1208 Surf Avenue
(Corner of W. 12th Street)
What it is: The bar and museum on the ground floor of Coney Island USA headquarters; gateway and social lubricant into the world of all things “freak” and sideshow.
Why we love it: Having a beer in the kitschy fun house serves as a disarming pre-game to the sites you’ll witness next door at the Circus Sideshow ($10). You’ll need a beer after the show, too.
What to order: A local microbrew on tap, from Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint or Coney Island Brewery. Bring friends visiting from out of town who want to experience a real legendary Brooklyn attraction; circus freaks you have known; your boardwalk companion who’s ready for some post-beach-and-rides action.
Regular tip: Check Coney Island USA so you can make a trip out in conjunction with a Circus Sideshow, burlesque performance, or other special event.