What it is: Red Hook dive bar supreme with an in-house meat smoker, 60 plus beers from around the world, a classic jukebox, a bevy of board games to play in snazzy red vinyl booths, a backyard in which to drink the day away and friendly bartenders and regulars to welcome you in every day of the year, holidays included.
Why we love it: We’ve got proof of our love: the Ice House has been a Beer Book participant for five years strong, harkening back to our 2010 debut with Beer Book 1.0! It’s the kind of place you don’t forget, where you’ll make the long haul out because you know it’s worth it.
What to order: One of the aforementioned sixty plus beers from around the world! Two pulled pork sandwiches for $5 and a side of onion rings.
Regular tip: Help yourself to Hershey’s kisses on the bar, because the Brooklyn Ice House loves you.
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.
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.
What it is: The Double Windsor is a mainstay in South Brooklyn, as famous for its beer selection (and growlers) as it is for its burgers. With a gorgeous long bar, spacious interior and table sections, it’s long been a great spot for anyone grabbing a drink after some quality time spent in Prospect Park, whether after a Celebrate Brooklyn concert or aninformal frisbee game in the Long Meadow.
Why we love it: Though it doesn’t have an outdoor area, there’s something that says “summer” about Double Windsor. It could be all those trips to try any of the 14 rotating craft beers on tap, or to grab some food after a concert at the bandshell, or Prospect Park in spitting distance from the front door. This is the kind of place you head over to for a couple rounds after a hard run with Team in Training, or just to get your day drink on, knowing you won’t have any issues getting through their food menu.
Who to bring: Anyone who made it down to the park to hang with you beforehand. Or really, any fun group of friends who may not all know each other. The Double Windsor has a fun “the more the merrier” vibe to it with a combination of ample long, communal tables with wait service and a good standing area.
What to order: The burger. It has a reputation that precedes it as just one of the more solid burgers in the area. And of course, the sriracha honey chicken wings are probably not a bad bet.
Fun fact: Double Windsor has a trivia night the first Monday of every month, with “boozy” prizes. Given that that they’re a bar, that’s a good sign you have a chance to try some of their quality beers for free. -Eric Silver
What it is: A smart, red-ceilinged English football pub that opens on Saturday mornings at 10 and Sundays at 11.
Why we love it: This bar is about football and beer. Period. Plus, one of the best happy hours going: from 2 to 7, every drink in the joint is $5.
Who to bring: Early risers and people who understand what this means: “showing all Premier League and Championship League Football.” Also, pecuniary Playboy fans: the bathroom has a floor mosaic made of pennies and walls covered with a collage of old Playboy covers.
What to order: A creme brulée stout or a sour ale from the small but exotically curated list of European favorites and American craft brews. To soak up that early morning beer, there are also pies: beef, Thai chicken and buffalo chicken.
Fun fact: Owner Jim Grimason named the pub after Highbury Stadium, the former home of the Arsenal, the football team he’s supported since he was a kid. “That stadium opened in 1913, and I opened the Highbury Pub 100 years later,” Grimason says.—Faye Penn
What it is: Immediately off the Montrose stop, this bar with walls lined with tools serves up great beers and cocktails with a slammin’ happy hour.
Why we love it: This bar is really a great part of the emerging Montrose stop scene. We love its rotating food and drinks (once… there were jello shots, like classy jello shots, which do exist) which you can stay updated on by following them on Facebook.
Who to bring: It’s casual enough to just stop in by yourself after work but has the ability to supply the ambience to grab a drink with a date. It’s really a super comfortable and inviting bar.
What to order: Tradesman carries a bunch of local beers so ask the bartender to recommend one of their nearby brews.
Fun Fact: Tradesman host a bunch of ever changing events like pizza trivia, special DJ nights and rotating happy hours. Follow them on Facebook to stay in the booze loop.—Emily Berninger