Jun 3, 2016
20 of Brooklyn’s Best Bars for Frozen Cocktails
People of Brooklyn, we have many talents. But a couple of them stand out more than others; one of them is drinking. We have more bars than any bar-addicted fool could ever hope for. And now that it is nice and steamy outside, one kind of bar we all love is the variety that serves frozen drinks. We don’t care if you’re someone who “doesn’t like sweet drinks.” Do you like alcohol? Do you like to stay cool while it’s hot? Do you like that which is inherently delicious? Then, even for you, saccharine-sour pants, frozen drinks are where it’s at. Here, then, are 20 of Brooklyn’s best spots that serve blended ice, alcohol, and juices, all mixed into one icy dream.
1) Margarita Island: Beer Garden may have been effectively ousted by Zamperla, but it didn’t stop owner Carlo Muraco (also of the venerable Shoot the Freak) to attempt a second act with this frozen drink-focused party spot, which is currently the largest indoor/outdoor bar gracing the boardwalk. Open from Memorial Day weekend all the way through September, it offers live entertainment and regular promotions (ladies enjoy half-priced margaritas on Thursdays), as well as a food court featuring three different trucks—Smokehouse BBQ, the Nacho & Burrito Bar, and Yume Teriyaki Grill, serving steak and rice, chicken wings and crispy gyoza.
1105 Bowery Street, Coney Island
2) Beast of Bourbon: Although the vibe can often feel a little college-bro-y, we have to admit Beast of Bourbon does what it does pretty well: 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’re in the neighborhood with a big group of non-vegetarians, it’s worth rolling through.
710 Myrtle Avenue, Bed-Stuy
3) Zombie Hut: Tiki at its finest is what you’ll find at Zombie Hut, where people gather on the ample back patio to sip tropical drinks garnished with plastic creatures like a green monkey. Try a sugar-rimmed Frozen Zombie, a deadly, Bacardi-based slushi: It packs a shot in the straw. It’s a small, but crucial detail that should be known before taking the initial sip, unless you’re into surprises. Really, it’s a layer of pure Bacardi 151, floating above the frozen surface. But once you get passed it, the passion fruit and candied rimmed drink is a cup of sugary goodness, reminiscent of a Jolly Rancher. Spend an afternoon here sipping on Mai Tais and playing Jenga, kicking your feet up on the patio, and living your best life. Stagger out like, well, a zombie.
273 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
4) Habana Outpost: In a very real sense, this outdoor picnic table, margarita, and corn on the cob party could be considered the epicenter of Fort Greene. It takes up the prominent corner at Fulton and South Portland Avenues, and—during warm months—it rarely lacks for day or nighttime drinkers. Frozen drinks and mojitos are gulped aplenty. And in the frozen department, they hand you the reigns to create your own with an additional splash of flavored syrup, if desired. The Morita (margarita and mojito) is a winner. If there’s anything we like more than a good portmanteau word, it’s a portmanteau drink. For $8, this brilliant hybrid is perfect on its own, but for 50 cents more, you can add strawberry, mango, or guava puree. May as well get a few extra nutrients in there, right? This and a plate of Cuban Pastelito de Guayaba, and you’re set.
757 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
5) Pork Slope: When celebrity chef and all around neighborhood cool guy Dale Talde (of nearby Talde and Thistle Hill Tavern) opened up this narrow 5th Avenue sports bar, he gave the good people of Park Slope something they didn’t even know they needed—a stoned teenager’s heaven, complete with all the comfort of a finished suburban basement. College football on the TV, bargain beer and shot specials, frozen boozy cocktail slushies, shelves and shelves of specialty whiskey and craft beers, a kitchen famous for uber-cheesey nachos (delivered piled high on a giant, lunchroom-style tray), and delicious McDonald’s-inspired cheeseburgers are just a few of the things that draw the crowds into Pork Slope night after bleary-eyed night. If your adolescence included any of these elements, it’ll feel just like coming home.
247 5th Avenue, Park Slope
6) Skinny Dennis: 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 honkytonk 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. It is cold mix of sweetness, coffee, and booze, and good luck not getting brain freeze as you gulp this down with likely zeal. If, however, you don’t know to which Willie it refers, you’re in the wrong place.
152 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
7) Donna Cocktail Club: The extensive, expertly-curated craft cocktail menu at Donna is redefining the “fruity cocktail” with tropical flavors expertly combined for a sophisticated drinking experience on the Williamsburg waterfront. And, to aid the dulled and over-worked brains of his patrons, beverage director Jeremy Oertel conceived of something quite useful: a drinking map. On it, you’re presented with three easy-to-understand sections that start out light, migrate to full body, and end strong. Little icons illustrate drink ingredients and what vessels they’re served in, so you don’t even have to read to pick something you’d like. In the frozen department, start with the Milano Vice, which is Oertel’s take on the Miami Vice—a piña colada mixed with a strawberry daiquiri. Also, go for the Brancolada (Branca Menta, Appleton Rum, Coconut Cream, pineapple and orange juice) served on top of a Strawberry Negroni—frozen. It hits that dreamy mix of cold, bitter-sweetness, not too heavy in either direction.
27 Broadway, Williamsburg (Photo courtesy of Donna)
8) Loosie Rouge: There’s always something happening at Loosie Rogue, the sister restaurant to Southern comfort joint Loosie Kitchen. This southern, jazz-riffing cocktail bar serves up a rotating cast of piano men, open mic performers, and open-air jam sessions to keep you downing your drinks—the best of which are of the fantastic frozen—and tapping your foot all night long.
91 South 6th Street Williamsburg
9) Turkey’s Nest: 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 frozen 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.
94 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
10) Lake Street: What makes a bar Minnesota-themed? Does it need to play only the Hold Steady? Does it need to offer Midwestern beers? Do people just need to be really, really, really, ridiculously nice? Does hot dish need to be on the menu? Sure! All of the above. Or, you know, we guess the hot dish is not required. Anyway, Lake Street is a more than a decent place to get a beer; but above all, go for the frozen Negroni all summer long. Maybe even skip the game-du-jour on TV, and take it out back.
706 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
11) Nights and Weekends: Latin-leaning drinks (think: rum, mezcal, tequila, pisco) are the thing to order here—as are the frozen drinks on offer: the Miami Vice or “Something from South of the Border.” But as you drink, you can’t go wrong with the food selection, either.(brunch is particularly great). Sister spot to across-the-way’s perennially popular Five Leaves, Nights and Weekends exists in nobody’s shadow, is open seven days a week until 3am, and is a solid place to while away nights and weekends throughout steamy June, July, and August.
1 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint
12) Bearded Lady: Bearded Lady has held court as Washington Avenue’s go-to low key cocktail bar since opening in 2011, attracting passersby with a menu of delicious seasonal mixed drinks, local draft beer, mouthwatering charcuterie plates and a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. During the warmer months, the real draw is the line of tall, flung open windows that wrap around the corner space—and incredibly lip-smacking frozen drinks: And electric blue-hued Frozen Blue Hawai’i, A Painkiller, in the form of an ice cream cone, and a frozen Three Berry Sangria. Extended summer time brain freeze, here we come.
686 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights
13) Commodore: 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—not to mention the frozen mojito and traditional marg. No matter the night, this bar is constantly thrumming with young people looking to snack and slurp the night away. 366 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
14) Berry Park: Berry Park offered a hell of a set up for drinking frozen cocktails in the summer: rooftop lounging with a killer view of the city skyline. It could only be better if there were an adult-size blow-up pool in the center (*cough cough*). And fewer people. But that’s asking a lot. Instead, focus on the Frozen Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri you’re taking down, block out all that noise, and gaze across the river, as you beat the summer heat.
4 Berry Street, Williamsburg
15) New Apolo Restaurant: If you’re looking to get pretty drunk, pretty fast the Suicide Colada is all you need. This bar’s massive drink list overshadows the food menu—but what’s important here are the coladas. When we visited, everyone in the joint, save for the two kids who were present, was sipping on some version of a frozen colada, so you’ll be in good company.
508 Grand Street, Williamsburg
16) Bushwick Country Club: If you want to awaken, or you’re just trying to channel your inner child (or inner Beyoncé), then the frozen Plan A at this rapturously loved Williamsburg bar is the best way to give you the corresponding red tongue. Plus, it’s so sweet that you can’t taste the alcohol—perfect for regressing to the days when you didn’t have a care in the world. Then, the oldie but goodie Jim Beam and Coke slushie has been a longtime neighborhood favorite for good reason: in frozen form, a classic whiskey and coke turns into everything it was always meant to be (which gives it a bit of a leg up over the frozen sweet tea vodka, the other frozen drink consistently on offer here). It’s also the ideal way to wash down the bar’s free cheese puffs, should you need any further incentive. 618 Grand St., East Williamsburg
17) Glady’s: This hoppin’ Caribbean-themed bar and restaurant in Crown Heights has quickly become a deeply loved neighborhood go-to. The excellent selections of traditional seafood plantains and rice are a perfect base for the frozen drink you will order: The Dark N Slushie has a bite, but looks inviting and sweet. Its mixture of Gosling’s Black Rum, ginger and lime is at once spicy and tangy.
788 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights
18) 67 Burger: It’s a little hard to make an argument that anything called a “beer milkshake” is good for you, exactly, but then, a combination of a beer and a milkshake is truly the most American way we can think of to wash down one of this place’s perfect burgers. Treat yourself, as they say.
67 Lafayette Ave., Ft. Greene
19) Sea Wolf: Sea wolf—just opened by Daniel Cipriani of Lodge—serves menu of sea- and land-fare, and one hell of a happy hour on this prominent Bushwick corner. From 4 – 7pm daily, you an get dollar oysters, five buck draughts, five buck cocktails and, even five dollar frozen painkillers. Sitting at one of its many outdoor tables, and, inside, seeing a bunch of images of ships, large fish, and stringy-beach lights, you might forget you’re not on the beach.
19 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
20) Dromedary: This new Tiki bar in Bushwick doesn’t serve up your traditional slushy, but it’s something very close to it—instead of a thoroughly-blended frozen drink, Michael Lombardozzi, an industry long-timer from One If By Land, Two If By Sea, wanted to steer clear of the overly-sweet, expected Tiki, and in so doing created a menu that shows off the more sophisticated side of tiki: see-through glassware that lets the drink boast its own beauty (though there’s another you can drink out of an opaque shark head, so the man does have a sense of humor). Happy hour runs every weekday from 5pm to 8pm, and, Brooklyn, Dromedary also serves brunch. Crushed ice tiki drinks? Brunch? Does the key to happiness include anything else? The answer is no.
266 Irving Ave., Bushwick
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