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Congress Bar

Weekends, as much as they are music to our ears, are the days in which we run that errand we were too tired/lazy/busy/terrified to do during the week, also known as grocery shopping.

So armed with lots of patience and the two girls, we head out to the different stores in the neighborhood with our final and tragic destination on mind: Atlantic Avenue Trader Joe’s.

Yes, anyone who has been at this location, knows that it is as scary as it sounds. Food offer is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, as it is in most stores of this chain, but, at the same time, it can be a mad house of people running into each other, shelves empty of what you came looking for, disheveled parents with that thousand-yard stare, kamikazes under the disguise of sweet little old ladies and just plain chaos everywhere. But then, where else in the neighborhood can you find good food at such a price? You sure pay the difference by (holding your) tears, sweat and breathing profoundly when you get there.

So after a grocery shopping session that usually resembles boot camp training, as a reward for having got out of it unscathed without either dropping the groceries on the cereal aisle and running away to the closest emotional refuge or without asking each other for a divorce, we treat ourselves to an iced cold pint on our way back home. Luckily for us, there is a fairly recent place that has it all: great drinks (very important), a beautiful decor, kid friendliness, a good happy hour and proximity to Trader Joe’s. What more can you ask for?

A couple of months ago the place of an old fruit stand on Court Street was replaced by Congress, a bar with beautiful high ceilings and great wall paper to go with the dark wood panels. When you go in, to your left, a long bar with a friendly bartender (ours is Rocco) that can either prepare you a sophisticated cocktail (a favorite: the Caesar Bloody Mary, garnished with shrimp and croutons) or serve you a happy hour pint of iced cold beer or a nice glass of wine, with those little Japanese wasabi mix snacks to go with your drink and conversation.

We have been there with the girls, who get their orange juice served in beautiful mason jar glasses topped with a slice of orange or a cherry, while we get a pint and recoup from our scarring grocery shopping experience. And I guess we are not the only ones who find refuge at this beautiful bar, as we always see families in the back: parents enjoying a drink and kids enjoying their juice; or groups of moms that get together with their babies. The back is not huge but ample enough to park a stroller in that way only New Yorkers know how to park vehicles: defying all possible laws of physics.

It also has a back room with high tables and bar stools, not that convenient if you come with your little ones, but super romantic if you decide to go on one of those (rare, in our case) date nights.

The bathroom is kind of tiny and a bit dark, but pretty clean, at least the times we have been there. Unfortunately, as it is not a place with kids in mind, it doesn’t have a changing table.

Congress is a cash only bar and they do have an ATM machine in the back by the bathroom.

So, even though this is a bar aimed for nice conversation and we wouldn’t want to ruin the sans kids crowd happy hour, it is kid friendly enough for that one drink you might need. And you know, no one would bat an eye if your kid is sitting quietly with your iPhone… Probably frowned upon by some, but then, they don’t do your grocery shopping.

208 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Monday – Thursday: 4:00pm – 2:00am
Friday – Sunday: 2:00pm – 2:00am