I was visiting Williamsburg, Brooklyn and on my search for a good place to drink I was recommended a place called The Levee. I headed to the address I was told with a couple of friends, went inside and liked the very run down feel of the place. Dirty walls, old bar, a jukebox, an arcade dino-hunt and a pool table where the things that this place contained. The atmosphere was very laid back, everyone was drinking PBR etc. After ordering a few drinks we got in a conversation with a two very friendly “artists” who were actually a punk rocker and a carpenter. After leaving the place I got the feeling that I had experienced one of the last vestiges of the thriving creative community that was Williamsburg ten years ago.

Later on my trip I met with a New Yorker who was very amused that I had gone to The Levee, he then continued to tell me the story of the spot “in the good old days” of the early 2000's. It turns out this place was originally called Kokies, a sketchy Puerto Rican speak-easy bar where you would have to knock and a person would check you weren’t a cop to gain entrance. Inside a very eclectic mix was going on. Junkies and hobos coexisted with the hipsters, talking and dancing salsa together, but this was far from being the most peculiar attraction of Kokies. In the back of the bar there was a curtain where you would go in. There you would then stick some money in a hole in the wall that would be taken by an unknown hand. In return you would get a small bag of coke. You read right, cocaine was sold at this infamous bar. Well now you can understand the eclectic mix, everyone was tuned in the drug, snorting lines in plain sight, right in the bar. It never closed and it was common for people to hold out there for days and days.

Kokies nowadays is something of an urban legend. It is rumored that Fischerspooner was formed there. After a good amount of years of providing people a place to do some bumps, Kokies was eventually closed.