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THE LATE SHIFT
By Ian Smith
The Fifth Estate successfully melds the old and the new into something unequivocally unique.
The Fifth Estate, one of Park Slope’s best up-and-coming bars, is an eclectic juxtaposition of styles and influences.
Though, truth be told, that may be putting it mildly.
In the words of owner Peter Lederman, it is a “land of misfit toys,” a place that caters to the outcasts, the in-betweeners.
Lederman’s love of bar culture, both classic and modern, is apparent in every square foot of Fifth Estate’s not-inconsiderable space. The front of the house pays homage to the bygone era of the Manhattan cocktail lounge—deep reds and dark browns contrasting with stark whites, all cast in a warm, romantic glow.
Move to the back, though, and the elegant fixtures all but disappear, replaced with the black-on-black leather and lacquer of the modern dive. The picture is completed with an elevated stage, DJ booth and overhead projector showing obscure monochromatic films from the 70s.
“I’ve always been in love with classic cocktail making and the great, historic bars from around the world,” said Lederman, “but then I was exposed to Brooklyn’s awesome neighborhood culture as well, and wanted to combine the two."
The result is a bar that, in just eight short months, has created for itself an intensely devoted following by offering a little bit of something to just about everyone.
Those with an interest in live music will find that Fifth Estate boasts an impressive array of near-nightly bookings, ranging from the ambient, freeform jazz of Boom Clique (Friday's regular house band), to showcases organized by Gowanus’ King Killer Studios. Filling in the gaps are a variety of DJs, spinning rock, swing, jazz and everything in between.
For the more libatiously-minded, the bar offers a number of signature and seasonal cocktails, including a belly-warming Spiked Cider (with either whisky or rum) and an impressive take on the Hemingway daiquiri. New York breweries are featured exclusively in the Estate’s draft selection, with the Ommegang Witte and the Ithaca Flower Power IPA seeming to draw particularly broad smiles.
Quite simply, the Fifth Estate is a place that knows exactly what it wants to be, which is to say, more than just a neighborhood bar. More accurately, the Fifth Estate aspires to be a lounge, a gathering place that is not just functional, but also sexy and stylish, with a hint of sophistication.
There aren’t many bars in Park Slope as ambitious as this place, nor many bar owners willing to embrace the (admittedly strange) combination of timeless throwback and modern grit.
The Fifth Estate has made this enviable goal its mission, and has thus far hit every nail square on the head. Let's hope it can keep it up.