Alchemy Bar

Alchemy Restaurant & Tavern
56 5th Ave. (5th Ave. and Bergen St.), Park Slope

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What it is: A cozy, low-key pub in Park Slope with a rotating set of hard-to-find beers, an extensive cocktail menu, and excellent food.

Why we love it: Alchemy is the perfect place for a date, a casual meal, or enjoying a quiet drink and a book. Its die-hard set of regulars and bartenders who remember your name make it feel like a local pub. You’ll also find secluded tables and booths if you’re looking for a little privacy and a great outdoor patio if you’re looking to chill outside during the summer. Need WiFi? They’ve got that, too.

You won’t find greasy bar food here. Four different menus — breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner — have something for the vegan, the veggie, the foodie, or the guy who just wants a good burger. The chorizo eggs (brunch) is a great way to start a Sunday, while the wild mushroom barley risotto with truffle oil (dinner) is one of the many uncommon treats you can share with a date. And if you do have a hankering for some chicken wings, you can get those, too, during the way affordable weekday happy hour.

What to order: Alchemy’s beers rotate every couple of weeks, but you’ll always find a stout, an IPA, a pilsner, an ale, and special seasonal beers on tap. Pair one with the gooey shells and cheese or the Monday Mussels deal—a dozen mussels for six bucks!

Regular tip: The bar was named Alchemy because at the time the owner was reading up on the ancient art of chrysopoeia, thanks to the Da Vinci Code.

The Gate

The Gate
321 Fifth Ave. at 3rd St, Park Slope
718-768-4329

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What is it: Park Slope’s original craft beer pioneer, now in their 19th year. Huge beer selection, specialty bottles, vintage ales.

Why we love it: When you first enter the Gate you wonder where the bartenders went – turns out you couldn’t see them behind the row of beer taps. Their selection is enormous and they have a beer for any craving you may have, whether hoppy, light, malty or stout. The bar is peopled by friendly locals. When the weather’s nice, the spacious outdoor deck is the place to be – if you can find a seat. Wide-open people watching and views of the historic Old Stone House where the Battle of Brooklyn raged 239 years ago.

What to order: The beer selection rotates often and seasonally, but if you’re looking for something special, try the vintage ales in their legendary stock cellar. 

Regular tip: The Gate is definitively a “local” inspired by the owners love of the pubs in Ireland’s Slieve Anieran mountains where the “eternal peat fire” burns.

via the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association Flickr

Some good old fashioned dancing in the street, without worrying about cars. via the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association Flickr

Even though summer is nowhere near over, you might want to capitalize on outdoor festivals while you still can. Fill your summer street fair quota by heading to the 6th Annual Wash Ave. Rocks! on the border of Prospect Heights and Crown Heights this Sunday! The event, presented by the Washington Avenue Prospect Heights Association (WAPHA), celebrates some of the best the neighborhood has to offer, from its global cultures and proud history to its diverse vendors, artists, and restaurant scene. This year’s is centered around  “family, food, fashion, and fun” so, c’mon, you probably like at least one of those things. And even if you don’t, there’s also beer! (more…)

Swim in liquor at the Sea Witch Tavern

Swim in liquor at the Sea Witch Tavern

Sea Witch Tavern
703 5th Ave (21st & 22nd)
South Slope

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What is it: South Slope stand-out with unique seafaring décor and a maritime-tinged food menu that specializes in fried clams.

Why we love it: Sea Witch gains major points for its mythical name alone. But the bar manages to pull off a theme without buckling under its own kitsch. Highlights include a behind-the-bar saltwater aquarium and a large backyard featuring other sea souvenirs. Add to that a thoughtful menu and a kitchen with its own dedicated window, and you’ve got the kind of place that we could imagine Captain Ahab taking a comely wench for, like, the third or fourth date.

What to order: Select from 20 taps of American craft beers from the likes of Bells, Founder’s, Sixpoint and others. The $5 beer and shot special won’t disappoint. To eat, the fried clam belly sandwich is probably the way to go here, though they also have specials that grab your eye. The buffalo fried oysters with bleu cheese are pretty decadent and amazing. Obviously those who appreciate seafood will enjoy Sea Witch but their landlubber fare (especially the hamburgers) has been developing a stellar reputation.

Regular tip: The original Sea Witch was known as the fastest clipper ship to leave from NYC for China during the tea trade. It set a round trip record to Hong Kong of 74 days. So this bar really has fast food.

Enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails at Sea Witch with the Brooklyn Cocktail Book!

freddy's bar

What lurks behind the door tonight? Something cool we bet. Photo by Sarah Bibi

Freddy’s Bar and Backroom   
627 5th Ave., (between 17th and 18th Streets), South Slope, 718-768-0131

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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.

Medical marijuana still can't be smoked under our state law, FYI. via Flickr user Don Goofy

Medical marijuana still can’t be smoked under our state law, FYI. via Flickr user Don Goofy

Marijuana legalization in New York has been a long and absurd battle, tainted with restrictive legislation even as the state’s bans on medical use were slowly, haltingly lifted. Things are looking up, though, because South Slope News reports that pending approval, one of the state’s allotted medical marijuana dispensaries would be coming to the Slope, at 800 3rd Avenue. The news comes following a unanimous vote in favor of the dispensary’s presence, by the Slope’s community board.

(more…)

Now they make your drinks come true, too. via flickr user Matt Green

Now they make your drinks come true, too. via flickr user Matt Green

Well well, it’s a good day for beer. First the Heartland taproom, and now a Bavarian biergarten! According to South Slope news, Grand Prospect Hall will be opening a beer garden next to their mansion on Prospect Avenue. The Halkias, owners of Grand Prospect Hall (and erstwhile candidates for our new monarchy) were inspired by their Bavarian roots to renew the empty courtyard next to their spot and turn it into a regular feierhaus. Not only is this a great idea — it’s also a power play befitting the days leading up to Brokelyn’s coronation of our new King and Queen. (more…)

Brokeklyn-Brooklyn-Park Slope-Dogs-Doggie Spots

He’ll let you pet him once he relieves his bladder. Image via Flickr user Anthony Fine

Man, remember when we talked about how Park Slope was maybe losing its mojo earlier this year? Looks like we can take some of that back at least, because a Park Slope resident tired of yelling at his neighbors about their dogs has gone out of his way to put homemade dog bathrooms on his block.According to the New York Post, these personal bathrooms for dogs are essentially “kiddie pools or plastic saucer sleds that he fills with gravel and soil and then plants with sod.” Oh Park Slope, why did we ever doubt you?  (more…)

Bye bye backyard. Via Google+.

Bye bye backyard. Via Google+.

When you find a place that offers draft beer, growlers, retail beer for sale and good sandwiches, it only makes sense that you’re going to become loyal and hold on to it for dear life. So it’s with a heavy heart that we have to let you all know that Park Slope’s Bierkraft, the bar/retail beer spot that had all of the above mentioned items that people love so much, appears to be closed for good. We’re sure it’ll be replaced with another cool spot, and not off-street stroller parking or something. (more…)

mary's bar 1

Mary’s Bar
708 5th Ave. at 22nd, South Slope
718-499-2175

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What it is: Mary’s Bar stands out as a fan favorite in South Slope. A tavern-style bar with late-night jazz, a pool table and darts, Mary’s Bar is that charming local bar you go to for a fun mix of Brooklyn natives and the neighborhood’s more recent inhabitants.

Why we love it: Mary’s is a great space that encapsulates everything a tavern should be, with a relaxed atmosphere, fun and friendly crowd, and no short amount of music nights. On Fridays and Saturdays it has rotating DJs, Wednesdays they do an 80s night, and every night from 3am to last call is the Frank and Dean Jazz Hour. How could you not love a bar that sends you home like that?

Who to bring: Mary’s Bar has a great low-key vibe that makes for a good weeknight out with friends or a nightcap with that someone you convinced to hang out for just one more drink.

What to order: Check out any of their 12 domestic craft beers on tap, or just go for the simple pleasures, like PBR and Dale’s Pale Ale in the can. Be aware: Happy Hour is $2 off drafts and spirits applies to all spirits, including top shelf.

Fun fact: Mary’s has joined the flea market brigade, and hosts a shopping space in their backyard called the Bar ‘n Yard Flea every weekend in the summer.