Taking up space at the corner of Russell and Nassau Streets in Greenpoint, with views of McGolrick Park (not that its inhabitants care about views) is the Palace Cafe, one of the best old dives in the City and one that for 75 years has done a good job of staying out of the news.
Aiding its anonymity is the fact that there's no sign on the brown, cornerside, double doors. To further confuse folks, there is a sign—a full awning, in fact—that says Palace Cafe around the corner, leading to a door that is not the main entrance. Also befuddling is the joint's stubborn refusal to change its name, even though it hasn't served food as a restaurant in many years.
Those who do figure out that it's OK to go inside are in for a treat. The heavily-timbered room, ramshackle assortment of stools, cheap beers and huge horseshoe-shaped bar are mighty homey-making. It feels like the bar at an old Elks Lodge, or your uncle's basement den. One wants to linger forever. In my book, in has a place alongside the great old bars of Gotham.
This is my corner bar and is regularly called the Heavy Metal Bar by Williamsburg-area hipsters.