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: Videology is a video store and screening room-turned bar. They have a large library of films, a solid drink selection, and a friendly atmosphere with plenty of regulars.
Why we love it: Are you itching for a Mary Kate and Ashley sing-a-long? Boozy Jazzercise workout? Notebook screening with chocolate and tissues provided? Videology’s way ahead of you. They have an event every single night, including Tuesday trivia nights, and play the staff’s pick of movies in the bar all day. TV-show themed happy hours are each day from 5 to 7. Sunday is TV night so this is a great spot to watch shows on a screen bigger than your laptop’s. This is a great place for anyone who likes motion pictures. The events are a solid opportunity to make some new friends, come ready to mingle.
What to order: There are six beers on tap with a focus on local brews, lagers, and stouts. It’s only appropriate that you pair this with some popcorn. Every day from 5-11, El Gato Nacho is there serving nachos.
Regular tip: All the bartenders went to film school, so if you want to spend hours dissecting Ghostbusters they’re ready.
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: The Diamond is a Greenpoint staple that’s chill, out of the salmon stream of the drinking fish and it exudes an obvious passion for selecting and educating patrons about rare, interesting beers from around the world and drinkable domestics from stateside sellers.
Why we love it: A comprehensive list of eight drafts, a cask and 30 bottles and cans classified by strength are neatly described and enthusiastically served by the bar’s owner and bartenders. Expertly selected high-alcohol and other rare brews are complemented by 8 or 10 sessionable beers at all times, so try out a strong one and stay for several more. Other perks are good music (the real rock ‘n’ roll, not the other kind–in fact, they’ve been named as having one of the 8 best jukeboxes in Brookyln), fun games that aren’t cheesy to play (shuffleboard!) and a back patio where you can sit in a gondola.
Who to bring: Bring a beer lover who likes a quiet spot on a weekday, or a crowded spot on the weekend. You brainy friends for trivia nights that benefits BARC and are hosted by drag sensation, Gusty Winds.
What to get: If you’re looking to dine, there are Tuck Shop pies and boiled peanuts on the reg but look out for food pairing nights, showcasing chef events or mac and cheese competitions. Yup, mac and cheese competitions.
The beer menu is like a little encyclopedia and trying new brews from around the world never gets old. Instead of going for your usual favorite, try a sour or an extra special bitter and let your palate be surprised by how inoffensive these seemingly aggressive beers can actually be. Or, wash down a pot pie with a few sessions from the 4.5%-or-below menu.
Regular tip: The owner, Dave, is into skiing and skiing with friends and organizes trips to Plattekill Mountain for $45 bucks, including carpool rides and a two-hour free open bar afterward at, you guessed it, The Diamond.
Why we love it: It’s not too common to walk into a bar and immediately feel like you are one of the crew’s gang. You can go in by yourself and be guaranteed a good conversation with a bartender, or stop in with your friends who, “just wanna dance” on Saturday night for its DJ and dance floor in the back… you could even take your momma out for their Saturday and Sunday brunch. Catch up on your favorite shows here with HBO sunday night screenings.
What to order: Ask for a recommendation from its 30+ rotating craft beers. If you are hungry and finishing up your night, you should note their all-night snack menu totes deviled eggs, cheese and the works. Try a $1 taco from Monday to Friday. Weekend brunch comes with a bloody mary, complete with a meat straw and blue cheese stuffed olives.
Regular tip: The Graham is home to what it claims is the oldest operating pinball machine in New York City: a 1978 Playboy game.
What it is: A pinball-lover’s paradise that serves up the good brews and good tunes while you bang those pleasure machines.
Why we love it: Because we’ll take pinball over Big Buck Hunter any day, and Jackbar offers up a pinball selection that’s hard to find this side of the Jersey shore. The 9 pinball machines come from owner Jon Ehrlich’s personal collection, and range from old classics to brand new, state-of-the-art models. If you’re not into the silver ball, the bar also offers up board games and shows old movies on the TV.
What to order: Try one of the 18 draft lines or 15 bottles and cans; upgrade anything to a beer-and-a-shot happy meal for $2. You can munch on some old-school Jiffy Pop here too.
Regular tip: The pinball machines come from the personal collection of owner Jon Erhlich, who also owns Reciprocal, the Manhattan skate shop that doubles as a pinball arcade.
What it is: A neighborhood bar in forever-transient Williamsburg, South 4th Bar that transitions with the seamlessness of a Transformer from quiet and productivity-enhancing coffice to loud and populated drinking spot.
Why we love it: You can spend the entire day here. Start at 7am and take advantage of the free wifi and cheap coffee to get your work done, and then sidle up to the bar and relax when the regulars start coming in around 4 or 5. And don’t bother leaving for lunch, just ask the bartenders which spot in their full menu book will best satisfy your hunger. Kings of Karaoke starting on Thursdays is just one more reason to stick around. Trying to get acclimated to the neighborhood? Bring yourself, the friendly cast of regulars provide the closest thing to Cheers that you’ll find in Williamsburg.
What to order: Their $5 beer and shot special is a cheap complement to their coffee if you want to change speeds.While things are icy, take advantage of hot toddies, but once things warm up around here, try their totally refreshing Hucklberry Vodka Lemonade..
Regular tip: South 4th is the perfect bar for creative types, offering an absolutely stacked Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar every Saturday and Sunday for just $5, and holding a yearly chili cook off around the same time as the Super Bowl.
What it is: Skinny Dennis is a self-described honkey-tonk, a country bar with a warm divey vibe. The brick and wood panel walls are covered in Western memorabilia and there’s free live country music every night.
Why we love it: Skinny Dennis really commits to its country atmosphere. You’ll spot a mounted boar’s head, a 1984 F-100 pickup truck seat, a 100-CD jukebox, and, behind the bar, a haunting portrait of Willie Nelson. They offer 18 draft lines of mostly American craft beers, in addition to a selection of whiskeys. Skinny Dennis is most famous for its free nightly live country music, so come prepared to dance.
Who to bring: Bring your homesick friend from Omaha, bring a crowd that’s ready to two step, bring your roommate who would be an Olympian if the Olympic Committee would just finally recognize shuffleboard bowling.
What to order: If 18 drafts aren’t enough, Skinny Dennis’s most popular drink is Willie’s Frozen Coffee, made with bourbon and coffee from Oslo Coffee up the block. There’s also Bourbon Sweet Tea, served in a 24 oz mason jar, naturally.
Fun fact: The bar is named for Skinny Dennis Sanchez, a country singer from the Los Angeles area who stood at 6’11” and weighed 135 pounds.
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.
What it is: The Bed-Stuy piece of the growing beer empire from team behind Bar Great Harry, Owl Farm and Mission Dolores, this dark and cozy neighborhood spot offers more of the crew’s typically great beer selection.
Why we love it: They’ve got pinball! But if that’s not enough, Glorietta Baldy hosts 12 rotating tap beers that make it a perfect spot for both beer snobs and people who just want a beer. Past the great tap choices, they also rotate through rare, limited edition bottle-only beers. You can fuel your journey through all this beer with grub from Bklyn Burro ever first Friday. Low lighting and friendly knowledgeable bartenders, plus the pinball for flirtatious smack talking, make this a great date spot.
What to order: Forget wine or champagne: the 750ml limited edition bottles are perfect if you’re out celebrating an accomplishment. If it’s just another night out drinking, you won’t go wrong with any of the draft choices or the $6 beer and shot special.
Regular tip: Glorietta Baldy is named after the Glorietta Baldy mountain bike trail, found in New Mexico.