. Yes, we are looking for more creative ways to provide seating WITHOUT removing the pool table. And finally, YES, we’re fucking there to stay. And I gotta tell you, as a long-time Brooklynite myself – all this bullshit from the faceless bloggers is simply proof that YOU ain’t about Brooklyn – you’re bullshit. So fuck off. If "you" or anyone doesn’t like something about the Inn – here’s a little free advice… DON’T FUCKING DRINK THERE!
I have – and will AGAIN, maintain – that if you want to know what’s going on with the Inn, come on down and ask ME. I’m there. I’ll gladly answer any and all questions that you (or the dumb-ass conspiracy geek that keeps blindly posting this putrid bunk) may want to know. Come on down and talk to me face-to-face…but we all know – that ain’t gonna happen.
Jason Furlani, Manager
The Brooklyn Inn
Thus chastened, Eater removed themselves from the fray. Weeks later, Gothamist took up the cause, walking over to Bergen and Hoyt where they found everything pretty much intact: "And here it is: They have snacks. The bathroom looks a little cleaner…oh, and there is a new register. They got rid of the ornate old one. The new one is white. Which might confound those who were waiting for a bistro. For now, at least, it seems safe. The front is still lined with the massive wall of mirrors. The back still has the pool table. Everything that made this such a beloved bar is still here."
So, there’s the real story–the kind of story that, sadly, you’ll never see on TV.