If you’re like me, you might like to pretend your birthday’s not a big deal, but you’re only pretending. That marker on the slow crawl towards eternal rest at Green-Wood Cemetery only happens but once a year. Don’t you want to ring it in with 30 or 40 of your closest friends and maybe a few beer-and-shot deals? But, alas, this is Brooklyn, and not every bar is equipped to handle an impromptu visit from you and all your Tri-State area Facebook friends. Some places require you to book space in advance, for instance, making you wade through deadlines and hidden reservation fees. Why bother with those when you can check out these five bars that have plenty of room and will reserve space for you for free?
Bushwick Country Club
618 Grand St., Williamsburg
One of the best birthday deals in the city, Bushwick Country Club will buy your drinks all night if you show up with at least 15 people. Bring a group of 30 or more, and the bar will dole out free hot dogs to your whole crew. BCC’s got lots of campy ways to celebrate, like a photo booth and a six-hole mini-golf course crowned with a PBR windmill. Plus, while you, blessed Birthday Girl/Boy, may drink for free, $3 tallboys and various beer-and-shot deals ($7 for a tallboy, shot and pickleback being our particular favorite) will keep your friends pretty happy, too. No need to reserve space in advance, but you might want to give the bar a heads up a few hours before you plan to arrive.
4 Berry St., Williamsburg
Yeah, you’ll have to fight off some Brooks Brothers-clad, borough-hopping Manhattanites who think that bridge decal on the wall is so Brooklyn, but between the bar’s Belgian and German beers, massive indoor space and sweet rooftop, it’s a worthy sacrifice. Berry Park can handle walk-in groups of 50 people or less, so you’re free to bring your whole crew with you, and if you’re seriously rolling deep, they’ll give you a free reservation and keep your name at the door to ensure all your guests get in. Drafts like Palm Ale and Hofbrau Dunkel run $7-$10, and if you throw a weekday shindig you can get the five draft Beer Flight sampler for $13, a small price to pay for rubbing elbows with all those bros.
557 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Matchless’ back room is prime for mid-size birthday gatherings, and they’ll accept free reservations for groups on a case by case basis, as long as you email their booking team a week or two in advance; the bar can get crowded fast, so make sure to reserve ahead if you don’t want to fight off a bunch of grumpy tattooed dudes for the space. Major bonus for you and your guests if your birthday falls on a Two-For-Tuesday, because drinks are BOGO ‘til close. After you’ve had a few you’ll all feel better about splurging on $11 mac and cheese once the drunk munchies set in.
The Counting Room
44 Berry St., Williamsburg
If you’re looking to mark another “adult” milestone with one of those classy, exposed-brick-and-wine kind of affairs, this semi-stylish spot will let you make a reservation for 10 to 30 guests at no cost (they recommend you call at least a week or two in advance). For larger parties, you can book private event space for a fee, but the bar boasts two floors that can hold up to 80 people each, so feel free to roll in with all your friends as long as you show up early. Drink options are sometimes a little steep for a Brokester and his or her buddies: cocktails run about $8 and wine $10, but their $8 beer-and-a-shot deal will buy at least a few rounds worth of expected birthday booziness.
273 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
Smith Street’s resident tiki bar has a big backyard and back room, and they’re happy to handle large impromptu parties of up to 40 people, but expect space to be limited if you show up with an army at 11 on a Saturday night. They can also reserve you a spot for free up to a week in advance if you plan to come before 7, or if you can book a date on a slower weekday. Plan on getting birthday-wasted fast, because well drinks and beer-shot specials are always $5, plus the bar does large five-person mason jar cocktails for $35 and fiery four-person scorpion bowls for $26. Try not to throw up waiting for the G after doing a dozen flaming shots though.