Alchemy Bar

Alchemy Restaurant & Tavern
56 5th Ave. (5th Ave. and Bergen St.), Park Slope

Facebook • Twitter • Website

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.

The Gate

The Gate
321 Fifth Ave. at 3rd St, Park Slope
718-768-4329

Website  Facebook  Twitter

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.

Swim in liquor at the Sea Witch Tavern

Swim in liquor at the Sea Witch Tavern

Sea Witch Tavern
703 5th Ave (21st & 22nd)
South Slope

Website • Instagram  Facebook • Twitter

What is it: South Slope stand-out with unique seafaring décor and a maritime-tinged food menu that specializes in fried clams.

Why we love it: Sea Witch gains major points for its mythical name alone. But the bar manages to pull off a theme without buckling under its own kitsch. Highlights include a behind-the-bar saltwater aquarium and a large backyard featuring other sea souvenirs. Add to that a thoughtful menu and a kitchen with its own dedicated window, and you’ve got the kind of place that we could imagine Captain Ahab taking a comely wench for, like, the third or fourth date.

What to order: Select from 20 taps of American craft beers from the likes of Bells, Founder’s, Sixpoint and others. The $5 beer and shot special won’t disappoint. To eat, the fried clam belly sandwich is probably the way to go here, though they also have specials that grab your eye. The buffalo fried oysters with bleu cheese are pretty decadent and amazing. Obviously those who appreciate seafood will enjoy Sea Witch but their landlubber fare (especially the hamburgers) has been developing a stellar reputation.

Regular tip: The original Sea Witch was known as the fastest clipper ship to leave from NYC for China during the tea trade. It set a round trip record to Hong Kong of 74 days. So this bar really has fast food.

Enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails at Sea Witch with the Brooklyn Cocktail Book!

freddy's bar

What lurks behind the door tonight? Something cool we bet. Photo by Sarah Bibi

Freddy’s Bar and Backroom   
627 5th Ave., (between 17th and 18th Streets), South Slope, 718-768-0131

Facebook • Twitter • Website

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.

mary's bar 1

Mary’s Bar
708 5th Ave. at 22nd, South Slope
718-499-2175

FacebookTwitter

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.

04/15/15 2:00pm
skylark

Skylark, via Facebook

Skylark
477 Fifth Ave. (between 11th and 12th) South Slope
347-227-8186

Facebook • Website

What it is: A popular and inviting joint with floral prints, retro-weird art, snug coaches and a dimly lit grandma’s living room aesthetic.

Why we love it: The shabby chic charm that feels like stepping back into the 70s is hard to resist, and so is the drink menu, which pours retro cocktails like the Old fashioned and snacks like tater tots and a waldorf salad. You’ll find old-school pinball in the back and DJ sets on the weekends.

What to order: The 14 drafts include five that rotate from choice kegs, local and rare beers, while the rest feature standards like Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, Six Point Sweet Action and Allagash White. Try a signature cocktail with a sassy name like the “Salty Studebaker” of basil-infused vodka, fresh grapefruit and a salted rim. The kitchen that’s open until midnight on the weekends serves up 70s themed grub like swaddled hogs (cocktail weenies in flaky dough) and cheesy tots.

Regular tip: The bar keeps the 70s theme going for its beer and shot specials: a Cheech and Chong is a Tecate and Espolon tequila; a Dirk Diggler is a Coors tall boy and a shot of Dickel rye. Check out country and delta blues music nights on Wednesdays and vinyl Saturday afternoon too.

Skylark is a featured bar in the 2015 Cocktail Book, on sale now!

04/10/15 1:00pm

high dive

High Dive 243 Fifth Ave. (Garfield Place and Carroll Street) Park Slope 718-788-0401

Facebook • Website

What it is: A loungy neighborhood hangout with games, free popcorn and a killer jukebox that provides a merciful respite from the breast-feeding crowd that frequents the neighborhood.

Why we love it: Not only is High Dive a Brokelyn Beer Book four-peat featured bar, it’s only gotten better over the years. The custom curated jukebox full of mixed CDs includes a gamut of good drinking music: Big Star, The Kinks, The Pixies, and the Modern Lovers. Oh, and it’s got a big stack of board games and some pinball machines. We’re suckers for pinball.

What to order: Try one of the 19 rotating draft beers or the standard PBR or Yuengling, which are only $3 during happy hour. The free popcorn station has grown to include its own condiments rack and bar snacks now include savory pies for $6 and sausage rolls for $4.

Regular tip: In the spirit of giving, High Dive has a lovely “buy a friend a drink” board, where you can prepay for your pals’ tab. High Dive is also one of the few bars to be included every time we do a Beer Book, so show them some extra love while you’re there!