What’s better than a silver anniversary? A quasquicentennial! Teddy’s, one of Brooklyn’s most iconic watering holes, will be celebrating both this weekend—the 125th anniversary of the original Williamsburg tavern’s opening, and their 25 years as a bar & grill, with the party kicking off on Thursday, October 18th.
“We’re happy to be celebrating 125 years in this beautiful, authentic tavern!” said co-owner Felice Kirby, who shares ownership of one of the oldest Victorian-era taverns in existence with husband Glenn Kirby and Lee Ornati. “The celebrations will a joyful reunion for our wonderful customers, neighbors, friends and anyone who was involved with Teddy’s.”
The four-day festival will feature live music, visits from community leaders and past employees, film screenings, art exhibits, and more, all reinforcing Teddy’s reputation as a community hub and music/arts venue. All events begin at 8pm.
On Thursday, a number of community activists and elected officials will stop by, including Borough President Marty Markowitz (“Mr. Brooklyn himself,” Kirby quipped.) and Steve Hindy, co-founder of Brooklyn Brewery. “We were first in the world to offer Brooklyn Brewery beer on tap, at a time when it was rare [for bars] to offer local craft beers,” said Kirby. For the occasion, Teddy’s will break out specialty bottles of beer.
The celebrations continue the next day. “Friday night’s event, ‘Shot at Teddy’s,’ will be dedicated to media,” said Kirby. “We’ll be showing scenes of movies and TV shows that have been shot at Teddy’s.” Films and TV shows include: King of New York, P.S. I Love You and episodes of Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, and more. “We’ll also be screening The Domino Effect,” said Kirby. “It’s a topical documentary about the closing of the Domino Factory made by Megan Sperry, a beloved employee here for many years.”
Saturday’s event, “Met at Teddy’s” will be their biggest and most poignant. “Whether you worked at Teddy’s before, or met your sweetheart here, we want you to come out and celebrate with us!” Kirby declared. “It’s a chance for everyone to say hello to each other.”
The event will also function as the opening reception for Ethan Pettit’s “When We Were Ancient: A History of the Williamsburg Scene,” which features archives from the neighborhood’s artistic scene in the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000s, including photos, zines, and posters. “Teddy’s has been a place for artists to congregate, including Ethan, who was an impresario here,” explained Kirby.
Expect to hear plenty of live music at Saturday’s event, keeping with Teddy’s tradition as a music venue. “It used to be unusual for bars to have local, indie bands playing, but Teddy’s always did this,” said Kirby. “We would have all the up-and-coming bands, and our jukebox would be full of CDs from local, independent bands.”
“We’re also about helping and giving back to the community,” she added, citing Teddy’s support in the creation of the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, the free lunches they once offered to blue-collar workers, and other initiatives. Kirby explained that Teddy’s wouldn’t still be going strong after all these years if it wasn’t for community support.
That, and some really good food. “We always make sure to use the highest quality ingredients. Sometimes our customers even ask us why we try so hard!” Kirby laughed. “We’re a business, so we’re about serving great food, drinks, and entertainment.” Kirby believes this is why Teddy’s has been able to reach such a broad demographic.
“We’re so glad to be celebrating our anniversary with, and thanking, our customers, the community activists and neighboring businesses that have made Greenpoint and Williamsburg such a hotspot for nightlife,” said Kirby. “[25 years ago], it was a scary time to start a new business. But together we’ve succeeded.”
For a full schedule of events and hours of operation, please visit www.teddyswilliamsburg.com
Teddy’s Bar & Grill
96 Berry Street