What it is: A cozy spot dedicated to art, food, drinks, and great live music in the heart of Crown Heights.
Why we love it: We come for the drinks and the tapas-style bar food, but stay for the nightly live music. Owned by a chef/ resterateur and a successful music promoter, this bar/ restaurant/ music venue is the best of all three worlds.
What to order: If you’re a seafood fan, order a heaping helping of mussels or a highly recommended serving of shrimp and grits. If you’re not a seafood fan, order any of their amazing tapas-style small plates. Be sure to check out their long list of beers and wines for a good pairing (or, if you’re like us, something cheap.)
Regular tip: Check their Facebook before you visit for a list of nightly live music acts.
What it is: Retro drinkerie and neighborhood hangout on the border of Crown Heights and PLG, from the folks behind Hanson Dry.
Why we love it: It’s a locals bar that combines throwback decor—the owner and his wife’s WWII era family photos on the wall, an antique cash register behind the bar—with playful diversions such as pinball, a photo booth and a gigantic backyard that is just begging to be filled with drinkers. A place where you can be a sophisticated adult and a rowdy teen at the same time: cocktail in one hand, the other pulling the pinball plunger.
What to order: The mantra that guides their cocktail menu is classic simplicity, with drinks that boast no more than three main ingredients each. Order the signature “Branch Ofc” of Jameson, lime and bitters. Beer in frosted mugs—choose from IPA, Pilsner or Stout—also sound pretty damn good to us. They serve pressed sandwiches with Utz chips and Tate’s cookies, the perfect done-up bag lunch.
Regular tip: $4 cans of Schaefer are in stock as a nod to the Brooklyn Dodgers—and the nearby site of the old Ebbets Field—because Schaefer was the official beer sponsor of the team while they were still in BK.
What it is: A Brooklyn beer hall from the founders of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, with food from Asia Dog, Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, Pizza Moto and Ramen Burger. Featuring draft beers from Other Half, Barrier, Peekskill, along with cool bottles and cans from all over the world; Parlor Coffee, Dough donuts and a springy outdoor courtyard.
Why we love it: Sometimes you want to eat popcorn at your cozy little bar on the corner and sometimes you want to inhale the collective energy of a Brooklyn moment. At Berg’n, the borough’s real estate and industrial ambitions collide with its ramenburger culture to produce a post-modern food-and-drink court where you can hatch your own get-rich conquests. Or just drink beer and play Metallica pinball.
What to order: You can’t really go wrong with all the chow here, but Asia Dogs ($4.50 to $5.50) are a personal favorite. The Luke overfloweth with beef chili topped by Thai basil and pickled onions, and the Vinh is a mashup between a hotdog and a Banh Mi.
Regular tip: In a Village Voice interview last year with the founders, Eric Demby says that Smorgasburg vendors are subject to his partner Jonathan Butler’s curious food whims: “Jonathan’s a picky eater — he doesn’t like pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms — so those people never get in,” Demby says.
Why we love it: It’s a great spot to stop in on any day or night of the week, but theykeep it fresh and fun with weekly activities, like trivia on Tuesdays, the new cocktail series “Wednesdays” and BYOV Thursdays. A projector screen comes in handy for the occasional movie night.
What to order: Pick from 8 rotating craft draft lines and a food menu of snacks and sandwiches, like a Dogfish Head pickle plate with mustard, or their take on the BLT, the “SALT” (speck, avocado, lettuce and tomato). Stay late and take the “Last Train Home,” their signature cocktail made with bourbon, bitters, Aperol and Baska snaps (Swedish bitters made from botanicals).
Regular tip: Grab a seat by the window for some prime Crown Heights people watching.
What it is: Doubling as a beer shop and a taproom, this cozy haven is the Crown Heights go-to for beer lovers looking to pick up a special bottle to take home, or to sip and stay. Host to frequent tap takeovers and monthly bottle swaps, plus weekly Tuesday trivia.
Why we love it: With low lighting and mellow tunes, it’s a chill spot to play Big Boggle with a friend (or a date!) while partaking in an oat soda from a label you’ve never tried. Friendly and knowledgeable bartenders are the gatekeepers of the vast selection of brews, so don’t be afraid to ask for a taste. In warmer months, take it out to the back garden.
What to order: Select from over 200 craft bottles (to stay or to go), or 16 rotating taps featuring local microbrews like Threes Brewing and Other Half and out-of-state favorites like Bell’s and Founders. Order grilled cheese or Pelzer’s pretzels for a snack.
Regular tip: “Covenhoven,” while we’d like to imagine means a lair for beer-brewing witches, is actually the name of the Dutch folk who once owned the land where the bar resides.