Apr 4, 2016
Drink Up: The 20 Best Bars in Bed-Stuy
Bed-Stuy has an abundance of bars, including some of the best craft beer spots, the chillest live music venues, and the most relaxing backyards in the borough. Here we celebrate 20 of our favorite places to imbibe. We think you should celebrate them too. By, like, drinking a lot.
1) Bar Lunatico: 486 Halsey Street
There are obviously countless venues to see live music in Brooklyn, but it’s a little more difficult to find a place quite like this. Bar Lunatico is basically the perfect little bar for a romantic after-dinner drink with bae. The cocktails are a bit on the pricey side but they’re delicious and it’s worth it to get in on the vibes—plus the music is free! Grab a corner table and get cozy while you listen to the rotating bands play—from jazz to Brazilian— and hold hands; maybe even put your arms around each other, if you’re into that kind of thing.
2) Beast of Bourbon: 710 Myrtle Avenue
Although the vibe can often feel a little college-bro-y, we have to admit Beast of Bourbon does what it does pretty well: The three Bs. Beer hall (over 40 drafts, and all the long beer-hall style benches you could want); BBQ (brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken wings, pig wings—not to mention some really dope mac and cheese); and Bourbon ($8 frozen whiskey drinks). If you are in the neighborhood with a big group of non-vegetarians, it’s worth rolling through.
3) Bed-Vyne Brew: 370 Tompkins Avenue
If you’re looking for a strong craft beer selection in this area of Bed-Stuy, you’ve found your new chill spot. Check the chalkboard for the day’s pickings on their 10 rotating taps; the list goes on and on, but some of our favorite breweries they carry are: Sly Fox, Two Roads, Empire, Founders, Ithaca, and Kelso. Grab a pint and plop down on a reclaimed wood bench, or get a growler to-go. Or if wine is more of your vibe, they have you totally covered there too. They serve a great selection of reasonably-priced wines from their Bed-Vyne Wine shop—and always seem to give a nice, full pour.
4) Black Swan: 1048 Bedford Avenue
Behold the rare place you can take pretty much anyone for pretty much any occasion. Black Swan is cool without taking itself too seriously. With plenty of space, it also manages to be bustling yet feel simultaneously chill. You’d be happy to be taken there on a date (whether it’s your first or your hundredth), or by a friend just to catch up, or with a group to watch the game. Your parents would love it. Anyone who likes to eat—especially late at night when other pickings in the area are slim—would love it. And whether you’re a sommelier or a beer nerd or wino on a budget or a mixologist or just want a damn shot of tequila (or anywhere in between), you’ll find something you’re excited to drink.
5) Casablanca Cocktail Lounge: 300 Malcolm X Boulevard
Casablanca Cocktail Lounge recently turned a year old, but this spot is wise beyond its years. From their choice to preserve the vintage signage, tin roof, and peeling paint when they remodeled to to their ability to bring together a very diverse crowd of dance-hungry locals on any given Friday or Saturday, It’s clear that the bar has intentionally embraced the unity of old Brooklyn and new Brooklyn. With a huge bar, reasonably cheap drinks, and DJs spinning old-school hip hop or soulful R & B, this is the perfect spot for a group to come dance away a weekend night.
6) Chilo’s: 323 Franklin Avenue
“Tacos, tacos, tacos, tacos, tacos” is pretty much the main thing running through our minds at any given moment when we’re drunk. So we were pretty damn overjoyed when Chilo’s opened up this past year, with a food truck slinging tacos until late Thursday through Sunday. A true blessing. Additional blessings include: Some of the best frozen cocktails in Brooklyn, a great backyard (covered for your continued enjoyment in the winter), pico back shot (pico de gallo and tequila), a fine beer selection, a really cool all-black interior, and a door handle that’s a bust of Theodore Roosevelt.
7) C’Mon Everybody: 325 Franklin Avenue
C’Mon Everybody is a place with soul. And not just in the musical sense (although, as one of Brooklyn’s most exciting new venues with a very eclectic lineup, it definitely has that too), but in the broader sense of having a real human core. This is evident by signs that say things like, “We are all one under this roof. Please respect your brothers and sisters,” and, “Respect the DJ’s selections. No requests. Discovery is key.” We love that communal vibe of mutual respect, especially because it’s hard to come by when you’re out drinking.
8) Doris: 1088 Fulton Street
Doris is a love-at-first-sight kind of bar. Like, yeah, sure, you’ll fall in love with the bar. But also, there’s a certain energy about this place—perhaps it’s the sultry southwestern vibe or the intoxicating aroma of scented candles and grilled cheese, or maybe the moody lighting or maybe this place actually just happens to attract a lot of hopeless romantics—but, regardless of why, Doris definitely feels like a place conducive to falling in love (or whatever.) So put your social pants on, grab a nice cocktail, post up with some pals at the bar or in the really cute backyard, and prepare yourself for cupid’s arrow—maybe.
9) Dynaco: 1112 Bedford Avenue
Aesthetically, Dynaco feels pretty country: A long wooden bar paired with wooden walls, dimly lighted via vintage lamps, armed bar stools, a pair of roomy booths, western tapestries, framed vintage photos, and—the best part—a wood-burning fireplace. But, as far as the vibe goes, it’s pretty rock n’ roll: loud, smoky (granted, the smokiness is because of the fireplace, but still), and frequently packed to the gills on a Friday or Saturday night, with people standing all along the wall adjacent to the bar. There’s a nice little beer selection and, although there’s no cocktail menu, the bartenders know their stuff and will gladly mix up whatever your heart desires. Also, for when all the country-ing and rock n’ rolling gets you famished, there are free Goldfish.
10) Fancy Nancy: 1038 Bedford Avenue
We love Fancy Nancy because it’s totally not fancy. Well, it’s not NOT fancy, but, this place feels overtly youthful, from the teal booths to the block-letter font on the menu to the cheese-covered tater tots they serve—which you should definitely try by the way. There’s a great little list of natural wines, delicious cocktails with sassy names (try the Sloppy Seconds!), and a short but sweet beer list. They function primarily as a restaurant and therefore aren’t open super late (11pm during the week and midnight on the weekends), so swing by for a drink after work or make this one of your first stops when heading out on a Friday or Saturday.
11) Glorietta Baldy: 502 Franklin Avenue
With a great craft beer list, perfect selection of seasonal cocktails, lots of seating, and a little courtyard for smoking, Glorietta Baldy is the kind of neighborhood bar everyone needs in their life. But, there is one specific group we think this place might especially appeal to: punks gone moms/dads. We would never say “ex punk” because we know you still have the spirit in you, but you’ve definitely chilled out a lot over the years, probably partially due to a kid or two. And this place is perfect for you because—like you—it subtly hints to its punk spirit with the music it plays (Jawbreaker last time we stopped by) and memorabilia hanging on the walls (Youth of Today, 7 Seconds). So put on your favorite old, ratty band tee and call the sitter.
12) Lovers Rock: 419 Tompkins Avenue
There’s nothing that looks more flattering on a bar than authenticity. When you walk into a place that has a definitive vibe that doesn’t feel forced or fake—just real—it’s a beautiful thing. And that’s what you get at Lovers Rock. Primarily playing reggae and offering an awesome rum-focused cocktail list, the tropical atmosphere is undeniable. They also close at 2am, so it’s really the perfect excuse to start early. Grab a beef patty, a Rum + Ting, and post up in the backyard on a warm summer day and, Bam! welcome to Jamaica. So easy. So real.
13) Moloko: 705 Myrtle Avenue
You know that warm, fuzzy feeling of being in a really homey place, like, say for example, Grandma’s house? When you’re there, you’re totally immersed in acceptance and comfort and really cute little decorations, and really, really good food. Moloko definitely has that Grandma’s house thing going for it, from the vintage mirror hanging over the bar and the potted plants to the quippy, but very, very kind wait staff. Moloko offers a handful of nice beers and wines and then some truly exceptional cocktails and food (we love the Sinclair’s Quay and deviled eggs). And, although it might sound crazy at first, the Grandma’s-house vibe is really the perfect place for a date—because it’s already so full of love.
14) Moot Bar: 579 Myrtle Avenue
Free food is never to be taken lightly. We get pretty excited about free popcorn or even free peanuts, but Moot Bar takes free bar food to the next level with Hot Dog Tuesday, where you get a free dog with every single drink. Every single one! Insane. And there is a great drink selection to help you wash down that dog—or, you know, just to drink if it’s not a Tuesday or if you’re not as excited about these free hot dogs as we are. A dozen or so great beers on tap, and another dozen cans, a handful of house cocktails and cheap glasses of wine, and some beer and shot deals as well. Also, Trivia Wednesdays!
15) One Last Shag: 348 Franklin Avenue
Oh summer, you beautiful, fleeting season of warmth and exuberance and freedom—when the greenery is lush and we are free to be lushes. Don’t leave us, summer. Be endless for real. Pretty please? “Ask and you shall receive,” said One Last Shag. Whether you’re bumping and grinding on OLS’s little dance floor—amongst the tiki vibe and banana-leaf covered walls—in January or July, this place is pure 100% summer.
16) Project Parlor: 742 Myrtle Avenue
Sometimes you miss simpler days. Days of mismatched furniture, beer pong, and raucous DJ party vibes. Oh, you mean college? Well, now that you mention it, Project Parlor is a little reminiscent of college. But! We wouldn’t say it’s exclusively—or even primarily—for college kids. The cocktails are way, way more sophisticated and delicious than anything we ever drank in college (Try the Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned or the Absinthe Frappe) and no matter how old you get, it’s always nice to take photos in a Photo booth and hang out in a big dog-friendly backyard.
17) Stop Time: 1223 Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Have someone in your life you want to impress? “Look how classy and cultured but also laid back I am.” Then you need to take them to Stop Time. A pretty recent addition to the neighborhood, Stop Time occupies the corner of Bedford and Halsey with some serious curb appeal—panels and panels of frosted glass windows that beckon you in with their soft glow at night. And inside, a smart, vintage lounge vibe with checkered floors, a handsome selection of rotating craft beers on tap and wine-focused cocktails, and live jazz music. The epitome of classy but chill.
18) Therapy Wine Bar: 364 Lewis Avenue
Hey girl, you ok? Don’t cry. Let’s drink some wine and talk about it. And if you live in this area of Bed-Stuy, there’s really no better spot to do that than this place literally named Therapy Wine Bar. It isn’t exactly a sommelier’s paradise, but, rather, a chill place to go— with reasonably priced wines by the glass, cocktails, and all kinds of feel-good pitchers to share (like sangria or champagne mojitos)—when you need to turn your brain off. The cheese and meat plates are works of art and it’s never really slammed, so you probably won’t see anyone you know (AKA go ahead and cry if you need to).
19) Tip Top Bar & Grill: 432 Franklin Avenue
In Brooklyn, we all know when people call a bar a “dive,” it’s often bullshit. People will call any place that isn’t a reclaimed-wood clad, lantern-candle filled brunch spot a dive. Well, ladies and gentlemen, let us set the record straight: Tip Top Bar & Grill is a real, honest-to-goodness dive. How can well tell? Maybe it’s the handwritten signs that say “Absolutely No Drugs. You are being watched,” or the wrinkled posters of Obama, or the backyard that feels like junky a garage, or the fact that drinks are always cheaper than most surrounding spot’s happy-hour deals, or that the people who work there—especially the family who owns it—are always angels who just want to feed you fish sandwiches and get you drunk.
20) The Wilky: 108 Patchen Avenue
This relatively new addition to the local bar scene is a welcome one, possessing a totally friendly vibe, excellent and eminently snack-able bar food, and a truly awesome selection of craft beer, including a rotating variety of 18 beers on tap. And, to be honest, we can’t think of somewhere more comforting to be after a long week at the office than the bar at the Wilky, a pint of Black Hog Coffee Milk Stout in hand (its silky sweet goodness is like an adult version of chocolate milk) and a jumbo soft pretzel at the ready. What can we say? We want to go to there. You will too.
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