What it is: A loungy neighborhood hangout with games, free popcorn and a killer jukebox that provides a merciful respite from the breast-feeding crowd that frequents the neighborhood.
Why we love it: Not only is High Dive a Brokelyn Beer Book four-peat featured bar, it’s only gotten better over the years. The custom curated jukebox full of mixed CDs includes a gamut of good drinking music: Big Star, The Kinks, The Pixies, and the Modern Lovers. Oh, and it’s got a big stack of board games and some pinball machines. We’re suckers for pinball.
What to order: Try one of the 19 rotating draft beers or the standard PBR or Yuengling, which are only $3 during happy hour. The free popcorn station has grown to include its own condiments rack and bar snacks now include savory pies for $6 and sausage rolls for $4.
Regular tip: In the spirit of giving, High Dive has a lovely “buy a friend a drink” board, where you can prepay for your pals’ tab. High Dive is also one of the few bars to be included every time we do a Beer Book, so show them some extra love while you’re there!
What it is: Hamilton’s is one of the best reasons you can think of for heading over to Windsor Terrace. A cozy wine bar with great craft beers, as well as an all-star kitchen, it’s a great neighborhood spot to check out for dinner, or just some tasty wings and beer.
Why we love it: Everything Hamilton’s does seems to be top-notch.From mulled drinks in winter, it’s got a fantastic menu that will keep you coming back to try all the other dishes, and on top of all that, it’s a relaxed yet vibrant bar in a neighborhood that doesn’t often get a lot of traffic from outside the neighborhood. You wouldn’t guess it from inside Hamilton’s, which feels like stumbling onto a scene that you feel kind of dumb for not knowing about before. It’s an excellent date spot, straight up, with its small, well-crafted dishes and great wines, this is the kind of place to go and have a nice cozy few drinks.
What to order: If it’s winter, check out their mulled wine. Food-wise, mac and cheese with bacon or the tender-as-anything grilled squid.
Regular tip: Hamilton’s is owned by the same people who run Alchemy, so if you’re a fan of that Park Slope fixture, you can get a sense of what to expect here!
What is it: A Brooklyn staple nestled in the South Slope, boasting both cult celebrity and a history stretching back to Prohibition. Freddy’s, with its trademark comfortable and casual flavour is friendly and endlessly interesting.
Why we love it: Whether you’re there for the acid-tavern experience (TVs run award-winning video montages 24/7) or to see a free music, comedy, or art show show in the back room, Freddy’s always has something to revive a sleepy night. This neighborhood favorite hosts a welcome mix of locals and far-flung visitors, thanks to its beautiful other worldly decor, bustling vibes and charming staff. Just a few reasons why it was voted one of the best bars in the country by the likes of Esquire and others.
What to order: Aside from the whiskey and craft beers, Freddy’s offers a solid menu of what it calls “Pan-Brooklyn.” This includes burgers, fish tacos, local Polish kielbasa (meaning that they’re actually made across the street by two great Polish butchers), a curious twist on a BLT sandwich, and much more. All tasty and cheap as hell.
Regular tip: The intoxicating video collages you’ll see all over the bar are actually edited/created by co-owner Donald O’Finn.
What it is: A world-famous craft beer brewery right here in our backyard.
Why we love it: Since opening in 1998, its year-round, seasonal and specialty beers have gained notoriety around the world, leading to its distribution in 25 states, 20 countries and god knows how many pleased palates. Hop on one of the weekend tours for free any Saturday or Sunday (Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. on the half hour), make a reservation for a small batch tour or just enjoy the space for what it was made for: drinking beer.
Who to bring: It’s a great place to impress your family, your friends from other boroughs or your out-of-town visitors begging for something to do they can write home or post on Facebook about. Seriously, though, this place is a melting pot (kettle?) of everyone who likes beer, from the loyal locals to the Manhattanite day drinkers to the obvious tourists who all join together in pursuit of the most beautiful thing on earth: beer.
What to get: Beer, obvs. Bar offerings include year-round and seasonal beers for $5 each or 5 for $20, and if you’re hankering for some eats, you can order in from neighboring restaurants and eat at one of the communal tables throughout the beer hall. Tables fill up quickly, though, so snag your spot early if sitting while you eat is your thing.
Fun fact: Brooklyn Brewery regularly hosts Funny Story with Tom Shillue, a comedian/storyteller who regularly appears on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Redeye with Greg Gutfeld and his own Comedy Central Stand Up special.—Cat Wolinski
What it is: Supercollider is a coffee shop/lounge that will amp you up with its local coffee in the morning and mellow you out with its 15 craft beers and cocktails later in the day (yeah, that’s a typical day, right?). This newcomer to Fourth Ave boasts trivia nights, open mics with live musicians, and even film screenings in its backyard.
Why we love it: Supercollider is a relaxed spot that would make for good date drinks, hanging out with friends, or even just stopping by solo and seeing what’s happening. Beyond the long bar there are booths where you can park and take up one of the serious board games kept behind the bar (Settlers of Catan, among others). Add in a backyard that hasn’t become overcrowded and you have a nice gem that welcomes a nice, steady booze-a-thon.
Who to bring: This is a great lounge to stop by with those game night friends, or for that nice, quiet first date drink.
What to order: Any of their 18 craft beers will do fine, or their coffee, if that’s your steez.
Fun fact: One block away from the Prospect Ave stop on the R train, this bar might be the easiest to get your drunk on within moments of your Metrocard swipe.—Eric Silver
What it is: A neighborhood bar in forever-transient Williamsburg, South 4th Bar that transitions with the seamlessness of a Transformer from quiet and productivity-enhancing coffice to loud and populated drinking spot.
Why we love it: You can spend the entire day here. Start at 7am and take advantage of the free wifi and cheap coffee to get your work done, and then sidle up to the bar and relax when the regulars start coming in around 4 or 5. And don’t bother leaving for lunch, just ask the bartenders which spot in their full menu book will best satisfy your hunger. Kings of Karaoke starting on Thursdays is just one more reason to stick around.
Who to bring: Trying to get acclimated to the neighborhood? Bring yourself, the friendly cast of regulars provide the closest thing to Cheers that you’ll find in Williamsburg.
What to order: Their $5 beer and shot special is a cheap complement to their coffee if you want to change speeds.While things are icy, take advantage of hot toddies, but once things warm up around here, try their totally refreshing Hucklberry Vodka Lemonade..
Fun fact: South 4th is the perfect bar for creative types, offering an absolutely stacked Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar every Saturday and Sunday for just $5, and holding a yearly chili cook off around the same time as the Super Bowl.
What it is: The national home of Brewskee-ball, the first-ever national competitive skeeball league, with an epic canned beer selection and no shortage of good times.
Why we love it: It’s a mix of Brooklyn cool and boardwalk fun. Even if you’re not on a Skee-ball league you can roll your luck on one of the four Skee-ball lanes. the fun vibe at the bar is helped by the decorations made of reclaimed old skeeball machine parts and a staff so dedicated to the game they’ve got Skee-ball tattoos. Tuesdays and Thursdays are some of the best cheap nights out in all the land: not only is Skee-ball free those nights, but you get a hot dog or pretzel with every beer purchase! If you live locally, take advantage of the special “sip codes” nights every month, which is an open bar for people in the Williamsburg zips.
Who to bring: Boardwalk-loving buddies, competitive friends, lovers of canned beer, pun-masters for creating clever Skee-ball team names (ie: M Skee A, the Beaskee Boys, etc.)
What to order: Try one of the copious amounts of rotating canned beers selection or the all-the-time specials like a $6 Genny and whiskey (aka Whiskee).
Fun fact: The Full Circle gang is responsible for all sorts of summery fun shenanigans, including the annual National Skee-Ball Championship tournament which takes over Knitting Factory, cornhole contests and a summer long deal that lets you hop on a bus and check out a Brooklyn Cyclones game (with some beer included) for a low price. The name of the bar is a reference to a skee-ball term where a player sinks all 9 balls in the 40 point slot.—Tim Donnelly
What it is: This cavernously enormous bar/restaurant has a bunch of different spaces within a space. Be it the glass room in the middle, the tables along the sides or the tucked away speak easy, it definitely has a bit of something for everyone.
Why we love it: So… it has a bar inside of a bar, which is TWO bars. The bartenders are really nice and give good recommendations on food and drink.
Who to bring: Here you can pop on in with anyone and enjoy a beer. You could bring your parents in for some truly great food. Have a friend that enjoys comedy? Take them here on the last Tuesday of the month for their rotating line of comedians.
What to order: Their veggie quesadilla is super delicious. Pairs nicely with one of their 10 beers on draft.
Fun fact: Inside of the bar you will find a rather secret entrance to the speakeasy, Featherweight, which has an unbelievable cocktail menu. The bartenders are so on point that just give them your desired spirit and they will issue you an A+ drink.—Emily Berninger