The Slope’s Most Cursed Corner?

The question of whether the corner of President and 5th is just bad luck for restaurants arises on a Brooklynian thread about the shuttering of Playa and Cabana Bar, which opened a little over a year ago in that location. Prior to that, the space briefly hosted three other eateries: Night & Day, Lookout Hill, and Biscuit BBQ. The closing of Playa, though, seems sorta odd, as it did much steadier business than the three places that preceded it. A source close to the restaurant gives the following account of Playa’s shuttering: The guy who ran the three businesses before Playa was brought in as a partner on the new venture because he owned the space’s liquor license. However, he’s now in a legal dispute with the landlord and pulled out of his partnership in Playa, taking the liquor license with him. Playa couldn’t turn a profit without the booze license, hence the closing. There’s probably a lot different takes on why it closed, but that’s one of them. In any event, what would you like to see go into the space next? GMAP

94 Comment

  • im going to be honest, im shocked by the closing of this. i pass this place ALL the time and honestly it was packed quite often. it always kinda smelled heavily of bleach tho. (had a drink there twice, in the back).


  • quote:
    In any event, what would you like to see go into the space next?

    an old school bodega. (im being serious). i live right around there and it’s annoying to have to walk all the way to Union and 4th avenue to get cheap 40s and cheap cigs.


  • How about a really good, reasonably priced curry house?

  • It makes sense that the pulling of the liquor license meant the end of this restaurant. The side bar area and outdoor seating were perfect for drinking sangria and hanging out, but to be brutally honest, the food was inedible. I found it so strange that these were the same owners of Barrio, where the food is really good. This is probably why you could stroll by at brunch, and the place only had 2 or 3 tables filled (despite unlimited sangria) and other places with less charm on the same block were packed.

  • that sounds good arkady. but there are just too many food establishments around there. i heard the indian places in the area are pretty bad, is that true? i love indian food but have never tried any out in park slope.


  • Tiptoe,

    Not only do they run Barrio, but also Calle Ocho on the Upper West Side, which is fantastic. So yes, it’s shocking that this place was so bad. But it was.

    I found the decor at Playa to be incredibly tacky also. A real turn off.

    Someone on the Brooklynian thread mentioned a good BBQ place a la Fette Sau.

  • The Indian food, before the opening of Balluci’s, was just awful in the Slope. Balluchi’s is OK, but there is still something to be desired.

    As for what should go in there? How about the next Tex-Mex restaurant in the Slope? There aren’t too many of those … 😉

  • Whatever happened, it must be a bad breakup – cause I walked by it last night and the location is being guarded by a security guard (poor guy was just standing in front of the place).

    I’d like to see it turned into a large Fruit/veg Store – (like the one on Court and Pacific- i think)

  • A Stumptown Coffee shop would make bank in that spot.

  • I second the call for a good, old-fashioned American steak house. When I want a good steak or prime rib and want to stay in Brooklyn, I have to go to Bay Ridge.

  • The guy sounds like an ideal business partner. Taking his liquor license and going home!

    I’d like to see a steakhouse, myself.

    A butcher would be OK, too.

    Or a nail salon…

  • Further clarification: I go to Bay Ridge for a good steak house when I don’t feel like taking a mortgage out on my house to go out to eat (see: Pete Luger’s).

  • quote:
    Someone on the Brooklynian thread mentioned a good BBQ place a la Fette Sau.

    gack, how can you stand the people on that site? ALL they do is whine and trash talk the people who live in their neighborhoods and their neighbors. whiniest group of people EVER. i cant read a single thread there without wanting to B-Slap 99 percent of the posters so i no longer put myself thru the torture of reading there.


  • “A Butcher”????

    M&S Pork Store is two blocks up

    There once was a steak house (of sorts) in the Moutarde space….Real Steakhouses need ‘suits’ and there are few working in Park Slope.

    But for an amazing Steak go to Convivium, their Rib Eye is amazing IMHO (2nd best steak in the city)

    *******Bill Thompson is an empty suit********

  • I’ll third the steakhouse. Yum. Are there any good steaks in the slope now? I’ve had steak once at Blue Ribbon. It was good, but not spectacular.

  • Yeah, already a butcher on 5th.

    Rob, I totally agree with you…the folks on Brooklynian make me hate Park Slope most of the time.

  • benson – i just moved down to bay ridge, where can I find a good steak therE? YUM!!!

  • BOD;

    Chadwicks, on 3rd Ave and about 88th Street. On Saturday night they have a Prime Rib/Beef Wellington special that is to die for!!

  • “He took his liquor license and went home”
    Was their partner Jon Gosselin?

  • One thing the area definately needs – a full service spa.

  • “full service” – like in happy endings???

    *******Bill Thompson corrupted the Comptrollers Office*******

  • benson – thank you, thank you!

  • 1) good liquor store ( I hate red, white and bubbly)
    2) pharmacy ( not one on 5th within miles)

  • I concur on Pharmacy – although I am hoping for a Duane Reede to open on 4th


  • You may recall Western Beef, which recently closed? There was never a problem with TWO butchers along 5th Avenue. made for better pricing.

  • Yeah, already a butcher on 5th.

    Rob, I totally agree with you…the folks on Brooklynian make me hate Park Slope most of the time.

    Wow. I hope it wasn’t something I said…

  • What’s the mater w RW&B? Certainly the best wine store in the Slope. But there’s a smaller one near 5th Street that recently opened. And there’s a very nice friendly local pharmacy on 5th ave & 7th Street (maybe 8th street)

    Yeah, Frank & Tony’s did a nice steak before Moustard. Guess there are too many vegans around.

  • Chicken and Waffles.
    psst, Roscoe’s, are you listening?

  • Never mind steak…gimme an Amy Ruths! So. Tired. Of. Heading. To. Manhattan!

  • A duane reade/cvs/rite aid/walgreens would do well there.

    Another liquor store wouldn’t hurt, but there is a good/cheap liquor store on sterling/5th. If you want liquor or wine less than $15 you should be fine there.

  • Maybe the space should go back to its South Brooklyn roots and become a pizza joint, social club, some sort of front operation, you name it.

  • Red White and Bubbly is nearby but their liquor selection tends towards high end.

    Getting back to a previous day’s conversation, an Indian place is about all I can think of.

    rob, isn’t the fauxdega on 5th and Pres. good enough?

  • There are at least 4 pharmacies I can think of off the top of my head easily within a mile. Bodega is actually a really good idea. Personally, I would love to see an EMS type outdoor store somewhere around, but that probably isn’t the space for it.

  • “There are at least 4 pharmacies I can think of off the top of my head easily within a mile”

    A mile is way too far to go…

    You’ve got duane reade on flatbush/6th, walgreens on atlantic/3rd (I think), cvs on 9th street btwn 5th/6th, and rite aid on 7th ave and 5th street.

    All pretty big walk from this spot — especially if you are sick or something.

  • “Getting back to a previous day’s conversation, an Indian place is about all I can think of.”

    There was an Indian place immediately next door to Playa which just closed and became Scaredy Cat.

    There is a wine store on 5th Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Street…very nice place.

    Re: Pharmacies: There is Neergard on 7th Avenue and Carroll, and Prospect Pharmacy at Union and 7th, which is literally just 2 avenue blocks up the hill from here and a block or two up. The Playa space is not nearly large enough for one of the big Duane Reade type places and almost every pharmacy I know delivers.

  • I agree with that. A smaller pharmacy would work.

    Outdoor store – intriguing.


    Here’s the wine shop on 5th which is really terrific…

  • Also another independent pharmacy on 1st & 7th & another Rite Aid on 10th & 5th as well as a CVS there. Please not a franchise drugstore on the corner of Pres & 5th! It’s an interesting building – doesn’t want a cookie-cutter anything.

  • Thank you Arkady.

    Anyone screaming for a chain Pharmacy on anything but 4th Avenue just made my shit list. :)

  • Also there is a bigger Neergard on 5th Ave and 9th/10th streets. Used to be open 24hrs – maybe it still is.

  • “A mile is way too far to go…

    You’ve got duane reade on flatbush/6th, walgreens on atlantic/3rd (I think), cvs on 9th street btwn 5th/6th, and rite aid on 7th ave and 5th street.

    All pretty big walk from this spot — especially if you are sick or something.”

    Most of the ones mentioned are within 0.4 miles of this corner, is that too far to go? Obviously it sucks walking when you are sick, but really, a pharmacy is about the very last thing I can think of that should go there (other than nail salon or mobile phone retailer)

    And I left out several, there is a new one at 2nd and 7th, which probably gets it down to about 0.3 miles….

  • We have this debate all the time – if you live on or South of 5th between Douglas and 3rd (which is probably 1000+people) – there is NO CONVENIENT DRUGSTORE. [Except for those people that may live on Union who can walk the 4 Ave blocks a bit more easily)

    I’m not lazy, I walk probably 20mi a week minimum but when I need to get a prescription filled, want some aspirin, imodium or shampoo – I dont want to have to go on a 20 minute hike, so ill end up buying some small package (except for the script) at an overpriced bodega until I can get to the drugstore.

    4th Ave is actually the perfect place for a Duane Reade type store (except none of the new buildings have retail and obviously the site guys for these chains are retarded or blind).

  • “when I need to get a prescription filled, want some aspirin, imodium or shampoo”

    They sell imodium and shampoo at Key Food and Associated and it’s cheaper than Duane Reade.

    If you need a prescription and can’t walk .4 miles, as I said…most of them deliver.

    I hear what you are saying, but a pharmacy would be almost as bad as a real estate office or bank in this location…we already have way too many.

  • Key Food is just as far – and Associated closes at 8 or 9 and is NOT cheaper.

    No in the area I mentioned we do not have too many drug stores – we actually have none.
    I cant figure out why this is even a debatable point, we have a bagel store every 6 blocks, a bodega every 3, and a sushi joint on every single block – a drugstore is a necessary staple in a neighborhood – and despite them all being Park Slope – Lower Park Slope is more or less a different neighborhood than 7th Ave or West of 9th.

    BTW I definitly do not think that this location (Playa) makes a good drugstore location. The perfect spot is along 4th (maybe where the florist was on the west side by the subway) or in the “big red Warehouse” between 1st and 2nd.

  • And just as a side note…doesn’t one typically need to go to the doctor to get a prescription, anyway.

    So if I’m sick and can make it to the doc (walk, subway, cab) I usually stop on the way home to pick up the prescription needed. Otherwise I have it delivered.

  • Most overgrown business in PS? Eyeglasses.

  • No Duane Reade/Rite Aid/CVS etc on 5th Avenue please!!
    Thank you very much.

  • I know you all will hate this, but I’d love a mini Container Store. Organization items make me happy. Better than another faux dollar store, no? (what’s with that 99 cents or More or Less crap? You’re either a freakin’ dollar store or you aren’t!)

  • Hate on the chain pharmacies all you like, but one would absolutely succeed here or anywhere close by (4th ave would be fine).

    Would it be cool? Funky? Something to make you feel good about the neighborhood?

    No, probably not.

    Will it be more used by the community and last longer than a Thai/Peruvian/Austrian fusion tiki bar?


    Also, the whole “prescription” thing is a bit of a red herring. What makes duane reade, cvs, etc. great is that they are combination pharmacy, toiletries, dry goods, convenience store that can get very good pricing on merchandise and that are open long hours.

  • How about a pharmacy or better yet, a card store….there are so few card stores around…..

  • I don’t think anything is great about Duane Reade, CVS or Rite Aid.

    They are huge ugly chains which suck the life out of the independent stores and have horrible service.

    I’d much rather pay 50 cents extra for shampoo at Back to the Land and know that I’m supporting a great shop which has been around and supported Park Slope for years.

    I blame Duane Reade for putting Super Savers out of business, which has been a major loss for our part of 7th Avenue.

    Otherwise, I go to Neergard on 7th or Back to the Land or Pure Essentials on 2nd and 7th.

    There are entire blogs dedicated to Duane Reade sucking.

  • “There are entire blogs dedicated to Duane Reade sucking. ”

    and there are entire blogs dedicated to Obama being an Islamo fascist Kenyan – so what!

    Based on the #,traffic, revenue and profit of these type of stores (large pharmacies) clearly many many many people seem to find that they serve a need.

  • Like I said, hate them all you want, but one would sure as hell succeed here.

  • **
    “Shop at Duane Reade, Help Sarah Palin Get Elected in 2012 | Duane Reade is hoping to change your opinion of the crappiest drugstore chain in NYC. For the first time in a long time, the company is about to launch a big brand-advertising campaign as part of an effort to “make New Yorkers think of Duane Reade as the hometown favorite.” One little non-hometown detail that probably won’t be referenced in the cheeky new campaign: the fact the chain is owned by Oak Hill Capital, which is controlled by Robert M. Bass, a Texas billionaire and one of George Bush’s staunchest supporters during his two terms in office.” [NYT]

  • Seems if what you are saying is true about the last three failed businesses all having a relationship with said liquor license guy, I would dump him or buy him out. He may be carrying the curse…

    I would like to see a place with an outside fastfood-like drive up window for stroller service.

  • “Based on the #,traffic, revenue and profit of these type of stores (large pharmacies) clearly many many many people seem to find that they serve a need.”


    Despite (or because of?) its ubiquity, Duane Reade is deeply in debt, and last week its corporate parent, private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, shelled out $125 million to save Duane Reade from defaulting on its debt.

  • OK, I am declaring a new law, akin to Godwin’s law.

    Benson’s law claims that every long thread on Brownstoner eventually devolves into a Sarah Palin hatefest.

  • Holy Hyperbole Batman!!!!

    11217 – I believe Oak Hill Capital is based out of NYC (they definitely have a huge office here) and not for nothing but where do you think the name Duane Reede came from?

    We are kinda getting silly here and besides there is nothing better for liberal NY voters than if Sarah Palin gets the republican nod, so how about we say:

    Shop at Duane Reede and help the Democrats become a permenant majority…..

  • Sounds good to me, fsrg!

    And p.s. I didn’t write the above, I merely found it online…

  • ‘i love indian food but have never tried any out in park slope”

    Good idea. any exceptions, anyone? I crave it too

  • Argentinian meat palace…You’d need a liquor license though.

  • Baluchi’s on 5th Avenue is ok.

    Not stellar, but perfectly edible Indian.

  • A high quality arepa bar, like Caracas.

  • quote:
    rob, isn’t the fauxdega on 5th and Pres. good enough?

    no. they dont have 40 ounces of malt liquor. i only like OE and the one on 4th ave and president has them for 2.50. WOOT!


  • I know what should go here – a woman’s hair salon. Like Salon Bohemia in South Slope.

  • Infinitejester:

    Le Chandelier Salon is located on 5th between Carroll and Garfield and I understand is quite good for women.

    And Fez Salon is on 5th and 4th Street.

    Another really good one is Delilah Salon on 4th Ave and Union.

    I go to Vespa Salon in South Slope. Love that place.

  • a taco bell / KFC combo express would be AWESOME there as well!


  • lol, you go to a “salon”?


  • I had no idea there were so many so close.

  • My other thought was a Mac/PC store, but lukewarm about it. I don’t exactly fit the “discretionary income” demo so beats the hell out of me.

  • Pizza joint – No brick oven B.S., by the slice out of a Bario oven

  • What about a Sizzler?

  • Peperoncino is not one of those? They try to sell you pasta dishes now instead of pizza which is what they first attracted me for. If you order a pizza, their faces fall.

  • i know there’s tons of balloon artists in park slope, how about a balloon animal / sculpture making workshop? for adults tho, no kids please.


  • A video arcade which stays open late night.

    Good for the kiddies during the day and the drunkies in the evening walking around barhopping on 5th…

  • totally on board with a video arcade, but they would definintely need to serve alcohol, i guess like barcade in williamsburg. it would be a perfect corner for that!!


  • More like drunkies in the daytime and the PS teens who haunt Starbucks and Tea Lounge on weekend nights. I just walked by Cafe Steinhof – well at 2 p.m. – and saw three men sitting outside at a table, drinking, empty glasses scattering the table.

  • I would be there every night, Rob!

    All they need to do is put in the machines and then watch the money fly in!

    And that side area where they had the bar might be good for a pool or skeeball area…

    It really would be fun on that corner.

  • LOL actually a bed bud exterminator would be perfect on that corner because that block has a MAD bedbug problem in a lot of the buildings. ive seen mattresses thrown out at least 4-5 times in the last year that were covered and spraypainted that they have bedbugs. plus people are always throwing out nasty furniture on the block.. this is the actual block between 4th and 5th avenue tho, i dont know about above 5th.


  • Too funny, Rob.

    You’re crackin’ me up today.

  • “but one would sure as hell succeed here.”

    ha, i love it! that’s the most delusional thing I have read all day. Would love to sit in on that pitch. “You could be the only pharmacy within 0.25 miles!!! And there are only 5 others within 0.4!”

  • But bc, look at the section of 5th Ave near 9th Street: At 5th and 10th is Rite Aid, 5th btwn 9& 10 on the same side of the street is the 24 hour Neergaard, 9th St. btwn 5th & 6th is CVS. All are constantly busy and doing just fine despite being within spitting distance of each other.

  • and there used to be one at 5th and 9th that shut down, and aren’t you supporting my point? whether they are always busy or not is anecdotal, and doesn’t show that another is needed.

  • The one that shut down was closed because the company was taken over by Rite Aid and it made no business sense to have 2 Rite Aids on the same corner. Not exactly supporting your point!

  • I looked at the area before in order to open a pharmacy. however, i was looking for another licensed pharmacist to cover some of the days with me. working 6 days a week 12 hours a day can burn you out quickly. I did not find any takers.
    Im a licensed pharmacist….if anyone know of another licensed pharmacist who would want to open in the area let me know.

  • “but where do you think the name Duane Reede came from?”

    Not sure about that one… Now Duane Reade, on the other hand, was named for it’s location at Duane and Reade… 😉

  • mmm korean fried chicken place…

  • I’m surprised bc the spot always looks kind of crowded.

    I, myself, would NEVER eat there bc it’s a disgusting rat hole. Seriously, the amount of rats that scamper around that restaurant once it becomes dark is revolting. Also, the sidewalk near the kitchen exit reaks of rotten dish water and nasty food slime.

    What about the Jalapeno spot opening where Delicious on the Slope used to be?!

    Why can’t people get it right on this block…