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East Coast Meets California Cool at Pacific Standard

On a recent Saturday afternoon, a Brooklynite acclimating two Californian guests to her neighborhood shepherded them to the nearest thing to their San Francisco address, a West Coast-themed bar. She ordered them ciders, gold as the Golden State, that turned out to be from upstate. Then the Brooklynite ordered chips and salsa from an unspecified Zip Code (but one to which she would like to relocate, if only for better access to this salsa), from a bartender from New Jersey, under a TV playing a tennis match in Queens. The Californians, sure, were California cool about any slips in verisimilitude. It was the New Yorker who was predictably uptight: she would give her guests their California, even if they, frankly, did not want it. (What the Californians actually wanted was another upstate cider.) She ordered a sure bet, an It’s-It ice-cream sandwich, from San Francisco. The troupe cut one into three (both coasts, regrettably, are conscientious about sugar intake). “What even is California?” one of the Californians asked. “What is a California vibe?” the other asked. The Brooklynite posed the question to John and Jon, the Berkeley roommates who opened Pacific Standard more than a decade ago, after moving to New York and, as John put it, being “freaked out by the New York bar scene”—by which he meant bad beer, metallic finishings, posturing patrons. So the friends built a chill bar with craft beer and wood panelling, a place that, these days, sounds a lot like a standard Brooklyn bar. Some years ago, as his West Coast novelty became an East Coast convention, John met a woman on his shift, married her, and moved back West. But Jon is still here. “I’ve lived in New York longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life now,” he said. “We’re a neighborhood fixture.” (82 4th Ave., Brooklyn. 718-858-1951.) ♦

ViaNewYorker