95 Best Bars in Brooklyn, New York City

Bar Great Harry

Carroll Gardens
Though it's named after a small cocktail bar in the Chinatown area of Yokohama, Japan, it feels like a college town hangout and the 24 taps make it the spot for rotating craft beers from all over, including Transmitter Brewing's Bar Great Harry sour ale. There's no pretension here between the friendly bartenders, pinball machines in the back room, and playlist that could be metal or hip-hop. Even kids are welcome (the under-10 kind).

Bar Matchless

Greenpoint
Friends and strangers belt it out at karaoke; crack up at comedy shows; play pool, foosball, or darts; listen to live music; and dance at this former auto repair shop by the Williamsburg border. It's a high-energy hot spot on the weekends but chill during the week. Savvy Girls watchers might recognize this as the spot where Hannah had her 25th birthday party and Marnie dragged her up onstage to sing.

Barcade

Williamsburg

Gen Xers will certainly get nostalgic at this mostly 80s video arcade, featuring classics Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. However, any generation can enjoy the 8- and 16-bit gameplay, or the row of pinball machines, as long as they're adults, since this place doesn't typically cater to children—unless it's a special family day listed on their website's calendar. As the portmanteau of "bar" and "arcade," it's very much as good a beer bar as it is a retro arcade, specializing in dozens of rotating taps from microbreweries around the country. However, this original location has no proper kitchen, so there's no bar food—only bagged snacks are available—so plan on grabbing a bite elsewhere.

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Bembe

Williamsburg
Though decorated with salvaged items—including an old redwood front door from a New York State winery—this steamy bi-level lounge is Williamsburg's answer to Miami clubbing.. The crowd is as eclectic as the DJ-spun music, which ranges from reggae to Brazilian—often accompanied by live drumming. The tropical bar menu adds to the place's Latin cred.

Bizarre

Bushwick
Live music and theatrical performances at this appropriately named bar range from burlesque to circus to all kinds of quirky performance art. Even when there's no show going on, the dance floor fills up on weekend nights thanks to the cheap drinks and fun tunes; there's even a disco ball in the bathroom. Burgers, pastas, crepes, and other standards are served for lunch and dinner, and there's a weekend brunch.

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.

Boat

Boerum Hill
This popular dive bar, hidden behind a bright-red facade, has many draws, including the casual, borderline grungy ambience, a classic pinball machine, a jukebox, and cheap happy hour specials.
175 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201, USA
718-254–0607

Brooklyn Bowl

A former ironworks foundry now houses a setup the original workers might have appreciated: 16 bowling lanes, a cocktail bar, a music stage, and a restaurant. The team behind the Blue Ribbon restaurant-bar empire handles the menu, which features Louisiana-style southern specialties like their signature fried chicken. There's a fine selection of brews on tap. Weekends bring out the crowds—and there are no lane reservations—so it can take a while to get a lane.
61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11249, USA
718-963–3369
Nightlife Details
Rate Includes: $20 per lane for 30 mins.

Brooklyn Brewery

Williamsburg

This brewery put the borough's once-active craft beer scene back on the map when it opened in a former matzo factory in 1996. There are free tours on Sunday, while weekday Small Batch Tours offer an in-depth look and a chance to try and give feedback on new experimental beers. Tap offerings in its sizable, convivial taproom include their signature Brooklyn Lager and crowd favorite Pulp Art Hazy IPA.

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Brooklyn Social

Carroll Gardens
From their black-and-white photos from the 1920s, former members of this erstwhile Sicilian social club watch over the clientele enjoying fancy cocktails at the laid-back bar with period tap, cash box, and clock that now seem enviably luxurious. Pressed sandwiches are on offer, too. A pool table and small but well-manicured backyard have long made this a popular weekend spot.

Brookvin

Park Slope
This cozy wine bar owned by the Big Nose Full Body wine store on the same block has knowledgeable staff who are happy to help you choose, and offer tastes, from the selection of wines by the glass, half bottle, or bottle. Friends who want beer or cocktails have options, too. The food menu includes shareable options like cheese and charcuterie plates, pâtés, meatballs with polenta, or mac 'n' cheese. Happy hour lasts until 7 pm on weekdays and until 5 pm on weekends. There's a pleasant back patio.

Camp

Boerum Hill
Board games cover the tables, canoes and taxidermied deer heads hang from the walls, and the smell of roasting s'mores fills the air at this homage to country-lodge living. If you appreciate kitsch, you'll dig this place.

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.

Congress

Cobble Hill
A cool vibe, great selection of craft beers, and bartenders who know how to mix the perfect cocktail make this a go-to spot in the neighborhood. The perennially popular, meal-in-itself Bloody Mary—one secret ingredient is pickle brine—is garnished with beef jerky, smoked cheddar, celery, an olive, and crostini. There's not much seating in the softly lit space, which encourages people to mix and mingle.

Dean Street

Prospect Heights
This sizable, stalwart neighborhood spot does double duty as both a local watering hole and a casual, New Orleans–style eatery whose offerings could be termed pub-menu-plus (gumbo, chicken and dumplings, shrimp po’boy). Weekend brunch draws families and couples for a stick-to-your-ribs menu, while the nighttime crowd is solidly local and unpretentious, whether enjoying the game on TV or shooting the breeze over a bite.

Elsa

Cobble Hill

With its art deco light fixtures, marble-top tables, and cute leather banquettes, this cocktail bar elevates itself from a neighborhood hangout to a destination. Here, sample creative concoctions based on the classics. While charcuterie boards are available, the spicy PB&J on the snack menu surprisingly pairs nicely with boozy vanilla shakes or espresso martinis.

Fort Defiance

Red Hook
The food is good at Fort Defiance, but the bar scene and the inventive cocktail list are an even bigger draw. Try the Breukelen Corpse Reviver (made with Breukelen Gin), the Little Italy (a take on the Manhattan), or go for one of the fun tiki drinks. Brunch means specialty drinks, from the excellent Bloody Mary to a breakfast martini with a touch of orange marmalade.

Frank's Cocktail Lounge

Fort Greene
A local institution, Frank's has live jazz bands, hip-hop DJs, R&B-centric karaoke, and a crowd that joins Barclays- and BAM-goers with dapper neighborhood denizens in throwback fedoras. There's usually a cover charge weekends, but drinks are modestly priced (cash only) and immodestly potent—all the better to fortify patrons heading for the dance floor.
660 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY, 11217, USA
718-399--2240

Gowanus Yacht Club

Carroll Gardens
Open May through October, this outdoor bar wedged next to a Carroll Street subway entrance is a favorite with fans of both cheap beer (like cans of PBR) and glasses or pitchers of craft brew. Picnic tables line the patio space belonging to the adjacent bagel shop. The menu is driven by the grill, which means hamburgers, hotdogs, kielbasa, and knockwurst. (There’s always a vegan option, too.)
323 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY, 11231, USA
718-246--1321
Nightlife Details
Rate Includes: Closed Nov.--Apr.

Greenwood Park

This former gas station and auto repair shop is now a vast indoor-outdoor beer garden with more than 60 taps dispensing local, domestic, and imported beer, as well as a full bar and a menu of satisfying burgers, salads, and bar snacks. The outside space has picnic tables and several boccie courts.

Grimm Artisanal Ales

East Williamsburg

Awarded New York Brewery of the Year two years in a row, Grimm certainly knows how to make a good brew. Fans of IPAs, sour beers, and goses (warm fermented beers) will definitely appreciate a session here; many of their beers lean in those realms of the beer spectrum. Some nights at the taproom feature DJs sets—except Wednesdays when it's BYOV (Bring Your Own Vinyl) and the music vibe is in the beer drinkers' hands.

Irish Haven

A rowdy neighborhood spot, this Irish dive bar is famous for being featured in the scene in The Departed in which Leonardo DiCaprio dukes it out over a glass of cranberry juice. Don’t expect any real-life bar brawls, but do stop by for the no-frills drinks, down-to-earth bartenders, good jukebox music, and pool table.
5721 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11220, USA
718-439--9893

Knitting Factory

Rock, indie, and underground hip-hop performances draw crowds at this well-established concert venue that does double duty as a neighborhood watering hole, with a dimly lit front bar offering happy hour specials before and after shows. Sunday is comedy night in the front bar.

Larry Lawrence

It might be hard to find this hidden bar, but traverse the long, bare hallway and you're in for a treat. The high-ceiling space is generally filled with cool locals drinking beers on the chunky wooden furniture, the voice of Johnny Cash on the sound system, and chill vibes all around. Check out the custom-built roof terrace; it has a window that allows you to peer down into the bar below.

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.

LilliStar

Williamsburg

End or start your night with views of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Lower Manhattan skyline at this new rooftop bar. LilliStar is an Indo-Australian-inspired venue with DJ's spinning vinyl, creative cocktails, and tasty light bites. Make sure to try the Rendang Bao, filled with short ribs that have been braised for 24 hours. The cocktail that's a must try is the Kuya Krusher, made with Ketel One vodka, sorrel (hibiscus) juice, and spiced ginger—it's perfectly refreshing, especially on warm summer evenings.

Littlefield

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.

Livingston Manor

Downtown Brooklyn
A pink neon sign reading “Manor” guides you to this downtown hangout where the after-work crowd heads for happy hour (daily between 4 and 7 pm). The bar is inspired by and named for a quaint hamlet in the Catskills, and the pock-marked cement walls, black leather banquettes, and diagonal-striped wood paneling impart a lived-in feel even though the place only opened in 2014. The drink of choice? A pint from the Catskills Brewery, of course.

Lot 45

Bushwick
A sleek warehouse space, this loungelike affair bills itself as a "local living room,” and that's definitely the vibe, though the cocktails and food are of a higher than casual caliber. DJs keep the dance floor crowded, and the spacious outdoor area has plush couches when you need a breather.

Lucky Dog

The moniker fits this laid-back, canine-friendly dive bar. With a jukebox, shuffleboard, and a large selection of craft beers (and pitchers) available, it's a great spot for day drinking, happy hour, or pretty much any hour. It's small and narrow inside, but there's a great back patio.