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
What it is: A pinball-lover’s paradise that serves up the good brews and good tunes while you bang those pleasure machines.
Why we love it: Because we’ll take pinball over Big Buck Hunter any day, and Jackbar offers up a pinball selection that’s hard to find this side of the Jersey shore. The 9 pinball machines come from owner Jon Ehrlich’s personal collection, and range from old classics to brand new, state-of-the-art models. If you’re not into the silver ball, the bar also offers up board games and shows old movies on the TV.
Who to bring: Your pinball wizard friends, or anyone who likes an unpretentious bar that pours good brews and hearkens back to the heyday when bar games were analog and not just touch-screen divergences.
What to order: Try one of the 18 draft lines or 15 bottles and cans; upgrade anything to a beer-and-a-shot happy meal for $2. You can munch on some old-school Jiffy Pop here too.
Fun fact: The pinball machines come from the personal collection of owner Jon Erhlich, who also owns Reciprocal, the Manhattan skate shop that doubles as a pinball arcade.—Tim Donnelly
What it is: ba’sik is a charming, simple spot that aspires to be the ideal neighborhood bar. The decor is clean and rustic but the space still feels relaxing and friendly.
Why we love it: ba’sik is a change of pace from some of the more eccentric bars that populate Williamsburg. The bar is open and well-lit and features a quaint garden area in the back. ba’sik keeps regulars returning with its free Sunday jazz jam sessions.
Who to bring: The yard is a great spot to bring a group out for drinks and sunshine. Musicians will especially love the live music here.
What to order: ba’sik always carries three each of draft, can, and bottle options, with drafts tending to be from local breweries. The brunch menu includes ba’sik mac n cheese, magpies, artisanal pop tarts and more standard fare like waffles and omelettes.
Fun fact: The bar features a 19th century butcher block bar that was salvaged from an abandoned packaging plant.—Camille Lawhead
What it is: Wood-paneled, industrial-ish, and light-filled, Richlane is where you go to get away from the Bedford strip, saddle up to wood bar and listen to some good tunes.
Why we love it: Richlane is situated in a Bermuda Triangle of sorts: east of the Bedford strip, south of Greenpoint and north of the Lorimer stop on the L. You’ll still find everything you’d expect from a Williamsburg bar, like vintage decor, a retro refrigerator, and a cloud of smokers out front, but somehow Richlane manages to be a friendly neighborhood bar with a minimal amount of too-coolness.
Who to bring: Bring a date and impress them with your picks from jukebox. If it doesn’t go well, ditch em and flirt with the bartender.
What to order: Much of the beer and wine is from New York, but it has expanded beyond into craft and familiar beers and wine on tap.
Fun fact:The name Richlane pays tribute to the name of the previous name of Richardson St., which was Richlane..—Thea Blise
What it is: A not too big, not too small tap beer destination that provides a relief from otherwise bougie Smith Street surroundings.
Why we love it: Like its sister bars Glorietta Baldy, Mission Dolores and Owl Farm, Bar Great Harry takes its beer seriously, butnot so seriously that it can’t devote a room in the back to pinball machines. It’s also a great place to do some summer afternoon drinking, as instead of being a dark hole, the windows and doors fold open to let in plenty of light and air.
Who to bring: A friend who likes to take in the fresh air while away the day drinking fancy tap beers.
What to order: This is a place where you go to order beer like a pro. With 20 craft beers on tap from breweries you’ve never heard of from both near and far that change so often that they update their draft list almost daily on their website, there’s no possible way you can get bored with what you’ll find.
Fun fact: Like what you just drank so much that you feel an animal need to bring it home with you? Good news! Bar Great Harry will happily sell you a growler of any of their tap selections and send you tottering home happy. —David Colon
What it is: A Bed-Stuy bar that parties hard and parties in style.
Why we love it: Apart from its large and beautiful backyard, which is one of the best spots in Brooklyn to enjoy a late afternoon drink in the summer, One Last Shag passes the Andrew WK “Party Hard” test by hosting plenty of raucous dance parties, helmed by rotating DJs (who reside in the neighborhood). Even on off nights, you’ll find bartenders with great taste keeping up a good vibe with their iPods.
Who to bring: For the young and wild of Bed-Stuy, this is the place to be. Still, it doesn’t mean you can’t luxuriate in the backyard with some friends on a summer afternoon.
What to order: That depends on what you’re there to do. If you just want to relax in the yard with a beer or two, the rotating taps plus the $1-off happy hour from 4-8pm make for a good couple of hours. If you’re trying to turbocharge your dance night though, try starting with one of the bar’s many cocktails ranging from $8 to $12, and then keep yourself going with $3 Gennessee to convince yourself you’re dancing well.
Fun fact: One Last Shag is forward thinking and open with their partying, hosting numerous LGBTQ-friendly dance nights, like every fourth Saturday’s Papi Juice.—Dave Colon
What it is: A café by day, bar by night, good time throughout.
Why we love it: We have loved this bar since it first opened in 2012. The bartenders are consistently friendly, and the bar offers up regular unique events all while serving Cajun food from Tchoup.
Who to Bring: Anyone who can get there early enough to grab a seat at the window with you. It’s quite nice to look out on Wyckoff Ave while gulping one of the 14 rotating drafts or sipping on one of the many (many) whiskeys.
What to Order: Curry pork meatball po’ boy. Need I say more? I do need. If it’s rent time stop in for happy hour and wash the food down with a $2 High Life. Have a few extra dollars in your pocket? Do it up with the Highland’s Fall… single malt and St. Germain cocktail? Yum Yum Yum.
Fun Fact: Here you can rotate between the shot and a beer combo ($5) and Stumptown coffee for a rather hip take on a vodka red bull experience.—Emily Berninger
What it is: Nitehawk Cinema is independent movie theatre meets cozy local bar. It features three small theatres that show anything from new blockbusters to old cult classics. The upstairs theatres feature tableside food and drink service while the bar downstairs has plenty of events that keep it bustling throughout the week.
Why we love it: Beside the great atmosphere, Nitehawk’s bar has plenty of free programming such as Monday night Simpsons Club screenings, Movie Trivia Night, VHS Vault, and Artist Film Club. In addition to the usual specials, Nitehawk serves food and cocktails inspired by films shown at the theatre. In honor of August: Osage County, they served Eat the F*cking Fish (catfish, blackeyed peas, and kale) and hard Sweet Tea, while Dallas Buyers Club inspired Support Group Coffee Doughnuts and spiked Border Crossing Coffee.
Who to bring: The bar is dim and cozy, a great place to bring a date or small group. Movie trivia buffs and general Simpsons fans will particularly love it here.
What to order: Nitehawk has eight draft lines and a wide range of rotating bottle specials, with a focus on local breweries. The first weekend of every month is Country Brunchin’, which features Southern food, live country music, and a film set down south.
Fun fact: Nitehawk managed to get the New York State ban on serving alcohol in movie theatres overturned after its owner hired a lawyer and lobbyist to convince Governor Cuomo to repeal the law.—Camille Lawhead
What is it: A gastronomic tavern and wine bar for the “established palate,” with an emphasis on local, seasonal food and good beer, with homemade bread and an old-school sausage machine.
Why we love it: The rustic farmhouse vibe of the Flatbush Farm restaurant makes for great dining at brunch or dinner; the huge, tree-covered backyard at the adjacent Bar(n) provides ample space to spread out with your crew in night or day. It’s close enough to Barclays Center to pop in before or after a game, but it’s big enough that it’s not overrun with sports fans.
Who to bring: Your brunch date, your big birthday crew to hang out in the back yard and lovers of local fare.
What to order: The beer selection of 15-20 bottles and cans and 7 draft lines changes regularly, but the craft and organic international beers pair well with the bar menu, which features cast iron pot pie, bacon mac n’ cheese and amish hot wings.
Flatbush Farm fun fact: The building that houses the restaurant (Farm) and the bar (Barn) was once the home of Nkiru Books, the oldest African-American bookstore in New York City. The store moved to Washington Avenue and is now co-owned by Mos Def and Talib Kweli.—Tim Donnelly
What it is: A cavernous emporium of barbecue, beer and whiskey and home for live music.
Why we love it: Beyond the fact that it’s a barbecue Valhalla that serves sandwiches with bacon on top of pulled pork? Well, there’s the 42 draft beers and the over 100 ryes, whiskeys and bourbons on the menu. You can also always make your own competition with a tucked away pool area in the front of the bar. Add in a live music stage and an outdoor area make it an all around win.
Who to bring: A big group of meat-loving music and bourbon fans. With selection that ranges from Old Crow 80 to James E. Pepper 15 Year, there’ll be something for everyone to drink and argue about what tastes the best.
What to order: Just popping in for a quick drink? Sit at the front bar and grab a $5 Rolling Rock and Cuervo beer and shot special. If you’re in it to win it, amble over to the back bar and get a beer or whiskey flight to sample all you can. Soak up the booze with a PBR, which isn’t a beer, but a giant sandwich made up of pulled pork, bacon and chow relish. Or try the famous frozen whiskey cocktails, available year-round.
Fun fact: Tuesdays are Taco Nights! As if the prospect of barbecue wasn’t already awesome enough, your food options are expanded to turkey, pork ribs, pulled pork or brisket tacos. And everyone loves tacos.—Dave Colon