6 Best Bars in Gowanus, New York City

The Bell House

Fodor's choice
One of the top music venues in the borough, the Bell House hosts big-name rock musicians, cult comedy acts and live podcast recordings, and weekly trivia and karaoke in the bustling front bar area. Brooklynites (and Manhattanites, too) come not only for the performances but also for the excellent beer selection.

Black Mountain Wine House

Tucked away on a residential section of Hoyt Street, Black Mountain nearly hides in plain sight; the outside looks more like a cabin than a wine bar stocked with a long list of wines by the glass (both old and new world), craft beer, and a great food menu. Come in fall or winter, when the fireplace makes the dim space quite cozy.

Canal Bar

Yep, it’s a dive bar—and one with a strong connection to Chicago (drink specials during a Cubs or Bears game). Happy hour goes until 8 pm, drinks are cheap, and the bourbon list is better than average, as is the crowd of regulars who hang out here at all hours, quaffing drafts of Goose Island and Revolution Brewing. The bar is small and narrow but it also has a small back patio.

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Lavender Lake

Built by a group of set designers who occupy an adjacent studio, Lavender Lake's main draw is its fabulous back patio. When the weather is nice, well-turned-out local residents sip craft beers and excellent cocktails under a string of lights outside; during the day, it's a chill place to read a book or play a board game. The fried brussels sprouts get thumbs up, but the kitchen is hit or miss.


Part gallery, part event space, part late-night club, Littlefield is a place where you can expect the unexpected. The new location on Sackett Street is stylish, still intimate, and has good sight lines. It's only open for events, which are almost nightly: comedy shows (Wyatt Cenac’s "Night Train" series), game shows, live music, and storytelling are some of what you’ll find on the calendar.

Royal Palms Shuffleboard

Could there be anything more Brooklyn than a shuffleboard club with employees cast straight from a Wes Anderson movie (the jumpsuit uniforms!)? Locals head to this massive space after work for league play on Mondays and Tuesdays and cocktails named after shuffleboard legends. Weekends can get crowded, but borrow a board game until you score a waxed concrete lane. Groups of 10 or more can reserve 48 hours in advance for a lane, cabana, and drink packages.