Few things go together better than a good book and a good bar, particularly as the winter months closing in make being outside in the park with one a less appealing proposition. Luckily, Brooklyn is full of great, cozy spots with literary connections. From Williamsburg’s The Exley, named after A Fan’s Notes author Frederick Exley, to Crown Heights’ Franklin Park, which regularly hosts readings by up-and-coming writers, here is a brief tour of places to grab a pint and get through some pages.
This Williamsburg watering hole was named in honor of the owner’s favorite book, A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley. (The coasters have Exley’s face on them, in case you need a reminder of what his author photo looks like.) It also happens to be the kind of relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for catching up on a novel while you sip a pint of beer or an expertly mixed cocktail. Try the bell pepper margarita; you won’t be sorry.
1 Jackson Street, Williamsburg
Boerum Hill’s Brooklyn Inn is a beautiful dusty haunt of a bar, all dark wood and high stools and excellent atmosphere. It was also, for a time, the best place to go if you hoped to run into neighborhood mainstay Jonathan Lethem or any other thirty-something Brooklyn-based writer. (Jonathan Ames threw his party celebrating Bored to Death here.) With it’s little nooks and overall library vibe, it’s a great place to while away some hours in an earnest debate about the merits of The Goldfinch, or just relax and check out what everyone near you is reading.
148 Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill
A space that’s large enough to have two Bocce ball courts and host readings and other events downstairs, but still snug enough to curl up in a large leather armchair in front of a fire, Union Hall is the ideal place to while away some hours with a great new novel or attempt some writing of your own.
702 Union Street, Park Slope
A Crown Heights bar that has many rooms for many occasions, Franklin Park has a large outdoor space to soak up the sun during the summer and two spacious indoor rooms for drinking when the weather isn’t as kind. Happy hour here is a great time to settle in with a book and watch the neighborhood scene unfold, but the most literary-centric happenings are on the first Mondays of the month, when the excellent Franklin Park Reading Series brings authors in to talk about their recent works.
618 St. John’s Place, Crown Heights
68 Jay Street Bar
The go-to after-party bar for readings at nearby powerHouse Arena or Melville House, this is the place that you’re most likely to run into an n + 1 contributor after hours. And even when the crowd’s not around, it’s a lovely little spot, just big enough to afford room for sitting and page-flipping, but just small enough to feel like someone’s living room.
68 Jay Street, DUMBO
This charming spot serves a variety of craft beers alongside some delicious snack offerings and coffee, which means it’s the kind of bar you can spend all day in, if you wanted. It also frequently hosts the after-parties for readings at nearby BookCourt as well as events like Brooklyn Poets Yawp, a workshop and open-mic, which means that you can count on a regular influx of a bookish crowd.
61 Bergen Street, Carroll Gardens
Follow Margaret Eby on Twitter @margareteby.