Snacky in Williamsburg has closed after 18 years
North Brooklyn has lost more than a few long-running establishments over the last year, but this one personally hits hard. Williamsburg sake bar, restaurant and institution Snacky has closed after 18 years of dumplings and Zatoichi beer-and-shot specials.
When Snacky opened at 187 Grand St in the summer of 2002, Williamsburg was a very different place. Apartments were cheap, you could smoke pretty much anywhere, Kokies was still open, and Grand Street was also home to hipster havens Stinger Bar and Luxx. Even then, Snacky stood out thanks to owner Sandy Pei's sense of style and humor, with its shelves of robots, monsters, toys and other cool trinkets; dragon head on its back wall, art that included a much-loved octopus-vs-shark painting, and a TV that showed obscure anime, Asian cinema and kitschy TV series. Snacky's menu was equally funky, combining Chinese, Japanese and Korean with spins on American classics like pizza, burgers and hot dogs. There was no place quite like it.
Living around the corner when it opened, I was a Snacky customer from pretty much the start and now count Sandy among my best friends. I used to DJ there back in its more debaucherous early days, made dozens of mixes for their 6-disc CD player and then helped fill their iPod after that. Snacky used 180-gig scroll-wheel iPods right up to the end, which was part of its mid-'00s holdout vibe, that included no website or social media accounts, no wifi, and no delivery or takeout. I ended more nights there than not, and it remained a hangout for other neighborhood holdouts as the skyline changed. There were always new regulars, too. Snacky was the kind of place where you wanted to be a regular.
Unlike the closings of Enid's, Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern, The Abbey, and Mugs, the pandemic lockdown meant that there was no lead-up, no warning, no last hurrah. Maybe that was in Snacky style, too. But I wish I'd known the last night I was there, was the last night I'd be there.
Thanks to Sandy for keeping Snacky perfect for 18 years.