Life Cafe Blog

Archive for October 2011


Tuesdays at starting at 7pm we’re “featuring”  classic  drink specials relating to the featured event of the night!!


November 1stA wrap up for the baseball season

$2 BUD/BUD LIGHTS all night!!


November 8thBack in the saddle again



November 15thCome hang out with George C and a host of other!!



November 22ndTime for some higher learning



November 29thTake a fun trip to Chicago with the gang



See ya Tuesday!!

983 Dinner Specials-10.28-11.3




Served with tortilla chips


Served over mesclun salad and fradiablo sauce



Served with mashed potatoes and French beans


Topped with a garlic-chili sweet sauce and served with mixed vegetables and quinoa


With steamed broccoli, green peas in a chipotle cream sauce and topped with a fried chicken cutlet


With seasonal veggies, coconut milk, garlic, white wine over organic brown rice



With whipped cream

Try it with Dulce Amore’s vanilla gelato 2.25

 Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm


Balvenie 12yr Doublewood-Life Cafe 983

Hi, it’s the Beer Dude, Andy, bringing you tidings from the bar at Life Cafe 983 in scenic Bushwick, Brooklyn. If you haven’t heard, our Balvenie Scotch Tasting event has been rescheduled for Thursday, November 10th, from 8-10pm  at the Life Cafe 983 location.  Mark your calendar and get your taste butts over here. It’s gonna be a real treat.

Balvenie 12yr Doublewood

I promised you a bit of background on each of the scotches we’re tasting so here we go. The first is the 12 year Doublewood. Doublewood does not mean twice as much wood, or anything else inappropriate that some of you may be thinking.  It means that the whisky, while still maturing, was transferred from one kind of wooden barrel to another.  In this example, it starts off in traditional oak barrels that add smoothness to the whisky, and cherry casks that add some additional complexity.  Very smooth with a spicy kind of sweetness.  A very nice 12 year single malt. This means you’ll be doubly happy!

If you can’t wait for Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm to get a taste, stop on by and see me, Thursday through Sunday nights. We’ve got a full line up of unique Scotches for you to choose from. All “scotch” is not the same. Scotch whiskeys are as varied as the places from which they originate. I’d love to met you so we can talk more Scotch. It’s what I love to do.

Loaner kilts available. Forget Halloween scary ghosts and ghouls; there is absolutely nothing scarier than looking up a Scotsman’s kilt.

Andy McMills




Jonathan Larson Bench-East Village

By John Sunderland


Regulars to Life Café Bushwick may notice that there’s an elephant in the room, in the shape, well not of an actual elephant, but a large, wooden well-worn pew.  On it is an inscribed brass plate, which reads, “The Jonathan Larson Bench”.


So what’s the point of mentioning this, after all, we don’t write about bar stools, though several are still warm with amazing stories. No, we mention the arrival of the bench from our original East Village Café because we’re closed there at the moment. The building has to have remedial structural work done and whatever it is they will do and whenever they do it, we want the bench to be safe from harm.


Jonathan Larson Bench

Kath’s first husband, David, brought the bench from their hometown in Michigan to the original café in the East Village in 1982. It sat there in the exact same place until yesterday, October 26, 2011, during which time it was host to God knows how many geniuses and dreamers, lovers and dribblers. Then, awakened from it’s cozy rest, it was jumped on, pulled outside and U-Hauled over the Willy B Bridge and into the sweating, straining arms of our unfortunate staff who, man and woman, handled it into the café, much to the surprise of the customers, who were temporarily moved and piled into a corner, whilst the bench was placed in its new home.


Jonathan Larson's Bench in its new home

So, why the effort? Because the bench to many people is a quasi-sacred object. It was where Jonathan Larson, creator of the Broadway musical hit RENT, sat with his friends whilst crafting the show.


Life Café in the East Village was at the epicenter of the world that he describes in RENT and duly gets its place immortalized in the production as the café where the

characters meet and perform the showstopper, “La Vie Boehme”.


So that’s the story.  Sit on it, move your bum back and forth; there’s just a chance the bench sparks genius!


Nick Greenwald-Augustnots

Nick Greenwald. AUGUSTNOTS.

A Review


By John Sunderland


A pencil is a tool for the brain and drawing is a process of synthesis, a personally based balance of mapping and reactive emotion.  In Nick Greenwald’s hands, drawing instruments become tools of discovery. What we get to share are the graphic results of his searching.


Although the works on the Café wall this week are multi-media in execution – photo prints over-laid by marks, tears, burns, paint, collage, scratched and scorched – they’re all drawings.


For subject matter, if you want to call a person’s attention, use the human face as your muse. Here Nick uses faces like maps that he is both trying to read and explore at the same time. We are sensitive to our faces and read the faces of others all the time, so it’s fascinating when an artist explores the surface, even if, as in these images, the subjects are pretty much devoid of expression. But Nick’s not making portraits; I don’t see him attempting to go deeper into the mind of the subject at all. Rather, the works are about surface and effects and what he can do with them.


What’s to enjoy in this exhibition is a sense of the artist’s undiluted love of drawing. I bet he draws in his sleep, and during the day hangs out in art stores drooling over pencils, pens and markers.  It’s on that level, the enjoyment of drawing as discovery that we share in his journey.


And thank goodness someone is still drawing; all art begins with drawing. This age has largely turned its back on drawing as the most essential medium of expression and communication.  Today we have come to rely more and more on digitized tools to process the making of marks and thereby interrupt the natural human synthesis; from brain, through mind, to hand, to eye, to brain and mind of another.


Nick Greenwald-AUGUSTNOTS

There is nothing digitized here. Here is a man in love with making marks of his own, turning over the leaves of the jungle with his pencil. And, if he doesn’t give up on the search, he’s well on his way to becoming a maestro of his medium.


Come and enjoy another dish of brain-food and another terrific exhibit from the stable of emergent talent that is Hart Gallery 950.


From October 26 – November 3, 2011, at Life Café 983, Bushwick, Brooklyn


Beer Speak – Who’s Lucky?

Now Available at Life Cafe 983


Breckenridge Lucky U IPA

6.2% ABV


This is amazingly well balanced IPA has just the perfect amount of hoppiness to let you know the brewers were paying attention.  It is most certainly one of the more drinkable IPAs we’ve served here.  I would say it even rivals some session beers.  Perfect for when you are truly thirsty, you can pound down a six pack of these guys easily.

Note: I’m sorry to have to announce that our whiskey tasting event is moved two weeks ahead from this Saturday, October 22nd to Saturday, November 5th. All the better as that gives me more time to introduce you to the scotches we’ll be offering. So, keep the date and keep posted!

Art Life-Matt Brennan

Art Life


Matt Brennan

October 16 through October 23, 2011



Review by John Sunderland


Matt Brennan’s 9 illustrated pieces, artist #2 in the Gallery950 line-up for October and November at Life Café 983, Bushwick.



My first impression of Matt Brennan’s exhibit was, “Look! Some chap is skate boarding up our wall!”  That’s what you see first, skateboards minus wheels. And if that’s all you see, this show could be a yawn and something you might not investigate further. That would be a shame because Matt’s unique pieces are gems, the product of a fervent concentrated obsessive energy and inward seeking intelligence; well worth giving time to.

Apart from two of the six pieces, “Ghost” and “Lightning bolt,” which are somehow left of stage, the other seven pieces, all hung vertically, require close attention, very close attention.



Four of the pieces are on white board and the artwork is linear and incredibly detailed. Each of these has a theme and a suggestive title: “Cog,” “Navigator,” “Old One,” and my personal favorite title, “Astrosludge.” To arrive at the connection with the title, if there is one, is like looking at a tangle of fine string and wondering if it really makes a knot.



The other pieces, executed on boards minus skate wheels are in color and display the same intensity. But these designs are broader with figurative elements as though the boards have been tattooed by an expert accomplished at placing the design exactly where he wants it.


I am not going to attempt to explain the meaning of each piece with titles like “Grigleysmith” and “Possessed Lion.” The interpretation is up to the observer (and I reckon over a couple of beers, you’ll have several).



All in all, do take the time, peer over the heads of the diners this weekend and have a closer look. You will be greatly rewarded for your effort.


Thursday, November 10 @ Life Cafe 983 Balvenie Tasting Event

By Andy Mills, The Beer Dude.

Balvenie Scotch Tasting, Thursday, November 10th, 2011 from 8-10 pm.

Brooklyn has never been on the forefront of any movement at all that I’m aware of concerning the distillation of whiskey.  Fortunately, however, we Brooklynites don’t feel the same way about drinking it.  I’ve seen cocktail lists as well as ordered wholesale alcohol for establishments on both sides of the East River, and the most obvious thing that hit me was the fact that Brooklyn drinks whiskey.  I love Brooklyn.

Here at Life Café 983, we embrace this.  I called the Balvenie Distillery in Speyside, Scotland and they’ve agreed to jump onboard.  We’ve invited members of the distillery to the restaurant on Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm to help us throw a party to celebrate Brooklyn’s love of whiskey.  Swing through at 8 pm to catch the start.  It shouldn’t last much longer than 9 pm, so come early.  We’ll be featuring free tastes from various whiskies ranging from their 12-year single malt the whole way up to the 21-year.  It’s important not to miss this if you love whiskey.

Talking about whiskey, let’s consider longevity and the oldest lady on the street.  Life Café 983 has been around since 2002 making us one of the more mature restaurant/bars in the Bushwick/East Williamsburg area (if not the oldest).  However, imagine being in business since 1893.  That’s the year Balvenie bottled their first whisky. (Makes me feel really damn young.)  Like most Speyside whiskies, Balvenie can be described as being on the sweet and subtle side for a scotch, lacking the peaty characteristics of Highland and Islay whiskies.  Having said that, the surprising thing about drinking Balvenie whiskeys is the relation between the drinker and the scotch. It all comes down to personal taste and things can go in all kinds of directions from there.

Watch this glass! In the next day or two I’ll write more on the specific whiskies we’ll be pouring at the event. So study up. Knowledge enhances appreciation and enjoyment. Get ready for this Thursday, November 10 from 8-10pm.







With chorizo, corn, black beans and topped with

Sour cream and grated cheese





With Mushroom Bleu cheese sauce topped with fried onions

Served with mashed potatoes and French beans



Served with green salsa, Mexican rice and steamed broccoli



Stuffed with chick peas, beets, spinach and organic tofu

Served with organic brown rice





With whipped cream

Even better with Dulce Amore vanilla gelato 2.25



With a Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Try it with Dulce Amore’s caramel gelato 2.25


Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

The Beer Dude is Back Behind the Bar

Hi, this is Andy. You remember, The Beer Dude of Life Cafe 983. For years, I’ve been researching, choosing, ordering, serving, drinking, writing about and, last but not least, talking about the beers I love to serve here. I talked so much about beer that John Sunderland (our artist-in-residence and infamous creator of our Menu Picture Riddles) sketched me as I really am – a pint of beer with a nice frothy head. From that moment on, I became The Beer Dude.

Just over a year ago, Mark, my co-manager and “partner in crime” at Life 983, went over to the East Village Life Cafe to help out. My hands became full of managing other things far away from the bar. Well, Mark is happily back and I’m back where, I have to admit, I am most happy to be – running your ears off with ramblings about different varieties of hops, which kinds of yeasts leave the most desirable residual sugars, the way adding rye to an IPA recipe can … yeah, well, I can go on running. I’ll get into more of that in the next postings. I can’t help it – it’s the stuff I love.

I look forward to telling you about the exciting developments with the beer line-up we’re looking to introduce as well as some fun enhancements we’re planning with the rest of the boozies. Like, we’ve got a Scotch event coming up Saturday night, October 22nd. Before then, I’ll be writing about the character of each of the four new Scotches we’ll have in house so you’ll be better prepared to savor their differences.

Come on by to meet me and try the samples. I look forward to seeing you here on October 22nd. And before you get here, tune in to my blog for talk about Scotch.