What it is: A rocker joint with loud music, cheap beer and ample seating inside and out back.
Why we love it: The music is loud, the bartenders are friendly and the cheap beer comes in a chalice.
What to order: It’s hard to pass up a $3 Bud in a goblet, so go ahead and get that out of the way. Pickled eggs are a customer favorite and a nice (albeit somewhat strange) alternative to pretzels.
Regular tip: The Endless Summer truck may not be in the backyard any longer, but you don’t have to worry about going hungry at Rocka Rolla. The bar serves up savory pies from Dub Pies, including a pie/mug of beer/chips deal for $9.
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 it is: All-things-Florida-themed shuffleboard court with a full bar and rotating food trucks.
Why we love it: For those of us who spent grueling family “vacations” with our grandparents in retirement homes across Florida, the prospect of going to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Court might sound like a major trigger. Fear not! Going to the spacious Royal Palms is like the real kind of Florida vacation, heretofore depicted in daydreams and vintage postcards: aqua colored everything, flamingo wall paper in the bathrooms, shuffleboard puns and cabanas. This venue is best enjoyed in small groups so you can take advantage of your hour of court time and still have a couple people on your team’s side to chill with. Note that the courts are long and you play next to an opposing team member. It’s a great way to have some flirty competition with a work crush, while literally being on the same team as your conveniently far away boss. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to play, as a staff member will give you a complementary tutorial. Weekly activities range from drag queen bingo to a new monthly Funk & Soul Dance Party (finally, South Brooklyn)! Check their Facebook and Twitter periodically for one-off parties that are usually free. Even if you don’t shuffle, it’s still a great place to bring a pal and escape the cramped and pretentious bars of NYC.
What to order: As you would expect, Royal Palms specializes in fun, fruity cocktails. However, they have several craft beers on tap for your Beer Book pleasure. One of the most unusual and delightful features of this space is that the nosh is provided by a different food truck every day. A member of their delightful waitstaff will serve you drinks, so you’ll never miss a second of the game.
Regular tip: League nights are Monday and Tuesday, so don’t expect to reserve a court! Also, the guy on the scooter is a co-owner, so no snickering.
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.
What it is: This groovy, Marrakech-inflected bar in Clinton Hill by Andy McDowell of Pete’s Candy Shop features food and beer with an Eastern vibe. It holds events almost every night that truly run the gamut. Go in and relax with a beer or play some of the provided games with friends.
Why we love it: The detail that went in to the bar, which is modeled after a vintage airstream camper, is hugely impressive. It provides a beautiful space to enjoy the nightly free music including their Friday night all-female DJ line up. Get some friends together to have some beers or cocktails while watching CAMPISTA featuring members of Antibalas and Fela Kuti every Tuesday night.
What to order: The Hitachino with a mushroom bao is totally on point. They also have a great happy hour until 7pm Monday through Saturday and happy hour specials all day on Sunday that rock with $3 wells, $4 drafts/bottles and $4 baos.
Regular tip: The name of the bar comes from a term for a VW van with a split front windshield.
What it is: A welcome addition to the growing Windsor Terrace bar and restaurant roster from the guys behind Abilene and Lowlands.
Why we love it: Aside from the fact that it literally could not be closer to the G and F trains at Fort Hamilton (proximity to Prospect Park makes for convenient Saturday afternoon refueling), this nod to one of our favorite mountain ranges is down-to-earth, homey and date-friendly, even if your date is of the parents’ night out variety.
Achieving much more than looking woodsy and serving good drinks (though that would be enough for us), the Adirondack is dedicated to serving hard-to-find New York brews from Saratoga to Port Jefferson, some recent selections ranging from the Hudson Valley’s Newburgh Brewing Hoptron Smoked Gose to Holbrook, Long Island’s Spider Bite Boris the Spider. On top of supporting the Empire State’s resurgent craft brewing community, the bar is also adamant about not running out of Genny Cream Ale in cans or Labatt Blue, “an honorary beer of upstate New York,” according to owner Paul Hamill.
What to order: With twelve rotating taps and an all-New York draft list, you’d be remiss not to try a well selected winter warmer like Port Jeff’s Coffee Porter Nitro, or a contract brewer’s latest hop achievement like Rushing Duck’s War Elephant Double IPA. The bar also serves hot soft pretzels from Pelzer’s of Crown Heights and sandwiches from HBH in Carroll Gardens—keep it classic with a Classic Pretzel and Classic Grilled Cheese.
Don’t overlook their cocktail menu of classics including a margarita with St Germaine for a refreshing, herbal twist, and signature drinks with nods to upstate NY, like grown-up creamsicle the “Fort Orange Julius” of Stoli Vanilla, fresh grapefruit and Saranac Orange Cream Soda. Order “The Adirondack Life,” an Old-Fashioned made with Rittenhouse Rye and sweetened with Alaskan birch syrup, and you’ll really feel like you’re living it.
Regular tip: There happens to be a vintage Pac Man machine in the back, so if you’re waiting on a date or socializing isn’t your thing, go reacquaint yourself with Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
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: Nitehawk Cinema is independent movie theatre meets cozy local bar. It features three small theatres that show anything from new blockbusters to old cult classics. The upstairs theatres feature tableside food and drink service while the bar downstairs has plenty of events that keep it bustling throughout the week.
Why we love it: Beside the great atmosphere, Nitehawk’s bar has plenty of free programming such as Monday night Simpsons Club screenings, Movie Trivia Night, VHS Vault, and Artist Film Club. In addition to the usual specials, Nitehawk serves food and cocktails inspired by films shown at the theatre. In honor of August: Osage County, they served Eat the F*cking Fish (catfish, blackeyed peas, and kale) and hard Sweet Tea, while Dallas Buyers Club inspired Support Group Coffee Doughnuts and spiked Border Crossing Coffee.
Who to bring: The bar is dim and cozy, a great place to bring a date or small group. Movie trivia buffs and general Simpsons fans will particularly love it here.
What to order: Nitehawk has eight draft lines and a wide range of rotating bottle specials, with a focus on local breweries. The first weekend of every month is Country Brunchin’, which features Southern food, live country music, and a film set down south.
Fun fact: Nitehawk managed to get the New York State ban on serving alcohol in movie theatres overturned after its owner hired a lawyer and lobbyist to convince Governor Cuomo to repeal the law.
Full Circle Bar 318 Grand St. (between Havemeyer and Marcy)
What it is: The national home of Brewskee-ball, the first-ever national competitive skeeball league, with an epic canned beer selection and no shortage of good times.
Why we love it: It’s a mix of Brooklyn cool and boardwalk fun. Even if you’re not on a Skee-ball league you can roll your luck on one of the four Skee-ball lanes. the fun vibe at the bar is helped by the decorations made of reclaimed old skeeball machine parts and a staff so dedicated to the game they’ve got Skee-ball tattoos. Tuesdays and Thursdays are some of the best cheap nights out in all the land: not only is Skee-ball free those nights, but you get a hot dog or pretzel with every beer purchase! If you live locally, take advantage of the special “sip codes” nights every month, which is an open bar for people in the Williamsburg zips. Bring boardwalk-loving buddies, competitive friends, lovers of canned beer, pun-masters for creating clever Skee-ball team names (ie: M Skee A, the Beaskee Boys, etc.)
What to order: Try one of the copious amounts of rotating canned beers selection or the all-the-time specials like a $6 Genny and whiskey (aka Whiskee).
Regular tip: The Full Circle gang is responsible for all sorts of summery fun shenanigans, including the annual National Skee-Ball Championship tournament which takes over Knitting Factory, cornhole contests and a summer long deal that lets you hop on a bus and check out a Brooklyn Cyclones game (with some beer included) for a low price. The name of the bar is a reference to a skee-ball term where a player sinks all 9 balls in the 40 point slot.—Tim Donnelly
What it is: An elegant and casual hideaway (think candlelight and frozen pizzas) nestled between the Graham Ave. and Grand St. L train stations.
Why we love it: Matt Torrey’s balances quieting down and turning up among the late 20s to mid-30s set in East Williamsburg and Bushwick. Whether you’re in the mood for a slow-sipped cocktail or a few frothy pints, Matt Torrey’s has your back.
The bar boasts 15 New York State craft beers on tap along with a variety of bottles and cans, food until 3am (meat and cheese plates, pressed sandwiches) and sleek decor that’s good for a meeting, a date or a group outing. Wooden accents lend to the sophisticated atmosphere, with floors made of antique oak reclaimed from a 100-year-old Virginia farm house and floor-to-ceiling windows providing a corner view of the street where no one’s looking in.
What to order: On tap, you’re likely golden with a Sixpoint, Empire or Southern Tier–the draft selection features new brews from around the state, so you’ll want to check the menu for the latest offerings. A worldly bottle selection includes several Hitachino ales hailing from Ibaraki, Japan and Innis & Gunn’s Oak-Aged Ale from Edinburgh, Scotland.
Regular tip: The bar serves free bagels on Saturdays and Sundays, along with $4 bloody Mary’s and mimosas.