406 3rd Avenue (between 6th Street and 7th Street)
What is it: Halyards is a low-key spot with a nautical feel, located surreptitiously in industrial Gowanus.
Why we love it: Its relaxed atmosphere, affable bartenders and reliably clean surfaces. There are a wide variety of beers on tap, and a seasonal cocktail menu. Bring anyone you’re trying to impress — like a date or friend you haven’t seen in many years. The pool table, dart board, and bowls of Jenga blocks break up the awkwardness, and the music is never loud enough to be intrusive.
What to order: The Root & Ginger Beer for $10. A great choice for those of us who are indecisive about our soft drinks–and wish that root beer was actually alcoholic. Alcohol-wise, pick from a selection of rotating drafts or order one of the old-school cocktails, such as their super citrusy, super refreshing version of a Pimm’s Cup, with Pimm’s No. 1, lime, lemon, orange, cucumber, mint and lemonade.
Regular tip: The owner is British, so it definitely feels more like a pub than a bar.