What it is: Montana’s Trail House is a restaurant/bar with an Appalachian-based high-low menu.
Why we love it: You’ll be tempted to stay the weekend at Montana’s, a comforting and warm bar that feels like a secluded cabin, only with hot bartenders and rootbeer-braised brisket. We’ve seen people come in with a couple of friends, a Tinder date or a large group of people – although obvs advance notice is recommended for the latter.
What to order: Nate Courtland serves up some locally based, warm you to the bones, food until the wee hours with their main menu ending at 11pm and their late night bites raging until 3am. If you’re looking for something sweet to order, grab some date cake. Or if you don’t think you are looking for something sweet, still order the date cake. From 11 to 3 you can order fried pickles and wash them down with a $2 Bud. Their hot toddies are bizarrely and addictively good.
Regular tip: Montana’s Trail House makes their own homemade switchel, which is a vinegar, ginger, maple brew aged in bourbon barrels. You can have it mixed with soda water or in the Switch Back, an eight buck cocktail with Ol’ Overholt.
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. 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. Their cocktail list changes seasonally, using fresh ingredients such as mint and peaches from the backyard! But just like Ralph Waldo’s bust in the back room isn’t going anywhere, you’ll find signature “The Emerson” on the menu all year round: a refreshing concoction of gin, fresh ginger and mint, sour mix, topped off with prosecco.
Regular tip: The bar hosts rotating nights for things like trivia, DJs, sports games, art openings, comedy, bingo and more.
Happyfun Hideaway 1211 Myrtle Ave. (Charles Pl. and Bushwick Ave.) Bushwick Facebook • Website
What it is: This rad bar jumped the Bushwick scene in 2013 with their ever-changing, always experimental vibe.
Why we love it: You never know what you will get when you walk into here – but like, in a good way. Perhaps a DJ from a band such as Prince Rama, Vivian Girls and SSion or an obscure B cinema classic like Holy Mountain projected on the back screen. What you do know is that you will get a great time with friendly bartenders. Go there solo or with a group of friends – a clutch bar for Jenga enthusiasts. It also provides many a conversation starter for a date along with two pinball machines to fill in any awkward conversation gaps.
What to Order: They make a rocking dark and stormy with their Crabbies real ginger beer and have a killer, or I guess non-killer, vegetarian comfort food menu. The rotating beer list is curated with local standards and international beers.
Regular tip: The bartenders are all local artists, musicians and promoters that have helped found great things like Bushwig, Klump and Worship Vintage.
What it is: A low lit bar in Bushwick containing a list of curated craft beers, carefully created cocktails and a smooth, chill environment.
Why we love it: Left Hand Path is perfect bar to go into alone as a Bushwick outsider or a local, a place to stop in with a group of friends or to enjoy or drink away a date. Here you can get people together and actually hear them as the crowd tends to remain on the calmer side. You’ve got the bar at the entrance, the stools lining the walls and the killer backyard where you can hang out until 11pm.
The bar itself, dark with mystique, invites you to walk to the back exploring the various corners, back room and the benches which round the walls of the back area. You can try and pin down the bar to one type, but do so with caution. They deliver delicious, thought out cocktails as well as an often appreciated beer and a shot. It’s a both a speakeasy and a dive. An atmosphere of a dimly lit cocktail bar with chandeliers made out of solo cups. It works.
What to order: The beers they serve are posted on a huge slab of tree hung behind the bar, greatly ranging with a focus on craft beers. Their selection changes frequently so stay up to date by following their Facebook to find out what’s about to tap. You can choose or ask for a recommendation for a beer or cocktail and be guaranteed an interesting and satisfying choice. Follow them and you will also find a slew of events ranging from a New Years Eve party to a Superbowl party.
Regular tip: You know that whole, hey can you charge my phone, actually can I see if I got a text for a second, thanks but I still need it to be charged thing that some people do? Well you won’t anymore. Here they have individual USB ports along the bar. No longer must you be that person saying, ‘I promise I’m not usually that person’.
What it is: This groovy, Marrakech-inflected bar in Clinton Hill by Andy McDowell of Pete’s Candy Shop features food and beer with an Eastern vibe. It holds events almost every night that truly run the gamut. Go in and relax with a beer or play some of the provided games with friends.
Why we love it: The detail that went in to the bar, which is modeled after a vintage airstream camper, is hugely impressive. It provides a beautiful space to enjoy the nightly free music including their Friday night all-female DJ line up. Get some friends together to have some beers or cocktails while watching CAMPISTA featuring members of Antibalas and Fela Kuti every Tuesday night.
What to order: The Hitachino with a mushroom bao is totally on point. They also have a great happy hour until 7pm Monday through Saturday and happy hour specials all day on Sunday that rock with $3 wells, $4 drafts/bottles and $4 baos.
Regular tip: The name of the bar comes from a term for a VW van with a split front windshield.
The Graham: It’s new in the beer book, and it’s awesome. Photo by Sarah Gainer
In case you haven’t heard, the newest edition of our Beer Books are on sale now. Since we’ve split them between Upper and Middle Brooklyn, we thought we’d take a second to highlight some the awesome new bars in our Upper Brooklyn Beer Book. Specifically, bars in Bushwick and East Williamsburg, where you might live or you have friends you feel the need to begrudgingly visit. Whichever it is, these bars will provide plenty of entertainment for you. (more…)
The Bedford 110 Bedford Ave., at N. 11th St.
What is it: If you only go into the front room, with the entrance on Bedford, you may have missed this amazing back room bar. Beyond the gastropub is a speakeasy lined with dark wooden and round marble tables.
Why We love it: The bar is typically the perfect amount of crowded allowing you to order your drink, perhaps some appetizers, and sit down and relax. This is special because it seems most speakeasy bars tend to lend themselves to tiny cramped corners. It’s a beautiful room that serves as a respite from the Bedford Avenue craze. (more…)
The Gibson 108 Bedford Ave., at N. 11th St.,
What is it: A whiskey bar that although large enough for a ruckusing crowd, manages to stay on the side of being a low-key bar while going no where near dive status.
Why We love it: You can get anything from a really well made cocktail to a Bud Light Lime while hanging out with friends or playing some games. More of a whiskey drinker? They have over 100 different types. (more…)
Soft Spot 128 Bedford Ave., at 11th St.
What is it: A relaxed bar on the Bedford strip where you can order a beer or six without being hassled. It’s less frantic than some of the nearby places and often screens TV shows like the Walking Dead.
Why We love it: For being a rather narrow bar there always seems to be room. The back yard is so large it kinda explodes with space when you walk outside. The bartenders are nice and quick and you can’t beat their 2-for-1 well and beer drinks until 8pm. Oh wait, yes you can, the 2-for-1 well and beer special on Tuesday which runs all night long. (more…)