Bed Stuy/ Bushwick

Six cheap-date spots worth a try

As the financial equivalent of swine flu ails the economy, the awkward line, “So, uh, you want to go to dinner sometime?” should be a carefully calculated inquiry. It can be a little less calculated if you pick one of these half-dozen bars and restaurants, which we came up with through the highly scientific method of asking people who were out and about in Brooklyn last weekend.

Franklin Park Bar photo by Ultraclay.

Franklin Park Bar, 618 St. John’s Place (Crown Heights/Prospect Heights–there’s a bit of controversy) (718) 975-0196
“Franklin Park Bar has a lot of variety with two different bar spaces. I really like the one underground that’s more of a lounge-type scene.  It’s also really an event space as much as a bar, with readings and live DJs.” —Patricia, Crown Heights

Tip-Top Bar photo by Dave Cook.
Tip-Top photo by Dave Cook.

Tip-Top Bar, 432 Franklin Ave., Bedford Stuyvesant, (718) 857-9744
“Tip-Top has a real old school feel. Beers are $3 a bottle, mixed drinks are $4. It used to be an old illegal after-hours club, now they serve food, but there are only two things on the menu: fried fish and fried chicken. The patio is a great spot for lounging on warm summer nights.” —Kyle Huebbee, Crown Heights

Photo courtesy of Madiba.

Madiba Restaurant, 195 DeKalb Ave., 718-855-9190
“It’s an amazing South African restaurant right by Fort Greene Park. The food is great and not too pricey, and a lot of times you’ll hear some really great Botswana music. It feels like a cultural experience as much as dinner.” (Current special: join the mailing list to get a $10 gift certificate.) —Maricia, Fort Greene

Toby's Public House, photo by Adam Kuban.
Toby's Public House photo by Adam Kuban.

Toby’s Public House, 686 6th Ave. (at 21st St) 718-788-1186
“They have a massive meat and cheese plate for $10. You can also get an amazing brick oven pizza, and the bathroom is lined with vintage Playboys—you know, if you need ideas to get in the mood.” (Current special: Mon. through Thurs.,  an individually-sized pizza and a half-pint of beer or glass of wine is $10, only at the bar.) —Rebecca Shepherd, Park Slope

Song photo by Elizabeth Kim.
Song photo by Elizabeth Kim.

Song Park Slope, 295 5th Ave, (718) 965-1108

“I’m from Mill Basin, but often trek out to Park Slope for some pretty cheap but really good Thai food, at Song. It’s a bit of a trendy place, but you can have a whole sit-down meal there for under ten bucks. And it’s delish!” —Elaine Devora, Mill Basin

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Fireproof
Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Fireproof

Brooklyn Fireproof East Bar, 119 Ingraham St.
“It’s a totally new place that opened on Ingraham Street in Bushwick.  It’s great, I can drop in to get my coffee in the morning then four hours later come back for a beer. It’s not on everyone’s radar yet, but it’s definitely worth checking out for a date.” —JoAnn Berman, Bushwick

Got a place to add to this list? Tell us all about it at [email protected].


  1. Eat Records 124 Meserole Ave. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s a far departure from Polish eateries and your typical hipster fare. Part record store, part farm fresh eats… it satisfies those looking for some vinyl and some pretty damn inexpensive local food. You’ll never pay more than $14 bucks at dinner and I would dare to gasp at more than $10 at lunch. Brunch on the weekends is fantastic. Try the “banh mi”, and any crostini they put in front of you… polenta and panna cotta! The coffee is tasty and the service is unpretentious, friendly and quick.

  2. yolanda

    thank you BROKELYN!!!

    the hubby and I hit up “tip-top” and “madiba” last weekend. they both failed to disappoint for very different reasons..madiba was lovely..lovely decor..lovely people and that $10 gift certificate was gladly accepted by the gracious fuss no muss..we’ll be back!

    now tip-top..what can i say?? i feel like i was transported into a scene from missisppi masala as we were warmly greeted at the door by the bar’s owner who sported the SICK finger wave flatop and gold medallion..his hairdo was only outdone by the epic fried fish and chicken sandwiches that the cook made with loving care..the old dudes at the bar kept us in stitched with their spirited commentary about these “new fangled ipod” machines” and the best part was that we ate and drank our fill for $16!!!

  3. DD Grayson

    My favorite cheap date is a walk across the Bklyn Bridge and dinner in Chinatown. If we’re feeling flush we might even spring for a subway ride home.

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