Settle in for some cocktails at the darkly-lit romantic Dick & Jane's

Settle in for some cocktails at the darkly-lit, romantic Dick & Jane’s

Dick & Jane’s Bar
266 Adelphi St. (Dekalb and Willoughby)
Fort Greene

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What it is: Fort Greene’s neighborhood speakeasy housed in a garage bar is a darkly-lit den of delicious libations.

Why we love it: It feels hidden and cozy, an ideal spot to take a date before or after dinner, or just to duck out of the sun at the end of the day. Down-to-earth bartenders are dedicated to crafting inventive, fresh cocktails, but without any tired mixologist pretense, making you feel at home and well-sated. They play vinyl on Tuesdays.

What to order:  Pick your poison of cocktails made with a range of spirits from spicy pisco to lavender vodka (both house-infused). They switch up the drinks seasonally, so check for new selections made with fresh juices and house-made syrups every few months or so. Cool off this spring with the “Steve McQueen,” a gin and elderflower refresher finished with a dash of cayenne, or go hard with majority-alcohol “Fort Greene” that combines rye, rum, chartreuse, and sweet vermouth.  Two $5 beers grace the menu with their presence, but they are solid choices—Tiger Lager from Singapore and Shiner Bock, a favorite of Texas-born manager Issac Flores—and a small selection of $10 wines.

Regular tip: Legend has it the tiny space once served as a horse stable way back when.

Enjoy 2-for-1 drinks at Dick & Jane’s with our Cocktail Book, on sale now!

Photo via Sheepshead Bites

There’ll be dessert of course, but eat some real food first Photo via Sheepshead Bites

One of the best events for people who desire great food from south Brooklyn is no more.  A Taste of Sheepshead Bay is dead, long live The Bite: Sheepshead Bay. Different name, same concept: a variety of different Sheepshead Bay restaurants, all under one roof, bringing the best of the south Brooklyn restaurant scene to you. For what amounts to half of what we usually spend whenever we go out to eat in the first place, you can try everything from Turkish, to Latin, to ol’ fashion American food. Much better than just making pasta and watching Netflix, trust us, we know. (more…)

05/04/15 4:30pm
one last shag 1

One Last Shag

 One Last Shag
348 Franklin Ave. (Greene and Lexington)

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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. 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. Bring a crew and order the margarita all ten different ways it comes on the menu.

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 (try “The Cry Baby” with tequila and mezcal, cinnamon and lime) and then keep yourself going with $3 Gennessee to convince yourself you’re dancing well.

Regular tip: One Last Shag is forward thinking and open with their partying, hosting numerous LGBTQ-friendly dance nights; check their Facebook page to see what’s coming up.

 One Last Shag is a featured bar in our 2015 Cocktail Book, on sale now!

05/01/15 11:08am

The Castello Plan in Ditmas Park

The Castello Plan
1213 Cortelyou Rd. (at Argyle)
Ditmas Park

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What it is: 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.) Bring a date, for sure, or 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. The cocktail menu is divided into “Classic” and “Signature,” so you can opt for a Sazerac (founded in 1838 in New Orleans, as the menu annotates) first and then a “Kentucky Two-Timer” (bourbon, antica formula, mint tea, lavender, black pepper, toasted coriander). Meet somewhere in the middle with “Brooklyn Crossing” a classic dirty martini using pickles from the Pickle Guys.  At daily happy hours from 4 to 8, beer is $4 and cocktails and wine are $6. Also, brunch.

Regular tip: 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, an Italo-terranean spot where Vox Pop used to be.

Enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails at the Castello Plan with our 2015 Cocktail Book, on sale now!

05/01/15 8:35am
Illustrations by Shaylyn Berlew

The only flag you need this summer. Illustrations by Shaylyn Berlew

Now that the frost has finally lifted from the northeast, Brokelynites can finally partake in all of the classic outdoor activities that our metropolis has to offer – strolls along our waterfront parks, running, biking, various other outdoor athletics, and most importantly, day drinking, our most hallowed nice weather tradition. When balmy temperatures and extended periods of sunlight decide to show up, we swarm to our countless outdoor bars, not to mention music festivals, rooftop parties, and buzzed beach days. Knocking back some drinks while lazing on a sunny afternoon can be an idyllic experience, or can honestly end horrifically. Fear not: we have a few pointers to mitigate the predicaments you may face as you navigate the choose-your-own adventure experience that is day drinking. (more…)

05/01/15 8:00am

Outdoor drinking season is here! Just in time for summer, we’re introducing our first-ever Brooklyn Cocktail Book, your ticket to keeping cool and well-lubricated at some of the best bars from Bed-Stuy to Red Hook. For just $20, you get a pocket-sized collection of 2-for-1 drink tickets at 20 of our borough’s best places to booze.

Our Cocktail Book is the perfect partner for warm weather. Grab your squad and while away a summer night in Lowlands’ epic backyard, head over to Fort Defiance for a Mai Tai on Thursday Tiki night, or duck into Dick & Jane’s after a day in the sun and cool off with “The Steve McQueen,” a gin-and-elderflower refresher. Grab a Kentucky lemonade at Abilene on Court Street, a whiskey cocktail at Lea in Ditmas Park or a Paradise Lost at Project Parlor Bed-Stuy… the second one is always on the house. Do you L-O-V-E craft cocktails? Find out what all the fuss is about at Erv’s on Beekman, which has whipped up three exclusive offerings for Cocktail Bookers.

The Cocktail Book is not not only a pocket full of good times, it’s a great investment — it pays for itself in just two bar visits, then you’re practically making money exploring great bars with your crew. Not a bad summer job at all! Here’s the full lineup of fine Cocktail Book boozeries:

Abilene • The Adirondack • Branch Ofc. • The Castello Plan • Dick & Jane’s Bar • The Emerson • Ervs on Beekman • Fort Defiance • The Great Georgiana • Halyard’s • Hunter’s • J’eatjet? • Lea • Lowlands Bar • One Last Shag • Project Parlor • quarter Bar • The Saint Catherine • Sea Witch Tavern • Skylark

Need further enticement? Here’s a snapshot of your summer to come:

Drink up, Brooklyn! Branch Ofc. boasts a bangin’ outdoor space, via FB.

Drink up, Brooklyn! Branch Ofc. boasts a bangin’ outdoor space, via FB.


quarter Bar

Enjoy a Red White & Bluegroni in the garden at quarter Bar, via FB.

Sea Witch Patio

It could be us on the patio at Sea Witch, but you playin’. Via FB.

Party at Project Parlor

Party at Project Parlor, one of our favorite backyard hotspots. Via FB.

The backyard at j'eatjet, your new summer hideaway.

The backyard at j’eatjet, your new summer hideaway.

Buy your Cocktail Book today — and pick up a spare or three for friends. Cheers, Brooklyn!

04/24/15 9:30am
St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe.

St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe.

St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe
533 Atlantic Ave. (3rd and 4th Ave.), Boerum Hill/Downtown Brooklyn,
(347) 763-2261

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What it is: A beer lovers’ haven for the latest local brews, domestic favorites and international imports, named for the patron saint of beer himself.

Why we love it: Whether you’re searching for something unusual or a tried-and-true craft favorite, St. Gambrinus is ready to serve you the beer you were looking for, or the one you didn’t know you wanted. The bar and bottle shop supports local New York area self distributing breweries like Other Half, Barrier, Finback, Singlecut and Transmitter, available fresh from 16 taps, as well as from an extensive collection of bottles to go.

Exercising their Brooklyn street cred, the shop hosts periodical detox-and-retox yoga and beer tasting events on some Saturday afternoons (check the Facebook page to find out when the next one might be), along with a series of regular tastings highlighting different brewreies and beer styles.

What to order: We recommend trying a flight of your bartender’s current favorites, mostly because they serve them in cupcake trays, and also because they are always gracious and knowledgeable about beer questions here.

Regular tip: In the warmer months, St. Gambrinus is a heavenly kingdom for day drinking. Grab a couple of pints and enjoy them under a big tree in the secret garden-esque, gravel-and-grass backyard.

hamilton's brooklyn

via Hamilton’s

2826 Fort Hamilton Pkwy, at E. 4th St., Windsor Terrace,

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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!

04/16/15 1:11pm
spam food truck

Come on now. via Facebook

Earlier this month, we showed you the fake phenomenon that was Bushwick’s artisanal spam-making duo. Yes, it was a joke, just in case you were still confused. Now though, in a case of life imitating April Fool’s jokes, the Hormel Food-Like Products Company is rolling out a Spam food truck. We guess because the only thing that could improve canned meat is breathing in exhaust fumes while eating it? (more…)

feltman's coney island

When we say o.g., we mean “before photography was commonplace” o.g. via Facebook

If you didn’t know, Coney Island hot dogs have a long history, going way back, possibly even to before the time when your great-grandparents were getting their names Americanized at Ellis Island. Nowadays, the Coney Island hot dog scene is being dominated by Nathan’s, but their seemingly unshakeable grip is being challenged any day now by an old competitor from the past. Yes, Coney Island is seeing a good old fashioned hot dog war soon, because, per The Coney Island Blog, o.g. hot dog maker Feltman’s Coney Island Hot Dogs is coming back to town and offering their hot dogs for half the price of a Nathan’s dog. (more…)