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: Fort Defiance is a locally-sourced breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch bar and restaurant with a strong New Orleans bent (owner St. John Frizell lived and worked there for many years). It’s a welcoming neighborhood hangout that plenty of non Red Hook locals will make the trek for again and again.
Why we love it: In addition to serving up delicious food and drink every day of the week, the Fort offers nightly specials: Monday-Friday is oyster happy hour from 3-7; Monday is burger night; and Thursdays is all Tiki with “The Sunken Harbor Club,” featuring creative tropical drink specials (Samoan Fog Cutter anyone?) and a Polynesian-inspired food menu. It’s an establishment that equally favors New Orleans and Brooklyn, making it a safe-haven for NOLA expats and Brooklyn diehards alike.
What to order: Choose from a mix of local craft beers, like Sixpoint and Other Half, and New Orleans favorites Abita and Bayou Teche, on tap. Creole red beans on toast is a NOLA-inspired brunch favorite—pair it with perfect brunch cocktails Ramos Gin Fizz or a Bourbon Milk punch. At lunch or dinner, definitely try the lauded chicken liver pate with a Sazerac. And don’t forget the aforementioned Thursday night Sunken Harbor Club, where you can order tiki drinks such as the “Gunga Din,” a g ‘n t with cardamom and a twist.
Regular tip: Fort Defiance is named for Red Hook’s Revolutionary War stronghold where General Washington and his troops shot down British boats in the harbor during the Battle of Brooklyn.
What it is: A cozy Red Hook staple with maritime decor and anytime fun.
Why we love it: At Hope and Anchor, a bottle selection of 15 craft beers accompanies a menu of comfort food and burgers like you’ve never seen ‘em. There are parties to attend, parties to throw (you can rent out the whole bar for $25 a person) and events like drag queen karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights that is nothing short of, as the locals say, “amazing.” Hope & Anchor is a place for the nostalgic, the easy going, the queer friendly and the generally decent human beings of Brooklyn who either live near or are enthusiastic enough to travel to this fun-loving apple of Red Hook’s eye.
What to order: You really can’t go wrong with a burger here, and here’s why–you’ve got options. Beef, salmon, tofu, lamb, or duck, there’s tons of fry to try. Lots of veggie options, too. And, if you throw back one or five too many of those bottled beers, come back in the morning for the Hangover Helper, a breakfast burrito with all the fixins.