Every bar gets its share of freaks, but the tiny one tucked into the corner of the foyer of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow is the only one that actually offers the opportunity to meet sword swallowers and insect eaters on break from their acts. Even the drink slinger behind the brightly painted corrugated steel bar is a pierced and tattooed oddity, so it’s a bit strange that the bottles available are fairly run-of-the-mill: Corona, Heineken, Brooklyn Lager, Budweiser, and Coors Light. (To get into the spirit here, order a 22-ounce Coney Island Lager, from New York’s own Shmaltz Brewing Company.) With Pez dispensers, plastic shellfish, a stack of 8-tracks, and an antique cash register jammed behind the bar for festive kitsch, this isn’t so much a place to sit and chill as it is a base for getting hammered enough to be able to stomach a man pounding a nail into his nose.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.