Food & Drink

The happy hour guide to Prospect Heights

franklin park
Franklin Park. All photos by Emily Paup.

If you live within two subway stops of Tom’s Diner, you may have gotten into a long, whiskey-breathed argument about where Prospect Heights actually is. At the very least, you’ve likely cringed at the phrase “ProCro.” Smartphone lookups only blur the boundaries—Google Maps includes the Barclay’s Center in the postage stamp-sized area, and an old NY Magazine article suggests that that a block-wide sliver on Prospect Park west is part of the neighborhood. I object vehemently to both assertions, and I’m not even drunk right now. One thing’s for certain: there are some really solid happy hours in the region arguably known as Prospect Heights. Here’s a list of places where you can get tipsy and then try to figure out where the hell you are.

Laying the foundations
There are two types of drinkers: people who think you should eat a decent meal before downing seven beers, and people who think that doing so is a waste of money (these types can also get into high altitude weddings and post-blood donation binging). I pass no judgment, and neither does Soda Bar, which offers a $6 hamburger/Rolling Rock combo along with plain old $2 Rolling Rock. They’re not fooling around with the burger, by the way. It’s modestly sized, but there’s a high-quality bun, a heap of baby greens, and enough culinary commitment to ask you how you’d like it cooked. Pull up a stool, lounge on one of Soda Bar’s comfy couches, or lie on the floor, pound several Rolling Rocks, and go Hasselhoff on your burger. Like I said, I’m not here to judge.

Soda Bar, 629 Vanderbilt Ave., 718-230-8393
Noon-7pm Mon-Fri, $2 Rolling Rock, $6 Rolling Rock/hamburger combo


The Way Station bar in Brooklyn.
So many choices: The Way Station.

Getting time travel tipsy
The Way Station is one of Prospect Heights’ more carefully-decorated bars. Studded leather booths and ornate wallpaper line the south wall, a bathroom masquerades as a phone booth at the end of the bar, and wall-mounted ray guns point mercifully towards the back. A fellow drinker described the steampunky bar’s clientele as “socially functional nerds,” and, yes, there’s a geek streak to the bar that offers a “choose your own adventure” cocktail (this priceless $8 experience, in which the bartender mixes a drink based on your answers to a few questions, is a total ripoff, by the way). Assuming you bring a few friends, though, the crowd could just as easily be described as “people who like cheap drinks.”

The Way Station, 683 Washington Ave, 347-627-4949
4pm-8pm, $2 PBR, $4 shot-and-a-beer, $4 drafts, $8 ‘choose your own adventure,’ $1 off everything else.

Staying classy
Despite the low prices and lengthy happy hour, Washington Commons is a swell place. Their friendly bartenders will answer questions about barley for you, and they take the trouble to pour pilsners into pilsner glasses, etc. The gargantuan beer list can sometimes daunt, but with what they’re charging, you can taste your way through the bar’s microbrew selection in a matter of (drunk) days. During warmer times, Washington Commons’ back yard is a great place to spend several hours. Bonus: there are sometimes dogs at this bar.

Washington Commons, 748 Washington Ave., 718-230-3666
3-8pm Mon-Fri; $2 off everything; most beer is $3-6 after discount. Also, $4 bloody Marys from 1-4pm Sat-Sun.

The Crown Inn in Brooklyn
Prospect Heights? Crown Heights? "ProCro"?

Two plausible arguments that Prospect Heights now extends to Franklin Avenue
The gentrifying hordes are pushing eastward from Washington Avenue at an alarming pace (a street often cited as Prospect Heights’ edge), but the way that people talk about the Franklin Avenue stop in Crown Heights, you don’t expect a place like The Crown Inn. It’s downright posh: there’s a wood-trimmed marble bar, craft liquors, house cocktails, and the kind of wine that doesn’t involve a plastic spigot. At one point, the bartender replaced my gross, saturated napkin with a crisp new one. Like I said—posh. The sophistication announces itself in your tab, but my fancy-pants cocktail was delicious enough to make me want to be rich.

The Crown Inn, 724 Franklin Avenue, no phone
5pm-8pm Mon-Thurs,2pm-8pm Fri; $4 drafts, $6 selected cocktails, $7 wine on tap

Franklin Park—the bar best known for its outdoor seating, excellent weekend DJ sets, and being the place where you lost your coat on Friday—also has a beat the clock happy hour. Drink as many $3 drafts as you can from 4-5pm, because they’re $4 from 5-7. On Mondays, the drafts stay put at $4 all night, and on Tuesdays, you can get two-fers on well drinks and beer until close. If you can’t take the pressure of escalating prices (or if you become disoriented for some reason), remember that $3 cans of Bud are available every day of the week at any hour.

Franklin Park, 618 Saint Johns Place, 718-975-0196
$3 drafts and $4 wells from 4-5pm, $4 drafts and $5 wells from 5-7pm. $4 drafts all night on Monday; two-for-one wells and beers until close on Tuesday. Cash only.

Other places to drink cheap

Bar Sepia, 234 Underhill, 718-399-6680—4-8pm Mon-Fri, $1 off drafts and wells. $3 Bud during happy hour, better beers will run you about $5 after the discount.

Plan B, 626 Vanderbilt Ave., 347-240-2171 —4-7pm, Mon-Fri, $3 drafts, $4 wells and wine. Guinness is $4. Lots of TVs playing sports.

Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Ave., 718-484-8704—4pm-7pm, Mon-Fri, $2 Rolling Rock, $3 PBR, $4 drafts, wells, and wine, $6 cosmos, bloody marys, and margaritas. This place has a pool table and arcade games.

Sharlene’s, 353 Flatbush Ave., 347-350-8225—1pm-7pm, EVERY DAY, $3 drafts, $1 off everything else. THESE PEOPLE ARE SAINTS.


  1. caroline

    This post makes some incredibly offensive assumptions about what “makes” a neighborhood. According to the author’s logic, because Franklin Park and the Crown Inn (named for Crown Heights nonetheless), are “posh,” replace your napkins (?), and are nice places to hang out, they surely couldn’t be of the same neighborhood characterized, apparently, by “the way people talk about the Franklin Avenue stop.” Instead they have to be parts of the [wealthier, whiter, gentrifyier, etc. etc] Prospect Heights, which also has nice bars?  

    Everyone I know who lives or works around Franklin Avenue calls it Crown Heights, and takes pride in that label: see this article about a recent community response to a NYTimes article on the area:

  2. antonymous

    Washington Avenue is “often cited as Prospect Heights’ edge” because it IS Prospect Heights’ edge. I’m glad you discovered a nice bar on Franklin Ave, but did it ever occur to you that Crown Heights can have nice bars too?

  3. Without getting into the area’s border wars — it kills me when someone describes something in the ZIP code 11222 (Greenpoint) as being in Williamsburg (11211) — I wanted to mention that Soda Bar’s kielbasa sandwich is the best this half-Pole has ever had. Its pierogis are good too.

    Also, the Way Station’s bathroom doesn’t have the exterior of just any phone booth — it’s a TARDIS.

  4. yolanda

    Franklin Ave is in Crown Heights. What alternate universe do you live on that assumes that the presence of white people and beer on tap warrants the changing of the the name of a neighborhood?

    Hey Brokelyn, you guys really need to hire some writers who’ve lived in Brooklyn longer than 5 minutes.

  5. prospectheighster

    By far the best happy hour I have found is at Minor Arcana at Washington and Prospect Place. They have happy hour 4-8pm, then 12-1am every day, 2-for1 drinks. They have Stegmaier on tap for $3 regular price… so that’s two pints for $3. Dangerous.

  6. Kate Ciurej

    Franklin’s new pizza place Barboncino (at St. John’s) also has *two* $2-off daily happy hours, from 5 PM to 7 PM and 11 PM to 1 AM. The bar there is low-key and classy, and you can order from the full menu at the bar. Highly recommended!

  7. SANS TYPOS: I agree with a lot of the comments.  Renaming communities and pushing the boundaries of a neighborhood based on the bars that you go to is the absolute worst of gentrification. As a recent “gentrifier” I would like you to know that you are undoing a lot of work that some of us are putting into moving into the neighborhood with respect and grace.  Please check yourself.

  8. Ew. Very tacky. And poorly sourced. If you want to know the neighborhood boundaries, check historical documents, not New York Magazine. Community districts have legal borders. 

    This site had so much potential when it was just about good deals, and not elitist value judgments. You have surely turned off readers by all but announcing your preference for an audience of snobby sheltered yuppies. The sad part is you probably did that on purpose. Well, they may have the resources to generate good revenue from ads and ticket sales, but that population lacks the volume you’ll need to grow your presence. The truly ignorant are a diminishing breed. Bad business move, Brokelyn. 

  9. Worst article ever. Totally agree with what the commenters are saying about the neighborhood boundaries and the racist assumptions that are underlying them. How many years ago would the author have been claiming that Soda Bar was in Park Slope.

    And then to not mention that all drafts (except the super fancy Belgiumish one) are just $3 each for a long time and that Minor Arcana not only has crazy 2 for 1 drafts & wells during the normal happy hour, but that they bring it back for another hour at midnight. 

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