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: 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: Clinton Hill craft beer stronghold, in the top 12 of Zagat’s 2014 list “Hottest New Beer Bars in the USA.”
Why we love it: At Hops Hill, beer is the main affair. There’s nothing to distract you from the mission of drinking good beer, plenty of it. Serious foam-heads will feel like they’ve finally arrived. Host to regular tap takeovers and themed drinking events like ‘Imperial Stout night.’
What to order: Pick from 12 constantly rotating taps, 53 bottles and 11 cans. Expect to see local NYC breweries like Single Cut and Barrier Brewing represented among American crafts like Evil Twin and Thirsty Dog along with an assortment of international selections. Whiskey-wise, the Hill boasts 80 different high end and small batch bourbons, ryes and single malts. Charcuterie and cheese plates will help you soak it all in.
Regular tip: Try one of the beer cocktails!—like the Nightcall, made with bourbon, imperial Stout, honey syrup and mole bitters—to mix it up.
What it is: A candlelit restaurant/bar that has a French feel while toting a North American menu.
Why we love it: Not only are we a sucker for the idea of an $80-$150 bar tab prize during its Tuesday trivia nights, but Lola BKLYN has vibes for both sides of you — the side of you that wants a small romantic night out, and the real you which wants to watch tv and drink beer.
Who to bring: A good place for a date night out or a place to pop in with a friend. Parents also welcome.
What to order: We are in love with the $13 Monday beer-and-burger combo which for us falls in competition with the $15 all-you-can-eat mussels on Thursdays.
Fun fact: Lola BKLYN has rotating comedy and trivia nights along with a bunch tv showings, recently TwinPeaks and Girls.—Emily Berninger
What it is: A 50s-inspired bar with expertly created cocktails and a menu of eight seasonally rotating draft beers.
Why we love it: The bar serves up a bunch of things in addition to great cocktails by super knowledgeable, but down-to-earth, bartenders. It also hosts movie screenings, event screenings and even a photo booth.
Who to bring: We love to bring people who have never been to Clinton Hill to Hanson Dry. It is a beautiful dark bar with great drinks. There are large booths you can try and snag if you need a place to go out with a group without wanting to have to scream across the table.
What to order: Their Lion’s Breath is one of our favorites as we are a sucker for St. Germaine and hot sauce. Not your thing? Just tell the bartender what you are in the mood for and prepare to be impressed.
Fun Fact: Follow them on Facebook and stay updated on their “Tonight’s Cocktail.” This drink of the night is a constantly changing cocktail that will set you back only 6 bucks.—Emily Berninger