Anyone walking north from Williamsburg into Greenpoint has probably seen the Abbey. You might not have noticed it, since it looks unobtrusive: just a red awning with only a few patrons hanging around underneath. But it’s been there, on Driggs between North 7th and 8th, for a long time. The Abbey predates not only most of the bars in the vicinity but also the current incarnation of the neighborhood.
Inside, there’s nothing too Abbey-like about it. No Gregorian chants or illuminated letters. The stained-glass windows on the side of the bar are outshone by the neon pink Christmas lights, illuminating the dank, dark wood-paneled interior. On an average weekday night, this place is half-full of regulars and locals congregating in handfuls to take the Abbey up on its $4 white wine drink specials. Bowls of popcorn make their way around the room, and although some people asked us to move so they could play the Big Buck Hunter arcade game, they asked politely.
The Abbey is just kind of classic and comforting; you have to wonder if it will stay in Williamsburg another 10 or 20 years. Will the neighborhood 20-somethings in 2028 play Big Buck Hunter the same way 2008 bar-goers play Asteroids down the street at Barcade? Will some future bar reviewer mention how cheap their white wine is at $10 a glass? Will dejected voters gather here to boo the second term of President Palin the same way elated ones were here to cheer Obama? We will just have to wait and see. But with the current low key and pleasant atmosphere, there doesn’t seem to be anything holding the Abbey back from outlasting us all, perhaps surviving into some crazy far-off future, when the bar will be filled with replicants and holograms, and Big Buck Hunter is preserved behind glass like an ancient artifact.
536 Driggs Ave. (between N. 7th & N. 8th)