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 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.
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 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 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 favorite dog-lovers’ spot in South Williamsburg loved by locals for its cheap drinks, back patio and dive vibe.
Why we love it: Luckydog was loved most of all for its dog-friendly policy, but even after the health code crackdown, its customers remain loyal. Why? Because, like man’s best friend, you can rely on Luckydog—it’ll fetch you drinks, quell your loneliness and lower your blood pressure* while slinging a well-rounded selection of inexpensive drinks, guitar-heavy Jukebox songs and DGAF attitudes from the staff and regulars.
*this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.
What to order: A Brooklyn Lager and shot of well whiskey.
Regular tip: The bar’s interior is relatively small and gets packed on weekends, so go early or prepare to practice patience when ordering your drinks.
What it is: A Southern/BBQ-style restaurant and bar with a handsome beer selection.
Why we love it: This isn’t your typical Southern BBQ joint. With two chefs hailing from different regions and cooking backgrounds, the dishes take on a classic style in a new light.
Food highlights include Fat Boy Fridays, burgers of the week, a recently revamped wing recipe and meat smoked in-house in some seriously rare varieties (more on that later). The atmosphere is sophisticated and friendly, the beer list impressively long, and the whiskey selection worth the time for more than a few tastes.
What to order: Signature classics like the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese are always good options, but if you’re looking for a unique experience, try the Boar Belly Platter, Stuffed Bison or Spicy Elk. The availability of these is limited, so call ahead to see what’s in season. For vegetarians, the tofu burgers and salads are undoubtedly tasty, too.
Regular tip: The “secret sauces” are not to be missed among hot sauce junkies; “The Scorcher” and “The Sweetie” are equally daring additions to your wings, burger or fries.
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.