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We tip-toed over junkies sprawled out on the sidewalk like children stepping over friends at a sleepover. This sleepover, though, involves heroin and bolus. Lisa, like many something Frankfurters, is witnessing the transformation of a heroin-haven into a heroin-haven-with-some-cool-shit. Opened in , the wooden-trimmed, black, paint-splattered hole-in-the-wall has become a gathering spot for locals in dire need of craft beer and a familiar face. Upstairs is the hotel, cleverly decorated with denim and, at least in one of the rooms, a framed photograph of bare-chested, porn legend Ron Jeremy.
On the roof is a kitschy bar reminiscent of industrial Brooklyn. The basement is an Andy Warhol-inspired art and music studio, designed for local artisans, touring musicians, or, if you can convince the owners better than my own attempts, a drug-fueled romp like something out of The Factory.
Stepping out of Chez Ima feels eerily like leaving a warm house and walking to your car on a cold, winter night. You exit, immediately regret the decision, and run to safety. The bar was packed standing-room-only and resembled something between a dimly lit underground NYC bar and a Hungarian cave.
In my case, it was something whiskey-based. The whole experience felt like something out of Portlandia crossed with Boardwalk Empire. Seemingly not welcome: Most locals.
Across the from Kinly Bar is Pik Dame , one of the few remaining locales where the gentrifiers and the junkies collide. But when the DJ stops playing and the bars close, normalcy returns—the reality that these streets inhabit the lost, the mad and the coked out.