What it is: The Emerson transports you the moment you walk in to what they accurately describe as a glittering deco wonderland. Prepare to be confused about why you’ve never been there before.
Why we love it: This bar can accommodate any mood you are in, from a cheap beer and pool night to wine and an art show.
Who to bring: While you could always pop in on your own or with a friend, The Emerson is a spacious bar that allows you to bring in a large group.
What to order: Choose from any one of its 12 draft beers, we are partial to the currently listed Ithaca Flower Power IPA. You could also stop in for their Monday through Friday happy hour from 4-7pm and order one of their drafts or well drinks for $2 off.
Fun Fact: The bar hosts rotating nights for things like trivia, DJs, sports games, art openings, comedy, bingo and more.—Emily Berninger
What it is: Overwhelmingly more beer bar than beer store, the upscale spot is both in the middle of and far enough away from the hustle of Williamsburg’s trendier spots and bustle of Greenpoint’s city-like avenues. The venue focuses on (and succeeds at) bringing unique ales, lagers, lambics and everything in between from around the world into one friendly but smart neighborhood spot.
Why we love it: Where to begin? The beer selection is wider than you’d imagine, with a tap list of 16 drafts ranging from casual to connoisseur favorites with a few talked-about seasonals sprinkled in, a draft line of kombucha (which is, in fact alcoholic at a whopping 1.3 percent) and a bottle list so deep you won’t know where to begin (an 82 bottle mix of domestics and imports ranging from 12 oz to large format bottles).
Who to bring: Brunch goers who would be pleased with an unlimited beer brunch for $18 (every Sunday until 4); anyone who loves beer; anyone who likes cocktails; anyone willing to try the bartender’s inventive beer cocktails or one-of-a-kind Bloody Mary’s.
What to order: If you’re hungry, the soft pretzels are melt-in-your-mouth and can be paired with a variety of choice dipping sauces (the chipotle mayo is a winner). The pulled pork sandwich is big, moist and hard not to devour like a monster and the grilled cheese is pretty good, too. But the main goal should be to try a few of the 16 drafts and 82 bottles ranging from local and state-side favorites to selects you’ve never heard of from around the world. There is a beer and shot deal, but the bar keeps it quiet to keep from disturbing the loyal locals there to try some good beer.
Fun fact: One Stop has a card club, called the Beer Society, that rewards you for your loyal patronage and beer guzzling tendencies. If you’re really into the beer scene, get a card (free) and try to get through the select list of 40 bottles – you’ll get your name on a plaque on the wall, and if you’re really ambitious, you can continue on to phase two, which challenges you with a list of 20 large-format bottles. For that, the managing partner will take your prize down of the wall to the plaque making station in the basement and add gold bottle cap with a “II” insignia that he hand paints himself.—Cat Wolinski
What it is: A self-described as a café with a drinking problem.
Why we love it: The people that work there are super awesome. They make the place like stepping into a friend’s apartment only they make better food. It has been incredibly renovated to have a rather… I’m going to say it… rustic feel.
Who to Bring: It’s a chill enough place to stop by on your own, go in with a couple of friends or even bring the parents when in town (I did, and they were all like, woah, Brooklyn is so kewl).
What to Order: Their Skybowl with feta and bacon is pretty much my fav. They have a beer and a shot combo for $5 and some totally affordable, totally delicious cocktails.
Fun Fact: Every Friday, Skytown has a menu of homemade cheeses. Cheeses, that are homemade. Yes.—Emily Berninger
What it is: The Double Windsor is a mainstay in South Brooklyn, as famous for its beer selection (and growlers) as it is for its burgers. With a gorgeous long bar, spacious interior and table sections, it’s long been a great spot for anyone grabbing a drink after some quality time spent in Prospect Park, whether after a Celebrate Brooklyn concert or aninformal frisbee game in the Long Meadow.
Why we love it: Though it doesn’t have an outdoor area, there’s something that says “summer” about Double Windsor. It could be all those trips to try any of the 14 rotating craft beers on tap, or to grab some food after a concert at the bandshell, or Prospect Park in spitting distance from the front door. This is the kind of place you head over to for a couple rounds after a hard run with Team in Training, or just to get your day drink on, knowing you won’t have any issues getting through their food menu.
Who to bring: Anyone who made it down to the park to hang with you beforehand. Or really, any fun group of friends who may not all know each other. The Double Windsor has a fun “the more the merrier” vibe to it with a combination of ample long, communal tables with wait service and a good standing area.
What to order: The burger. It has a reputation that precedes it as just one of the more solid burgers in the area. And of course, the sriracha honey chicken wings are probably not a bad bet.
Fun fact: Double Windsor has a trivia night the first Monday of every month, with “boozy” prizes. Given that that they’re a bar, that’s a good sign you have a chance to try some of their quality beers for free. -Eric Silver
What it is: Neighborhood coffee shop by day, relaxed spot to get a beer by night, great place to sit and read the paper in the afternoon.
Why we love it: Welcoming locals and newcomers alike, Bedford Hill provides a relaxed atmosphere in a neighborhood increasingly seen as the next big thing. Of course, even with its relaxed vibe, the bar manages to squeeze the most out of its modest size, hosting the occasional reading or dance party. Plus, its 6pm to 10pm happy hour helpfully straddles the line between when most happy hours end and late night happy hours start.
Who to bring: The candlelit bar and tables, plus the small space that’s way more cozy than cramped, translates into a great place for a relaxed date. Especially when the windows get fogged up in the winter, and give the bar a sense of romantic isolation on a cold night.
What to order: Seasonal mixed drinks, like the Sake Toddy (sake, cider and tea) will do you right, as will the full sake selection itself. If you’re feeling peckish, grab a sandwich like the pork on black bread ($9), that piles pork, daikon, shredded carrots and hoisin between two perfectly toasted slices of black bread.
Fun fact: For those of you unafraid of cream cheese experimentation (some Team Brokelyn members are terrified of it), Bedford Hill has new “weekly schmear” concoctions every week, like roasted garlic mushroom.—Dave Colon
What is it: The snazzy, woody bar and restaurant is a pillar of “the new Smith Street,” as Marty Markowitz has called Cortelyou Road.
Why we love it: Rustic but not pig-farmy, trend-conscious but not precious, Castello Plan is highbrow modern Brooklyn but not achingly so. Castello’s wide-ranging menu has an adventurous side (gazpacho with white peach and seared squid) but doesn’t thumb its nose at updated classics (tagliatelle with tomato pesto and pecorino.)
Who to bring: Dates, for sure. Old friends you want to catch up with while feeling like you’ve done well for yourselves. Uninformed people who ignorantly equate your fantasy of moving to gorgeous Ditmas Park with words like “finished,” “suburbia” and “Queens?”
What to order: All-you-can eat mussels on Monday nights ($11), oysters for $1 on Saturday afternoons, the charcuterie platter any time. Choose from 16 beers including seven European craft labels. At daily happy hours from 4 to 8, beer is $4 and cocktails and wine are $6. Also, brunch.
Castello Plan Fun Facts: The name refers to Jacques Cortelyou’s first map of lower Manhattan. Delightful owners Ben Heemskerk and Mauri Weakley also own the richly curated Collyer Mansion home store on nearby Stratford Road and Lea, a new Italo-terranean place where Vox Pop used to be.—Faye Penn
What it is: This former auto shop has turned into an awesome funky bar with outdoor space that is indoor. Does that make sense? You may think not, but it is truth.
Why we love it: You can go there and get the best of both worlds having yourself an indoor/outdoor bar experience. We love their selection of drafts and the fact that the bartenders are always super chill.
Who to bring: The openness of the space lends itself to larger groups or events. However, we’ve popped in with a friend or two and had a total blast. Two pinball machines provide some fun while you’re working through the beer list.
What to order: Grab a pint of the rotating cask beer.
Fun Fact: Mission Dolores loves to update their 20 taps and one cask beer regularly. Be sure to follow their blog in order to monitor when your favorites are coming out.—Emily Berninger
What it is: The west coast outpost of a California institution, Rosamunde is known for it’s impressive selection of sausages and craft beers.
Why we love it: Walking down Bedford, you’d never know this unassuming, laid-back bar serves about a billion different types of sausages and beer. Ok, not a billion, but they have more than two dozen artisanal sausage varieties (including a handful of vegan options), 24 rotating craft beers (with 2 nitro taps!), and bartenders who will wait patiently while you mull over the perfect pairing. They also have a build-your-own bloody mary bar, which means they give you a glass with vodka and ice and then usher you over to a table stocked with over a dozen types of bloody mary mixes.
Who to bring: Rosamunde is neutral ground for vegans and meat-lovers alike, so bring your militant vegan friend and your meat snob friend and have them make peace over a communal table.
What to order: Get the grilled sausage on a french roll–the cheddar bratwurst does not disappoint. When you’re done, get another. Be sure to visit the condiment bar to ensure maximum topping satisfaction. As for beer, get a flight and try them all.
Fun fact: Rosamunde also offers cask beer, otherwise known as “real” ale, which probably gets your “real” drunk, right?—Thea Blise
What is it? Far away hideaway; premier saloon of Red Hook’s Wild West.
Why we love it: A solid jukebox, a pile of board games, a food smoker, and an expansive backyard that invites all-day and all-night drinking, make it worth the trek if you’re coming from other parts of the borough. The friendly, come-one-come-all mentality of the staff and regulars doesn’t hurt.
Who to bring: That friend of yours who keeps saying he wants to explore Red Hook; your bike-riding partner; anybody who thinks dive bars in Brooklyn are affected.
What to order: Two pulled pork sandwiches for $5. One of the 60 beers on tap from around the world.
Fun fact:Just two weeks after Sandy inundated the bar’s basement, wiping out refrigerators, freezers, electrical equipment and a vast supply of beer and liquor, the Van Brunt mainstay reopened its doors to the thirsty post-hurricane masses.—Kate Mooney
What it is: A neighborhood joint that serves up 40 beers, varying types of grilled cheeses and a whole lot of friendly vibes.
Why we love it: This is a great place to stop in, grab a beer, eat too much free popcorn, realize you’ve only had 1/40th of their beer menu, get some more beers, realize your are at 5/40th of their drink menu, go eat a grilled cheese in their backyard and then go back in for you 6/40.
Who to bring: Any beer snob who is not pretentious would love this place. Get them a few deep into the beer list at South and then challenge them at Buckhunter for who pays the next round.
What to order: Seriously, go in and have the bartender take the reigns. They have a great list of craft beers to accommodate anyone. They also have a timed appropriate happy hour with $1 off beer, wine and liquor from 6pm to 9pm seven days a week.
Fun Fact: Rosie Schaap, The New York Times drinking columnist and author, is a regular bartender here.—Emily Berninger