Truth: Greenpoint has transformed dramatically in far less than a decade. Today, artists who decamped to Brooklyn’s northern-most neighborhood in the 90s to escape Manhattan rents have been joined by, well, much of Manhattan. And high rises. And popped collars. And yet! If a place ever had a spiritual core, it might be Greenpoint. Authentically Polish on one end, artist- and creative-heavy on the other, these are the populations that still suffuse Greenpoint with its unmistakable, colorful, quirky, and (sometimes) still quiet charm. To make matters much better, Greenpoint is blessed with many bars of all stripes, where you may sit and contemplate this reality over mixed drinks or cheap beer and shot (and sometimes Jell-O shot) specials. Here are 32 that do that quite well.
Achilles Heel: We may not subscribe to the idea that Andrew Tarlow invented Brooklyn, but the Diner-Roman’s-Marlow & Sons-Reynard restaurateur sure has been a busy bee. And this Greenpoint bar is one of the highlights of his estimable roster, meant to emulate the drinking spots that catered to Brooklyn dockworkers in the 1900s. Of course, for today’s intrepid Greenpoint dwellers, it helps that Achilles Heel is an oasis of calm in the midst of so much construction, and that it offers meticulously crafted cocktails in a truly serene environment.
180 West Street, Greenpoint
Alameda: This beautiful Greenpoint spot (no, seriously, it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in Brooklyn) has a lot of benefits when it comes to drinking: The cocktails are inventive and delicious; the bartenders, notably former hard-core guitarist Mike Stankovich, who is the consummate conversationalist and drink maker that was profiled in the New York Times; and the food is delicious (try the pimento cheese fries and Littleneck clams) and comes in small enough portions that you can eat a couple of things without feeling like you’re overeating, but are big enough so that you can soak up some of that alcohol.
195 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Black Rabbit: Brooding in an English pub sort of way (not an American-English-pub way, but like something you’d actually find in an old English town), Black Rabbit is in possession of a fireplace and it’s sufficiently dark and seemingly open all the time. There’s ample bar food to snack on (think: everything from bratwurst to Frito Pie) and drinks are solid if not of the craft cocktail variety. Plus, there’s Tuesday night trivia and plenty of board games lying around to enjoy on quieter nights.
91 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint
The Brew Inn: A great, comprehensive beer list makes the Brew Inn stand out in the neighborhood—even with the likes of Torst nearby, mostly because things are incredibly affordable at the Brew Inn, with great happy hour deals on offer. Beyond that, the staff are friendly, the patrons always seem to be in a good mood, and you can feast on seriously good pierogies to your heart’s content.
924 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Broken Land: This tiki-leaning bar is hidden away near the waterfront, and is a great place to experiment with tropical cocktails you’ve maybe never heard of before. For example, instead of a Michelada, try a Chupa-Branca, comprising Mexican Coke, Fernet, and pomegranate juice. There’s also several beer-and-a-shot combos on offer, so you won’t leave sober unless you really, really want to.
105 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Brouwerij Lane: This beer store/bar combo is an ideal place for any beer-lover (and kombucha-lover; they have that fermented beverage on tab; too). The selection is impressively extensive and it’s a great spot to have a beer flight tasting (or two?!), and there’s a tiny backyard for hanging out in warmer weather.
78 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint
Capri Social Club: Sister bar to Manhattan Avenue’s Irene’s, the CSC also specializes in beer-and-jello shot specials, for which, frankly, we could not love them more. Plus, it gets extra points as the most spacious and legitimately pleasant of any similar hangs. Plus, as we noted a couple years ago (and which is still, scarily, accurate) “for whatever reason, Mambo No. 5 is still on their jukebox (so is Imagine,’ if you ever wanna see an entire bar clear out in 60 seconds flat on a Saturday night).”
156 Calyer Street, Greenpoint
The Diamond: One of the few Brooklyn bars with shuffleboard (hey, what’s old is new again, right?), the Diamond also has an assortment of video games and a pretty decent jukebox. It’s pretty low-key, the beer list is strong, the snack game is tasty, and they’ve got a nice patio for when it’s warmer. You could do worse.
43 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Enid’s: Enid’s is an only slightly more upscale neighbor to the grungier Matchless across the street. But, together, entire evenings could be spent hopping back and forth between Enid’s and Matchless, and, as Greenpoint becomes ever more of a destination, many seem to. Inside, Enid’s stands out for its tall ceilings, Brunch service, and pretty tasty frozen drinks. On weekends, sit out side, eat eggs, and work away your hangover with a Bloody. A neighborhood staple, at this point, it has become.
560 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Five Leaves: Primarily a restaurant, Five Leaves is still—when not too crowded—a great place for a drink. The cocktail list is smartly curated and inventive without being filled with too many unknown ingredients. The wine list is small, but there are plenty of good, affordable choices by the glass, and getting pretty much any one of them (or a cocktail) and pairing it with truffle fries or devils on horseback is an ideal combination.
18 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint
Greenpoint Beer and Ale: Greenpoint Beer and Ale has you covered with a vast selection of brews (many European varietals that are almost impossible to find stateside), and a decent food menu ranging from schnitzel (chicken AND cauliflower) to bangers and mash to soak it all up. There’s also a solid happy hour, featuring $5 beers and $10 beer-and-a-shareplate.
7 N. 15th Street, Greenpoint
The Habitat: Home to what might be the greatest happy hour in Brooklyn (we’re talking $3 well drinks, $4 select drafts, and $5 Mac and Cheese Mondays), the Habitat also has a truly excellent variety of craft beers on tap, frequently going beyond any typical standbys and getting into really esoteric, and yet totally approachable territory. The staff is knowledgeable and happy to guide beer novices in the appropriate direction. Plus, the old movie, or soccer match, depending, is also one of a few behind-the-bar TVs; rather than obtrusive, they’re nice company and entertainment while you sit, solitary, and dine.
988 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Irene’s Place: While smack in the middle of gentrified Greenpoint, Irene’s has maintained its dive-y nature in what we can only call a beautiful way. The jukebox is dominated by Polish disco (no, really!) and the beer list spans Brooklyn Lager to Bud to Yunegling, with pretty much nothing else in between. Who cares, though? It’s cheap, and it’ll get you buzzed. And it’ll do so while you hang out in one of the few standbys from this longtime Polish neighborhood.
623 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Keg & Lantern Brewing Company: A solid sports bar featuring plenty of TV screens to watch whatever game you’d like, Keg & Lantern is a brewery/restaurant with a Southern feel (i.e. one of their daily specials involves discounted Rebel Yell shots… so). But that’s ok, we guess. Other daily specials include 50 cent wings and nachos plus two keg-beers for $20. These are good deals! Plus, there’s a spacious backyard filled with picnic tables, making this a great place to bring a group.
97 Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint
Lake Street: What makes a bar Minnesota-themed? Does it need to play only the Hold Steady? Does it need to offer only Twin Cities-beer? 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 decent place to get a beer or two and watch a game. There’s no food (save for a few flavors of potato chips), but who needs it when you’ve got beer and sports? And this summer, sit out back and slurp their lip-smacking frozen Negroni.
706 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Lucky Luna: We’ll admit, sometimes we get a little hybrid-concept fatigued, but we couldn’t help but be compelled by Lucky Luna’s crossing of Taiwanese and Mexican influences, resulting in a very mixed menu, both food- and drinks-wise. Somehow, though, it all works, with the bold flavors complementing rather than clashing with each other. The cocktails are bright and tropical tasting, and, one other cool thing about Lucky Luna, is that they have a strong list of non-alcoholic cocktail choices listed right on the drinks menu, making for a much more friendly environment for the non-drinkers among us.
167 Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint
Manhattan Inn: Beautifully cozy, the Manhattan Inn is full of dark wood, ornate chandeliers, and sconces throwing off only the most flattering light. Adding to the ambience is the presence of a live pianist, making this one of the most romantic spots we know of in Brooklyn. The cocktail list is comprehensive and smart, and the tightly edited dinner menu (think: gumbo, fried green tomatoes, an impeccable cheese plate curated by the Bedford Cheese Shop) is a real draw too.
632 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Bar Matchless: Matchless is top notch for no frills, graffitied walls, and pretty good deals on hand, like its 2-for-1 Tuesdays, which applies to all well drinks and select draft beers. Plus, it’s impossible to be bored here, what with the presence of live bands, dancing, heavy metal karaoke and, even, a photo booth. The brunch is surprisingly decent, as well as being fairly priced.
557 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Moonlight Mile: We’re not too interested in the whole “bar with a gimmick” thing, so when we heard that Greenpoint’s Moonlight Mile would only be serving one type of liquor—bourbon—we were a little skeptical. And bourbon’s even our spirit of choice! But the thing is, Moonlight Mile does bourbon so well (the Foggy Mountain Manhattan is smooth yet powerful) that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick at all, rather it feels like a project of pure passion. Of course, bourbon isn’t the only thing you can imbibe; there’s an excellent selection of craft beer available as well. And as you should be able to expect from a bar named after one of the loveliest, most underrated Rolling Stones ballads, the music playing at Moonlight Mile is perfectly on point.
200 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Nights and Weekends: Latin-leaning drinks (think: rum, mezcal, tequila, pisco) are the thing to order here, as is pretty much anything from the food menu (particularly at brunch). Sister spot to across-the-way’s perennially popular Five Leaves, Nights and Weekends exists in nobody’s shadow, and is a solid place to while away a night.
1 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint
No Name Bar: Maybe we were stupid to bring a book here in the first place. There isn’t really enough light, but we were waiting for a friend and didn’t want to be the jerks who whip out their phones! Once we started reading, it was open season for men trying to start conversations. First there was the guy who wanted to let us know that he had gotten his first library card that day and was excited to “finally read Hemingway.” Then there was the guy who made a dumb joke about the title of the book we were reading. (Sure, it was I Love Dick, but) And then came the guy who saw us writing a note to ourselves in the margin and asked to see what we wrote—charming. Just kidding, it was not so we resorted to playing Sudoku on our phone. And yet! And yet: This bar is still one of our favorite places in the borough for its unpretentious feel, cozy backyard, and excellent mixed drinks. So… also maybe you want to get picked up by a stranger? This is the perfect place for you after all.
597 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Northern Territory: Tucked along the waterfront in Greenpoint, Northern Territory offers Australian food and solid, strong—if basic, like their beer list—cocktails. But also, you can try your hand at creating your very own Bloody Mary at the Bloody Mary bar. Get creative. But most of all: Enjoy the view.
12 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Oak & Iron: For many who live up and down Franklin Avenue, this place is like a living room that happens to serve beer. Bar stools are almost constantly filled with regulars who will sit and talk to other regulars for hours. If you don’t grab a seat there, the space is lined with spacious booths, great for hosting a group of six. Sadly, Oak & Iron lost the juke box that used to be a standout here, but bartenders have stepped it up to provide a very listenable soundtrack in its stead. This place is low-key to the core and, even if you’re not a regular yet, its home-y-ness will trick you into feeling like you already are.
147 Franklin St, Greenpoint
Palace Cafe: Once, I walked into Palace Cafe totally out of it because it had been a long day and I was tired and hungry. I ordered one of its incredibly cheap Buds (we are talking like two bucks), and it took me a second to realize I had no cash. No problem, I thought, I’ll just get some cash with my debit card. But the whole ordeal took me a minute; the bartender was not happy. I’ve never been closer to being kicked out of a bar, for the act of taking too long to find my money: a hard-ass place if the description ever applied. But, if you have money at the ready, and not even so much of it, you’ll fall in love with this true corner bar dive. There’s a metal music on the juke box; the game is on TV; you’ll find people smoking inside and not giving a shit that you can’t. It’s a place to fall in love with, the Greenpoint you thought was gone.
206 Nassau Ave., Greenpoint
Pencil Factory Bar: Close to perennial Greenpoint pizza favorite Paulie Gee’s (which is also perennially crowded), the Pencil Factory Bar is a great little place to drink while you’re waiting for your Hellboy pie. It’s a cozy, unpretentious spot, which has been around for over a decade now, and so doesn’t feel like any of the area’s more, let’s say, newcomer-oriented spots. And to prove that point even further? It’s cash-only.
142 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Ramona: Half of Brooklyn’s most breathtaking restaurants and bars can be traced back to hOmE’s Evan and Oliver Haslegrave, but the bi-level Ramona in Greenpoint might just be their pièce de résistance, with a curved iron and oak staircase, a five-tier chandelier fashioned from copper water pipes, and a 35-foot Carrara marble bar, framed by wood salvaged from the Atlantic City boardwalk. All of this would be sufficient to make Ramona a worthy destination, but the cocktails here are among the best in the borough. Some of our favorites include The New Partner, featuring caraway-infused rye, honey, mint, and valernum; Hotel Danger, with ultra-spicy peach mezcal and chipotle agave; and The Broken Mirror, with absinthe, green chartreuse, and dandelion-burdock bitters. Amazing.
113 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Saint Vitus Bar: Metal music is alive and well—you knew that, right?—and no place makes sure that is true more than Saint Vitus Bar in Greenpoint. Up front, there is a solid bar and friendly staff. In back, the live metal magic happens. Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, be a fan of the bar.
1120 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Spritzenhaus: This cavernous, always bustling spot manages to retain its coziness despite its size, thanks to the presence of its warm and welcoming fireplace. Serving traditional German beer hall fare (think: bratwurst and krainerwurst, soft pretzels, and Belgian fries), the thing to drink here is beer, of which Spritzenhaus has seemingly endless options, leaning heavily toward German and local options. The scene can be a bit new North Brooklyn bro-y, but what ar you gonna do. They’re everywhere.
33 Nassau Avenue, Greenpoint
t.b.d. Brooklyn: On t.b.d.’s website, we’re told this is where “Brooklyn comes to chill.” And, you know what? That is pretty much right. But here’s the other thing about t.b.d.: its aesthetic game is rather strange, and maybe best described as “1980s lounge”—leathery lounge-y couches included. And yet! Oh, the hours we’ve spent there: Birthday parties in its massive backyard (which feels like a completely separate bar, and you should come here when you need to play host to a large gathering without the crowding; it is never packed back there!), Mad Men viewings, Olympics watching, and plenty of reasonably-priced drinks. Also, ping pong. In the end, t.b.d. is, determinedly, a surprisingly dependable place to chill, and drink.
224 Franklin St, Greenpoint
Tender Trap: A bar-cum-live music venue-cum-art gallery, Tender Trap is many things to many, if not all, people. Strictly speaking, as a place for drinking, it’s a solid option for those times when alcohol is just not going to be enough to entertain you, those times when you need live comedy, or to get on the floor and dance, dammit!
66 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint
Tommy’s Tavern: So, true story: We’ve had a couple memorable times trying to go to Tommy’s during regularly stated business hours and it was solidly closed. Oh, sure, there were people in there, but it was not open for us. Eventually, we did manage to get in, and the place is genuinely a dive, which, you know, is sometimes just what we’re in the mood for. The drinks are certainly cheap. So that’s nice. And if you’re drinking solo and get bored? Spend a few minutes getting hypnotized by their website’s homepage. It’s crazy.
1041 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
Torst: It’s been three years since the heralded opening of this joint venture between Evil Twin Brewing’s Jeppe Jarnit Bjergso and chef Daniel Burns, and still no one has yet to out-do Torst when it comes to craft beer credentials: Their draft list is consistently bonkers, with an impressive (and, it should be noted, pricey) selection of hard-to-find beers from all over the world, as well as a solid representation of the very best locals. And beyond the beer, there’s the bar menu. Thanks to the kitchen of adjoining tasting menu-only restaurant, Luksus, delicious tidbits like crisp, fried cippolini onions with tart tomato relish and well-curated cheese boards, featuring dark Danish bread are on offer to go with your ale.
615 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint