There’s lots to love about Bushwick, but maybe the number one thing is its bar scene. (Well, maybe the number one thing is the burger at Fritzl’s Lunchbox, but we digress.) Here then are the 34 bars that we love the most in Bushwick, presented in
no particular alphabetical order.
1) Alaska: 35 Ingraham Street
We have a soft spot in our hearts for Alaska; we remember all too well when its existence was threatened by a fire a few years ago, but how its owners rallied and reopened within a few months. We love bars with moxy, so we love Alaska. Sure, the bathrooms are kinda gross, but maybe (hopefully) you’ll be too drunk to even notice! Stick to the classics here, and you’ll leave buzzed and happy and isn’t that all you really need? Sure it is.
2) Alphaville: 140 Wilson Avenue
This bar has a definite weathered vibe (some would say “beat-up,” but not us! never us) which makes for a low-key drinking atmosphere, despite its perennial popularity. There’s some food to be had (think: burgers and chicken nuggets, with a truly impressive array of accompanying sauces), and there’s a solid happy hour deal comprising dollar nuggs, which isn’t to be missed. Alphaville is also a pretty great music venue, with the stage occupying a distinct (and separately priced) area of the space, meaning that it’s totally cool to just hang out there without seeing the show. That said, check out the music anyway. Isn’t doing things like that at least partly why you live in Brooklyn anyway?
3) Birdy’s: 1215 Myrtle Avenue
Birdy’s is an old soul. It exudes this vibe from the the comfy leather bar stools and fake wooden walls and vintage Colt 45 sign and stained-glass chandeliers and cash-only policy. It’s really a shame you can’t smoke cigarettes inside anymore. This old soul screams for you to chain smoke while playing pinball (look, Ma, no hands!) or flirting with the bartender. But, alas, it’s 2016, where that kind of thing is illegal no matter how old your soul is, and we obviously can’t hold that against ol’ Birdy. We’ll just have to be happy with our cheap drinks and the “Damn Good” beef jerky for sale at the bar that is actually totally mediocre—it’s an old soul joke, you wouldn’t get it.
4) Bizarre: 12 Jefferson Street
Don’t say bizarre if you don’t mean it. But oh, they mean it. Wednesdays and Saturdays are pretty reliable nights for basking in varying degrees of weirdness—from your pretty standard burlesque and drag to a guy that rolls himself up in a carpet and asks you to step on him. The decor also keeps things weird in the best way with velvet couches and a crazy disco ball bathroom. Other highlights include some really well executed cocktails, a perfect little backyard, and one of the best burgers in the neighborhood.
5) The Bodega: 24 St. Nicholas Avenue
In a rather obvious appeal to the average New Yorker’s loyalty to their local sandwich and beer shop (and yet with little regard to how Google-friendly its name would be), the Bodega offers an upscale twist on what are some fairly standard, though creatively named (i.e. The Bodega Tuna Melt in Your Mouth) deli sandwiches, along with a generous wine and beer selection on tap. The Italian-inspired joint is a casual and calm environment to catch up with friends or shoot the shit.
6) Boobie Trap: 308 Bleecker Street
Body positivity isn’t something that often comes up while a bartender is pouring you a beer, except at Boobie Trap, where a devotion to breasts–and the beauty of the female form overall–transcends tired male-gazey bullshit and is thrown into delightful focus.
7) Bootleg Bar: 1438 Myrtle Avenue
Bootleg is one of those bars that usually feels perfectly populated—not too crowded, but never dead. And there’s always something to keep you entertained: from the pinball machine to the pool table to a diverse collection of jukebox selections (Are you feeling more Patti Smith or more Wutang Clan?) to the occasional live music to—perhaps our personal favorite—the fact that you can bring in outside food and there just so happens to be a Popeye’s across the street.
8) Bossa Nova Civic Club: 1271 Myrtle Avenue
A true staple for anyone who appreciates dance music (From Berghain-approved techno to bumpin booty house) and/or a good black-on-black outfit. Bossa is one of Brooklyn’s best places to dance pretty much any night of the week, especially if you’re a dance-seeker on a budget. Where other spots like Good Room and Output charge between $15-$40 dollars at the door, Bossa is free every weekday night and only $10 on Friday and Saturday. The beer selection is nothing special, but their crown jewels are the fresh-made juices they use in their cocktails and, of course, Club-Mate.
9) Cafe Ghia: 24 Irving Avenue
There’s few cultural touchstones that have more cache right now than David Lynch’s beloved Twin Peaks series, and that devotion is on full display at Cafe Ghia. Try the Laura Palmer—a vodka, ginger, honey and lemon concoction—to get a full taste of their fandom. Or, stop by Wednesday nights for comedy and Thursdays for trivia. Oh, and this seems like it should go without saying, but their brunch is to die for as well.
10) Central Station: 84 Central Avenue
With a huge backyard and a kitchen that stays open until 1am, Central Station offers two things this somewhat secluded area of Bushwick needs: late night eats and the space to do it in. The emphasis here is beer and classic cocktails–nothing fancy–and the small plates and other food items are divided into sections named for transportation-related terms. That should tell you a lot about the vibe in question, and if it you like that kind of humor, then you’ll probably like this place a lot.
11) The Cobra Club: 6 Wyckoff Avenue
If it’s a Friday night, Cobra Club is one of those bars where you will barely be able to move through the crowd with your beer and shot special to meet back up with your friends. Head to the tiny side yard if you want to smoke, the middle pool table area to watch sharks battle it out for hours, or find some release in the back karaoke room. And don’t forget that bars can contain multitudes–on weekdays the Cobra hosts metal yoga. Namaste, motherfuckers.
12) The Evergreen: 109 Moffat Street
The Evergreen is another recent addition to this far-out area of Bushwick that was long barren of any good watering holes. This doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as a place like Industry 1332—a little more retro and divey—but, rather, just the necessities you need from a good neighborhood bar: moody lighting, friendly staff, good tunes, a few classic cocktails, and a least a few good beers that even your beer-nerd friends will deem acceptable. Oh, and we can’t forget cheap. And what do you get when you take $2 off of an already cheap drink during happy hour? A really fucking cheap drink.
13) Forrest Point: 970 Flushing Avenue
In possession of what is easily one of the most beautiful backyards in Brooklyn (it feels like you’re in Fern Gully!), Forrest Point has an impeccable craft cocktail menu, featuring several amazing renditions of milk punch (our favorite is the Silken Road, redolent of bourbon, lemongrass, lychee, and coconut milk), and a great food menu, with great snack food and more hearty fare like a delicious quinoa salad (yes, quinoa can be good!). Eat and drink outside under the strings of fairy lights, surrounded by tables fashioned from stumps and adult-sized swings.
14) Flowers for All Occasions: 1114 Dekalb Avenue, Bushwick
When the weather is nice and the sun shines in Brooklyn, charming hangouts exude an especially great amount of… charm. And this bar, near the border of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick, is one place stood out as being particularly irresistible. Flowers for All Occasions features dreamy pink neon window signage that identify it as a bar, that also offered espresso and cocktails, even if its actual name suggests it didn’t do any of that. Though only in posession of a license for wine and beer, the spot offers plenty of inventive low-alcohol cocktails and is a lovely place to while away the day drinking, but not getting totally hammered.
15) Gotham City Lounge: 1293 Myrtle Avenue
Ring the bell to enter the bat lair. No, really though. Ring the bell. This super quirky Bushwick dive is one of the oldest bars in the neighborhood and definitely one of the most endearing. The comic book theme pervades Gotham City from the poster-plastered walls to cocktails named after characters like Harley Quinn (raspberry vodka with lemonade) and Mr. Freeze (pineapple rum, blue curacao, and soda with lime). A small spot that can get very crowded, but a nerd paradise none the less.
16) Happy Fun Hideaway: 1211 Myrtle Avenue
There’s nothing better than when a place gets the title of “gay bar.” Even if it was never intended to be a gay bar (which, we’re not totally sure if Happy Fun was or wasn’t), it’s great because it just automatically weeds out all of the potentially shitty bigoted people that might have come had they not read on Yelp that GAYS would be there. Which explains why Happy Fun is always so happy and fun. Lots of good humans, listening to upbeat tunes, basking in the joy of cheap tropical drinks, and quirky art. And don’t miss the backyard in the summer!
17) Heavy Woods: 50 Wyckoff Avenue
Inspired by New Orleans and other southern overtures, Heavy Woods presides over Bushwick’s main drag by doling out delicious comfort food staples and plenty of equally formidable libations. The front is all down home wood, but at night, the back room erupts into a dance floor worthy of any cosmopolitan club.
18) Hi Hello: 247 Starr Street
Hi Hello is fairly new to the area, it opened in spring of 2015, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a staple for drinks and decadent sandwiches. The owners also run Momo Sushi Shack, so you can trust that the environment is very relaxed, and that they know how to put ingredients together. The bar itself stays open till 2 AM, offering reasonably priced cocktails ($10 for most) with unexpected combinations, like the Fizzy Cola, a blend of Ramazzotti, lime juice and soda.
19) Industry 1332: 1332 Halsey Street
There is really no denying that this area of Bushwick is still pretty much a bar and restaurant wasteland, so it’s great to have a recent addition that offers solid Latin American food (including brunch!), wine, beer and—as of not so long ago—a liquor license. If the game is on and you’re feeling sporty, sit at the bar and hoot and holler at the big TVs, or if you’d rather not get in the hoot crossfire, you can still feel social by sitting at Industry’s gigantic banquet table in the back room. Or there’s always a cozy little two-top facing the floor-to-ceiling windows for an intimate summer night.
20) The Johnson’s: 369 Troutman Street
Hanging chairs, reclaimed wood, and a huge outdoor area mean this bar feels much more like a friend’s backyard than a place where bouncers carefully check your ID as you enter. But the $2 PBR is a price point you’ll rarely find around here, or anywhere, anymore. So head here on broke nights, or if you feel like drinking and swinging at the same damn time.
21) Left Hand Path: 89 Wyckoff Avenue
Left Hand Path is one of East Bushwick’s coziest, most convenient drinking holes. Steps from the Dekalb L, the warm, woodsy interior and red solo cup chandeliers help it split the difference between cool dive and classy drinking establishment. The best bars always fall on both sides of that line, anyway.
22) Lone Wolf: 1089 Broadway
A lot of people associate Lone Wolf with the h-word (hipster)—which, we suppose, isn’t totally off-base—but, we like it because it falls somewhere between dive and hipster that manages to escape pretension. Like the PBR-drinking hipster stereotype instead of the gluten-free eating hipster stereotype, ya know? And we also love it because that divey hipster vibe goes hand-in-hand with very cheap drinks and DJs playing Morrissey. Don’t mind if we do.
23) Looking Glass: 1087 Broadway
RIP Goodbye Blue Monday, but we have to say, as far as replacements go, we’re not mad about Looking Glass. Not a bit. Not only do they have some of the cheapest drinks in the neighborhood (happy hour all night every night: $3 Dos XX, PBR, Budweiser, Corona; $5 beer and shot; $5 house mixed drinks; $5 wine, etc), but they also have 20+ other beers on tap, a handful of simple but delicious cocktails, and some of the best late-night food in the neighborhood.
24) Lot 45: 411 Troutman Street
Lot 45 is a dark bar with huge chandeliers, and while that’s not the most original presentation, it’s still a damn good one. It’s the kind of place where you can get anything from $1.50 oysters, to a whole bottle of Bloody Mary (to get a sense of the size, a glass is $9, a bottle $35), to a take on a Pimm’s cup that’s topped off with Red Bull. Basically, it’s the perfect balance of classic elegance and millennial cheekiness. Yes, you read that right: Millennial. Cheekiness.
25) Miles: 101 Wilson Avenue
For the neighborhood, Miles is what would be considered an upscale cocktail bar, and it would certainly be in the upper echelon of bars regardless of location. Their menu features drinks that incorporate unwieldy spirits like oolong whiskey or chipotle tequila into cocktails that sound—and taste!—lush and appetizing. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go for the Woodbury Campfire, a drink that combines bourbon, scotch and Lillet into one glorious, fiery concoction.
26) The Narrows: 1037 Flushing Avenue
Aptly named, The Narrows consists of two long, shoebox rooms connected by a thin hallway, and an ample backyard for smoking and sunning in summer months. Inside, it’s one of the dimmest bars in Bushwick, but populated by some of the brightest bartenders, who are happy to procure you almost anything from the hierarchy of drinks: a crisp, sour Mexican beer and tequila shot, an upscale Belgian beer on tap, or an elegant cocktail featuring Brooklyn-made Wormwood Whiskey.
27) Old Stanley’s Bar: 226 Wyckoff Avenue
For a while, the area around the Myrtle-Wyckoff L stop was sadly devoid of many places to get a reasonable drink. And considering the many hiatuses, inconsistencies and overcrowded cars that occur while traveling from Manhattan to that far L station, a drink is often much-needed upon docking. Luckily, Old Stanley’s Bar opened in 2014 right near the heavily-trafficked junction, only a few steps for wearily travelers. It’s got pinball, mid-level beer, high, wooden-backed chairs and old-fashioned booths. It’s cash only, and, thankfully, there isn’t a handcrafted cocktail in sight.
28) Pearl’s Social & Billy Club: 40 St Nicholas Avenue
Pearl’s is one of those bars that becomes a neighborhood meet-up without any real effort at all. Need a place to congregate before heading to another neighborhood or party? Pearl’s. Trying to get your neighbor to invite you back to their apartment after a night out? Rendez vous at Pearl’s. It is simultaneously quite, casual, and rowdy, a bar that morphs like a chameleon for whatever your needs might be.
29) Pine Box Rock Shop: 12 Grattan Street
Known for its vegan-friendly snacks, Pine Box Rock Shop is a haven for non- and meat-eaters alike in the part of Bushwick right off the Morgan L. The bar’s owners Jeff and Heather Rush are Seattle transplants, and along with their partner Colin Peer, they’re dedicated to selling food and alcohol that contains no animal ingredients. What’s interesting about that policy is just how unobtrusive it is… it’s almost like, it’s not that hard to avoid needlessly slaughtering other creatures purely for our own reckless enjoyment? Between the great beer selection, delicious Bloody Mary, and tongue-in-cheek cocktail menu, and the Northwest’s finest potato chips, Tim’s Cascade, you’ll never notice you’ve been having a great time all night, without harming a single animal. That rocks.
30) The Rookery: 425 Troutman Street
The central, circular bar lends this Bushwick haven the medieval elegance its name suggests, although thankfully, there’s not a bird in sight. Along with some English-inspired and veggie-leaning small snacks, the bar is an ideal place for a long, secluded conversation. Or, head outside to the picnic tables for a rowdier crowd.
31) The Sampler Bushwick: 234 Starr Street
The emphasis at The Sampler is to let patrons try–sample, if you will–quite a few beers. Their extensive tap beer list is constantly rotating, as is the size and pour of the brew in question, and the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable about their wares. A bar that will keep the serious beer drinker and their whiskey-inclined companion, very happy. And if you overimbibe, try the pickles.
32) Sunrise/Sunset: 351 Evergreen Avenue
By day, this place is a cafe with simple, healthy dishes at a decent price ($8 grain bowl with cheese, yes please), and by night a quiet little bar where you can get that same light fare but switch out the coffee for a beyond-decent glass of wine or one of a dozen creative cocktails. All of which makes Sunrise/Sunset one of the best little date spots in the area—if you’re looking for a candlelit, vinyl-playing-softly kind of date. And also we like to think it’s named after a Bright Eyes song, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
33) The Three Diamond Door: 211 Knickerbocker Avenue
Housed in a converted Kennedy Fried Chicken–yes, that’s a KFC knockoff brand–the Three Diamond Door converts nicely into a 1950s-styled speakeasy. There’s prosecco on tap, beer and shot specials, and a four hour happy hour from 4-8 PM that’ll get you a dollar off well drinks, tap beers, shots and wine. The main appeal here, though, are the cozy vintage booths, that give this place a retro feel that isn’t over-the-top.
34) Yours Sincerely: 41 Wilson Avenue
Though it’s sidled right up to sister restaurant Dear Bushwick, Yours Sincerely has no trouble at all competing with that marquee joint. Sporting an innovative all tap system, there’s no shaking or stirring cocktails in this quiet speakeasy, just the slow siphoning of carefully concocted alcoholic beverages slipping into your glass. Sans the muss and fuss of creating each drink to order, the prices are lower, too. You won’t spend more than $8 on a mixed drink in this experimental new “cocktail laboratory.”