From dives to dramatically beautiful cocktail dens, here are the 50 bars in Williamsburg we love best. To be honest, it was really hard narrowing it down. Drink up!
1) 4th Down: 750 Grand Street
Perched a few steps above Grand Street, in a space that used to occupy a pool hall, 4th Down and its many, many TVs are an ideal home for the sports fans of east Williamsburg. Since there are enough televisions to accommodate any (make that all) of your teams, no matter what your sport of choice—football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, golf, rugby, college basketball, college football (the owner is a native Ohioan, so you’ll hear many O-H! I-O! Chants on Saturdays in the fall)—you’re covered. Plus, not only do they have a wide range of bottles and cans available in bucket deals, there’s also an always-changing variety of craft beers for the more fancy among us. Our advice though? You really can’t go wrong with a Miller High Life. Or five.
2) Alligator Lounge: 600 Metropolitan Avenue
Alligator Lounge is a great place to go if you skipped dinner and went straight to drinking, because they offer complimentary mini pizzas with every beer. Plus, there’s a karaoke room in the back, a pool table in the front, and tables outside for Williamsburg people-watching. It’s a dive, but it’s an interesting one.
Notable: Free pizza, karaoke
3) Baby’s All Right: 146 Broadway
There’s a lot going on in this music venue/bar/restaurant, but everything happening is bound to be good. If you come on a particularly packed show night, it can be hard to snag a table in the bustling front room, and even harder to snag a viewpoint in the venue where you can actually see the band — but the crowd is bound to be worth the struggle. Baby’s has quickly earned a reputation for booking all the best, rising bands to come through New York, which guarantees a clutch of media and music industry types are usually hanging around. And if that doesn’t pique your interest, then maybe the excellent Thai-inspired food and cocktail menu will.
4) Bar Below Rye: 247 S 1st Street
Rye is an unassuming restaurant on the outskirts of Williamsburg’s southern tip. The gorgeous upstairs is a restaurant built on 20th century elegance, complete with mahogany bar and tin ceilings. It’s the new basement addition that’s really worth checking out for serious drinkers, though, a more secluded place to sip on a cocktail without the distractions of food and aesthetics. The low ceilings and subtle, zinc bar give this place an intimate feel that makes you want to spend hours and hours lost down here before coming up for air.
5) Barcade: 388 Union Avenue
As its name suggests, this cavernous craft beer bar on Union Street is home to beloved arcade games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong that are perfectly suited for the extended adolescence that characterizes much of this neighborhood. For the less playful patron, a large and rotating selection of American craft beers on tap make Barcade a premiere Brooklyn destination for inventive new brews.
Notable: They are dead serious about beer and team up with breweries on occasion to make small batches exclusively available at Barcade for limited runs.
6) Ba’sik: 323 Graham Avenue
Though “basic” has come to take on a negative quality denoting lack of intricacy, this bar is anything but. According to the owners, the bar’s concept emerges from a desire for a return to the “public house” feeling; a place where the community at large could gather to feel at home in a public space. Delicious, fairly priced cocktails (around $10) and a generous food menu ensure that once you’ve got a group here, they won’t want to leave. The indoor space is extra cozy, but it’s the gorgeous garden out back that will have you hooked–basic or not.
7) Beer Street: 413 Graham Avenue
The title of this bar is deceptive, because it suggests a sort of everyman attitude toward beer. That is not the attitude you’ll encounter in this East Williamsburg store and drinking spot. These are beer veterans, beer aficionados, beer heroes. They are here to make sure you know everything and anything there is to know about their wares, from geographical and natural facts, to how it was brewed and what it pairs best with. If you are in the mood to learn–a lot–and spend just as much, come here for the kind of beer knowledge that will leaving you reeling, even if you somehow remained sober during your visit.
8) Brooklyn Star: 593 Lorimer Street
A taste of southern cooking and an ample beer list is never a bad combination, and Brooklyn Star manages to nail both aspects with an ease that seems intuitive. There’s ample room in the front half to sit and chat at the bar, and you can always head to the restaurant in the back if the simmering smell of mac and cheese becomes impossible to resist. Any place you can get a pitcher of Mimosas, an IPA cocktail, fried pig tails, and duck wings is a place to keep in your drinking rotation.
9) Bushwick Country Club: 618 Grand Street
Don’t let the name fool you: there is nothing exclusive about this super-social and unpretentious dive on Grand Street. Despite its dive status, BCC is home to a respectable draft selection and a well-stocked bar and regular no-frills specials. The bar is staffed by folks who are fast and accurate with orders for a slightly rowdy weekend crowd that skews younger than has become typical of the Willamsburg bar scene.
Notable: BCC is the original home of the Pickleback, a whiskey shot chased by pickle juice, a tastier combination than you might imagine
10) Clem’s: 264 Grand Street
Tucked away on the corner of Grand and Roebling, Clem’s is the quintessential no-frills yet somehow unmissable spot to drink the night away. It’s a dark, narrow bar with standard alcoholic fare, but there’s something about the spirit of the place that makes it easy to get lost in the moment here. Also, Deadheads take note, the joint recently started a monthly gathering for your kind. Maybe it was the spirit of Garcia all along that made this bar feel so special.
11) The Commodore: 366 Metropolitan Avenue
While it’s not the place to go if you want to have a conversation, the Commodore offers a wealth of options for the already inebriated and those in search of that state. Fried chicken and nachos are tried and true snacks for the drunk or hungover among us, and their blended-to-order Piña Colada would make Garth Brooks himself sigh with happiness. No matter the night, this bar is constantly thrumming with young people looking to snack and slurp the night away.
12) Daddy’s: 437 Graham Avenue
Perhaps in an ode to the bar’s namesake, Daddy’s most striking feature is the old-fashioned horseshoe-shaped bar that dominates the main floor. Also dubbed “in the round,” this bar shape facilitates the kind of eye contact and interaction between customers that a straight or L-shaped bar simply can’t. You know what else breeds easy familiarity between strangers? Hot dogs. Yup, Daddy’s has those too. So sidle up, order a beer, and begin looking for your new, uh, “friend” for the night.
13) Donna: 27 Broadway
The rum-driven craft cocktail menu at Donna is redefining the “fruity cocktail” through tropical flavors expertly combined with selections from its carefully curated bar for a sophisticated drinking experience on the Williamsburg waterfront. And for bites that compliment the sophisticated but fun cocktails, their selection of tacos does not disappoint. Cathedral ceilings frame the airy white-walled room adorned with bright images and dark wood, and the Central American aesthetic offers a brilliant backdrop to the lounge vibe that takes over when Donna’s late-night crowd arrives to hear top DJs spin.
Notable: The Brancolada cocktail, an all-season frozen drink inspired by the Piña Colada, is not to be missed.
14) Dram: 177 S 4th Street
Hands down, Dram is one of the best cocktail focused bars in Williamsburg. If nothing on their extensive, intricate cocktail list catches your eye, you’re safe here opting to select a spirit of your choice and let the bartender customize a beverage for you. Sure, mixology has morphed into an annoying catchall phrase for alcoholic snobs, but sometimes, even the humblest palette wants to be wowed. That’s when you should go to Dram.
15) The Drink: 228 Manhattan Avenue
This quintessential regular-encouraging bar has cozy tables for two, while also offering plenty of seating room for groups. The food menu is perfectly curated to soak up all the alcohol you’re bound to be drinking; think: smoked eggs, house-made beef and salmon jerky, pickles, etc. And about that alcohol: Make sure and try the house punches, which are consistently delicious and great for groups. (Drink a punch bowl solo at your own risk is all we’re saying.)
16) Featherweight: 135 Graham Avenue
Hidden away behind a curtain and up some stairs is this teeny tiny cocktail bar that will empty out your pocketbook and keep you up all night. The bar is decked out in vintage Tiki decor, and the smallness helps the bar feel elegant, even when packed. These are cocktails are so carefully concocted, and so lethally potent, that after a night spent investigating their effects, all it will take is a feather to knock you into a cab to find your bed.
17) Four Horsemen: 295 Grand Street
Bright lights shine on the concrete, wood, and splashes of green that adorn this intimate treasure around the corner from the Knitting Factory. The food menu runs short and sweet with French-inspired small plates and rich entrees but it is the massive, impeccably curated wine selection that sets apart this tastefully appointed eatery and wine bar.
Notable: Champagne lovers will appreciate the selection of sparkling fare while the extensive French options will keep those seeking more robust flavors happy.
18) The Gibson: 108 Bedford Avenue
Toward the Greenpoint side of Bedford Avenue is a dark, cavernous bar called The Gibson. It’s the latest bar in a handful of iterations for the space, replacing the rowdy and raucous Triple Crown before it. Perhaps because of that history, this space is modest and unassuming, never packed or thundering. There’s a beautiful backyard where you can sit and sip a beer, or drink glass after glass of red wine inside, all with minimal fuss or fervor.
19) Harefield Road: 769 Metropolitan Avenue
There’s nothing fancy about Harefield Road, but there is something particularly welcoming about the dark, cave-like bar. It’s got wine, beer, cocktails, plenty of liquor, and bartenders willing to direct you to a new vintage or proof if you need advice. If not, they’re more than happy to stay out of your way, so you can focus on getting lost in the whiskey-fueled conversation at hand. It’ll be 4 AM before you know it. Luckily, an L stop is just a block away.
20) Huckleberry Bar: 588 Grand Street
The cocktail craftsmen behind this East Williamsburg ode to classic mixology are serious about blending original and classic ingredients to perfection. The cocktail menu is sorted according to drinking experience rather than by liquor type, with options like “Refreshing” for warmer days and “Adventurous” for patrons on a mission to find bold new flavors. Housemade hot sauces and syrups are the pride of this menu but the small plates and beer and wine options are not to be discounted either.
Notable: Movies play every Monday at 9pm, something of a rarity at a spot with such an upscale menu, making Huckleberry an exceptional date spot.
21) Jackbar: 143 Havemeyer Street
If you’re into pinball, chances are you’ll love this unassuming Williamsburg bar. It boasts an array of pinball machines and nearly twenty beer lines, so if you’re a fan of either of those things, Jackbar is a great place to spend time. It opens at 1 PM daily, and somehow is never really that crowded, even though it’s in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s most-visited boroughs.
22) Kinfolk: 94 Wythe Avenue
Kinfolk isn’t really a bar, per se. During the day, the open Williamsburg entertainment joint is part cafe, part bike company, and part something to do with marketing. But at night, the high-ceilinged haunt plays home to delicious Japanese beers and more up-and-coming musicians than you can shake a house margarita at.
Notable: The secluded club space is equal parts elegance and modernity, a perfect venue for your next private event
23) The Levee: 212 Berry Street
A couple of years ago The Levee closed down for a bit without much explanation, and the neighborhood flipped! Luckily, the matter at hand was simply a case of expired paperwork, and after taking a month or so to do so much needed updates, the bar reopened. It’s a testament to this divey, cheap watering hole’s place in the community that a bar’s temporary closing could cause such a stir, and it’s unlikely that locals will take the spacious backyard, dart boards, and excellent country jukebox for granted ever again.
24) Loosie Rouge: 91 South 6th Street
There’s always something happening at Loosie Rogue, the sister restaurant to Southern comfort joint Loosie Kitchen. Festooned in panties, this hipster cocktail bar serves up a rotating cast of piano men, open mic performers, and open-air jam sessions to keep you downing your drinks and tapping your foot all night long.
25) Lucky Dog: 303 Bedford Avenue
Lucky Dog is one of the most beloved bars in Williamsburg because, well, dogs are welcome inside! The backyard contains several different tiers, and usually you can find dogs tucked away in more than one of them. So whether you’re a dog owner or a dog lover, this is a great place to get hammered with canine company in tow.
Notable: Dogs, dudes. Dogs!
26) Macri Park: 462 Union Avenue
As one of the closest bars to the crucial Metropolitan/Lorimer subway stop, Macri Park has a lot going for it strictly based on location. But, there’s also a nice selection of beers, the dark, cozy booths and unfinished feeling that give the place its own sense of unvarnished charm. Recently, the bar pivoted to position itself as a gay bar, and a sister location to the nearby Metropolitan. While the move surprised some–mostly because the staff was abruptly let go–the transition seems like it’s been a smooth and welcome one overall.
27) Maison Premiere: 298 Bedford Avenue
With décor intended to reflect a blend of early 20th century Parisian café culture, New York’s best hotel lounges of yesteryear, and the spirit of New Orleans’ most lively spirits, this oyster and cocktail bar pulls off nostalgia without sacrificing taste. As home to the largest Absinthe selection in New York City and an ample array of East and West Coast oysters and other seafood plates, it would seem excessive that there are three cocktail menus were it not for the establishment’s commitment to the decadence of the cities that inspire the ambience and the fare here.
Notable: Unlike many $1 oyster happy hours in the city, Maison Premiere doesn’t limit the selection to one or two bottom-of-the-barrel types.
28) Matt Torrey’s: 46 Bushwick Avenue
For some reason, Matt Torrey’s stubbornly remains a bar that not a lot of people know about. Their extensive five-hour happy hour from 3-8 PM includes a $5 cocktail option, and the huge row of windows and gorgeous wooden floor ensure that the atmosphere is always inviting. During the day, the windows let in broad beams of light, and at night, they let you gaze off meaningfully into the night, or at a passing stranger. Pair that romanticism with a sour and salty Westbrook Gose ($7) and you have a great night on your hands.
29) Metropolitan: 559 Lorimer Street
Billed as one of Brooklyn’s original gay bars, Metropolitan is one of those places where it always feels like anything could happen. The indoor area is decked out with Christmas lights, and centers around a pool table that oozes cheery warmth. Then, there’s the gorgeous back patio, replete with greenery and an open feeling that fosters groups to mix and mingle in a way many other bars prevent.
Notable: Outdoor area
30) Midway Bar: 272 Grand Street
Ah, the pull of a beloved dive bar! On a recent night, the bartenders were playing only old country tunes, and from the bar’s general feel, it seems like this might be a regular occurrence. There’s big wooden tables perfect for large groups, and your standard beer and shot specials for long, low-key drinking nights. Careful though, this is one of those bars with a mind of its own, and a personality to boot. You might end up staying out much longer than you anticipated, strictly because of Midway’s charms.
31) Night Of Joy: 667 Lorimer Street
Designed like a Victorian parlor with kitschy flourishes in the upholstery and light fixtures upon entry, this cocktail lounge expands onto a rooftop patio in the spring and summer when Night of Joy’s more spritzy, light cocktails are best enjoyed. The service receives mixed reviews but the highly original combinations that make up its cocktail menu receive great praise with choices like beet and dill vodka sitting alongside classic rum lemonades and gin gimlets.
Notable: $4 beers and $6 select cocktails during happy hour brighten up this otherwise lackluster corner in Williamsburg under the BQE
32) Noorman Kil’s: 609 Grand Street
Noorman’s Kil may be the most welcoming bar you’ve never been too. Jammed into a well-worn wooden space, the Grand Street fixture feels like a tavern where weary travelers go to hang their hat. But it’s got the best menu of any tavern out there, with more than 250 whiskeys and bourbons from around the world for your tasting pleasure. But the best part of the whiskey is the pairing: Noorman’s Kil specializes in putting a creative spin on the classic comfort of the grilled cheese in a way you’ve never experienced before. If there’s one bar that can make such an unusual combo sing on your tongue, it’s Noorman’s Kil.
33) OTB: 141 Broadway
OTB (short of “Off the Books”) has stayed true to its name, festooned with racing props inspired by the old racetrack gambling parlors where businessmen and workers could mingle and bet amid a sea of good food and drink. OTB offers both, with a robust selection of bar food and burgers topped with a hint of seafood on the menu. More importantly, the lengthy cocktail menu and man cave aesthetic have somehow managed to keep this spot hipster-free, according to our friends at the New York Times, updating the bar’s off-the-path vintage vibe to a respite from the patchy mustaches and ridiculous wardrobes of the surrounding neighborhood.
34) Pinkerton Wine Bar: 263 N 6th Street
Twinkling exterior lights invite regular patrons and passersby to this sweet little spot on North 6th where the dimly lit but cozy interior plays host to a selection dominated by California and Australian wine choices. Dark wood and white walls with tasteful French café inspired accents make Pinkerton quaint without being too cutesy. The short menu of cheeses and meats is reliable if not especially adventurous at this cozy, consistent corner.
Notable: Pinkerton occasionally hosts a chef pop-up dinner for those who want to wash down more substantial eats with their wine.
35) Post Office: 188 Havemeyer Street
Chalk the quirky name up to a Bukowski reference, and get ready to get royally fucked up. This is a bar for whiskey drinkers who value both the quality of their liquor and the quality of their ensuing stupor. If you don’t like whiskey, don’t go here. If you do, why are you still reading?
36) Rabbithole: 352 Bedford Avenue
Rabbithole is a quaint, rustic restaurant hidden away among Bedford’s many, many options. It boasts an interior decorated with fascinating old-fashioned items that provide a perfect backdrop for long conversations over one of their many seasonal cocktails. The menu is a sterling example of how to keep classics updated with personal twists, and though the service is excellent, the staff is also happy to leave you be. No one will rush you out the door at Rabbithole, and that’s half the appeal.
37) Radegast Hall & Biergarten: 113 N 3rd Street
Though there are plenty of beer halls scattered throughout Brooklyn, few feel as vast, or as authentic, as Radegast. From the stoically German name down to the daily selection of live music, the Biergarten’s vibe is synonymous with its European counterparts. Head in on a Tuesday for beer tastings starting around 7 PM, or a Thursday for $6 half liters and a free bratwurst with every liter purchased. This is also the best place in the whole city to get a beer cocktail, may we recommend the ginger-spiked Shandy-Gaff?
38) The Richardson: 451 Graham Avenue
Nestled right up to the edge of Brooklyn’s thundering cross-borough freeway the BQE is the wallpapered grace of the Richardson. It’s the kind of bar that keeps a rotating Amari on draft, and presents a cocktail menu with names like King Ink and Seaworthy, a 101 proof Bourbon drink and a lime, grapefruit, ginger and rum blend, respectively. If you’re looking to fulfill someone’s assumptions about what a nice cocktail bar in Brooklyn looks and feels like, take them here. It fits the bill to a T–and that’s a compliment.
39) Rocka Rolla: 486 Metropolitan Avenue
The space right on the corner of Metropolitan and the BQE itself was formerly occupied by a subpar dive called Brooklyn Stable, but Rocka Roll has brought an influx of new life to that perilous corner. From enormous mugs of beer to the clever hair metal reference, this corner haunt is always packed with Williamsburg’s music-obsessed young people.
40) Roebling Sporting Club: 225 N 8th Street
Your one-stop shop for all the best sporting events, this bar and restaurant is fortunately also home to a robust menu of pub fare and strong, hearty drinks. The welcoming atmosphere of a local pub with the attendant Williamsburgian design touches draws a jovial crowd of sports fans and hungry locals to the warm glow of the matches on screen and the friendly staff.
Notable: The RSC Smothered Tots are legends in the making.
41) The Shanty: 79 Richardson Street
The Shanty is Brooklyn’s New York Distillery Company’s adjacent bar, and the space where customers gather to spit their products is next door to the larger area that houses their signature still and other contraptions. Complimentary tours of the distillery are available daily from 2-5 PM, but make sure to try one of their two house gin’s before or after you see how they’re made; the Perry’s Tot and Dorothy Parker are equally floral, heady and compelling, no matter how they’re served.
Notable: Distillery tour
42) Skinny Dennis: 152 Metropolitan Avenue
Country music is slowly but surely seeping its way into Brooklyn’s mainstream–not that it wasn’t lurking under the surface all along–and Skinny Dennis is formidable proof of this. The honky-tonk bar serves up peanuts, live music and a quirky, extensive drinks menu with down home aplomb. The unmissable alcoholic entry here is their perfect coffee-and-whiskey drink called Willie’s Frozen Coffee. If you don’t know which Willie, you’re in the wrong place.
43) Spuyten Duyvil: 359 Metropolitan Avenue
Spuyten Duyvil is the sister bar to Metropolitan’s infamous steakhouse, St. Anselm, and functions as a well-stocked waiting room for guests sitting out the hour-plus lag between putting down a name and getting seated. But what a place to spend an hour! The bar is beer and wine only, but is stocked with so many rare, well-curated vintages and off-the-wall, obscure beers, that the time passes quite quickly. It’s a great place to stop in even if you’re not getting a steak next door, too, and in that case, their cheese and charcuterie selection is great for nibbling.
44) St. Mazie: 345 Grand Street
St. Mazie describes itself as both a bar and supper club, and the venue delivers. The outside garden lounge may resemble church cloisters and the walls reportedly covered with wood liberated from a nuns’ residence at a Catholic girls’ school, but below the live music and savory bar menu lies the real gem of St. Mazie: the titular Supper Club, nestled in St. Charles Cellar, that feels like something out of monastery’s wine cellar. But don’t expect to eat modestly like a monk: take in some live music with a slow cooked short rib or risotto and let your mind wander.
45) Sweet Science: 135 Graham Avenue
Sweet Science is known for comfort food and delicately balanced cocktails. However, the two sometimes didn’t go hand in hand, so they opened Featherweight a few doors down for the more cocktail-centric, intimate gathering. That leaves Sweet Science free to be the casual and relaxed watering hole where you can bring a bevy of boisterous friends without fearing you’ll disturb anyone at all.
46) This n’ That: 108 N 6th Street
This ‘n That–affectionately called TNT by regulars–is a bawdy, beloved gay bar that hosts weekly drag nights, among other delightful things. It is easily one of the most accepting, safest spaces in the surrounding neighborhood, and a haven for anyone who needs a dark enclave to get drunk in. Whether you come for solace or celebration, TNT will show you just how wonderful the queer community in Williamsburg is–not that they need anyone’s approval.
47) Tradesman: 222 Bushwick Avenue
Earthy, artisanal tones are the signature decorating inspiration in this carefully appointed space for happy hour cocktails and weekend brunch on Bushwick Avenue. The 2,500 square foot patio is a welcome reprieve from the pace of the neighborhood when it heats up but the seasonal cocktail menu and cozy, candle and lamp-lit interior keep patrons warm all winter too.
Notable: The $6 cocktail special on weekends is one of the best brunch deals in the neighborhood at this quality level.
48) Trophy Bar: 351 Broadway
Trophy Bar is one of the few good spots on Broadway’s overly-commercial strip under the JMZ train. The place is marked by their very own neon trophy sign, and inside, you’ll find a couple of drinks that are almost worth a medal. Like The Verdita, a house special shot of tequila chased with a shot of pineapple-jalapeño-cilantro-mint juice. No, we’re not making this up. Yes, it’s way better than a pickleback.
49) Turkey’s Nest: 94 Bedford Avenue
It feels more apt, somehow, to refer to Turkey’s Nest as a “liquor restaurant” than a bar. Maybe that’s because it’s one of the few holdovers from the ghost of New York City past that allows the baffling “to go” cup. That’s right, for $7–or $14 for the super size–a bartender will serve you a margarita in a styrofoam cup with a lid and a straw. It’s not like anyone will ask you to walk out the door with it, but no one will stop you either. So ignore that sign by the door about no drinks leaving the premises, take your margarita, and stroll casually over to McCarren Park. Takeout never tasted so good.
50) The Woods: 48 South 4th Street
To enter The Woods on a weekend is to enter sweaty, steamy chaos in the cavernous concert hall. With a sprawling stage and DJ booth, the venue’s a hotspot for live music and dance parties fueled by a dirt-cheap menu (High Life and whiskey, anyone?). If you can’t stand the heat, never fear: the spacious back patio is host to beloved Smorgasburg vendor Landhaus, proprietors of the infamous Bacon on a Stick topped with maple syrup and secret spices. Yum.
Notable: The huge, enclosed backyard is a great place for smoking and snacking mid-Friday night binge.
For even MORE Williamsburg’s best bars—and all of Brooklyn’s—vist our bar guide here.