5 Bars, One Neighborhood: An End Of Summer Bar Crawl in Prospect Heights

Photo by Austin McAllister

Summer’s drawing to its inevitable close, and while you might be upset that your days of Summer Fridays and lazy weekends spent basking in front of your air conditioner are coming to an end, do yourself a favor and get out there this labor day weekend. So what if you aren’t drinking rose on a patio in the Hamptons, or shaking sand out of your swimsuit in Montauk. Staying in town over a long weekend is often the most enjoyable way to spend a holiday. Like San Francisco during Burning Man, Brooklyn empties out a little during the long weekends, so use the lack of people and the gorgeous weather as your excuse to embark upon the age old tradition of a good old-fashioned bar crawl, grown up style.

You could stick to Williamsburg, or even its spunky younger sister Bushwick for this bar crawl, but consider Prospect Heights for your adventure, and revel in the fact that you can walk down sidewalks lined with beautiful brownstones, nice trees and not a whole lot of people. It feels like Cosby Show Brooklyn, like aspirational, adult Brooklyn, and it’s got a lot to offer.

Start the day right at Washington Commons, a nice neighborhood spot started by the same people who run the 4th Avenue Pub. If this words don’t mean anything to you, here’s what you can expect: a great beer selection, excellent outdoor space and nice, unpretentious bartenders who are pretty chill about everything. There’s no food here, but they’ll let you bring in or order in food, so bop over to The Islands, get some roti and prepare your body for your journey.

Washington Commons, 748 Washington Avenue

The Islands, 803 Washington Avenue

Now that you’ve been fed and had a beer or two under your belt, walk out into the sunshine and head to Soda Bar, which is a good no-frills place to get a kind of fancy and kitschy cocktail, best enjoyed on their basic but spacious patio. This is the place you’ll have your friend who is perpetually late and always starving meet you, for there is a big menu full of bar food standards. Pick a french fry off their plate and steel yourself for the next part of your journey.

Soda Bar, 629 Vanderbilt Avenue

There’s always that person in the group who is inevitably swayed by the allure of the oyster happy hour. This person is often the one who coordinates bar crawls of this ilk, but hey. There are worse ways to spend your time, so gather your belongings and bop down the street to The Bearded Lady, little cocktail joint that does a dollar oyster happy hour and inventive, delicious cocktails.

The Bearded Lady, 686A Washington Avenue

Here’s the part of your bar crawl where you’re going to walk off whatever damage you may or may not have done at the past three places. Enjoy the weather, the feeling of bare skin and a late summer breeze, capture this moment and tuck it away for later. You’ll certainly need it when you’re doing a rough approximation of this journey to celebrate that girl you’re only sort of friends with’s birthday in the deep, dark heart of February. Take a break for ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery, if you want. Live a little!

Ample Hills Creamery, 623 Vanderbilt Avenue

As the sun sets and the air gets a little chillier, take yourself to Hot Bird, grab a drink from the efficient and friendly bartenders and park on the patio for a while. You’re probably hungry again — you should be, if you’re human, you’ve been out for a while — so send an envoy to Little Brother BBQ next door, get some pulled pork, some brisket and some of their excellent fries, and wash it all down with something crisp and appropriate for the end of summer. From the right seat on the patio, you can watch the sun turn the sky pink and purple over McDonald’s golden arches and feel a twinge of sadness that the weather decided to show up and be nice on the last weekend of technical summer.

Hot Bird, 825 Atlantic Avenue 

If you’ve had a really good night and are looking to check a summer fling off your bucket list, we recommend ending the night at Hanson Dry, a dark and cozy spot with strong drinks and plenty of booths for, ahem, getting to know somebody a little better. Ask for Brandi at the bar — she makes a killer Old Fashioned that goes well with new “friends” and the end of the night.

Hanson Dry, 925 Fulton Street