Best nightlife in Williamsburg: The hottest clubs and music venues

The best nightlife in the neighborhood isn’t confined to clubs—much of the after-dark action takes place in live-music and other venues.

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Williamsburg is known for its indie-rock scene, so much of the best nightlife revolves around music venues—see local bands and touring indie darlings at Pete’s Candy Store, Music Hall of Williamsburg or the Knitting Factory. With a warehouse vibe and a killer sound system, Output recently boosted Brooklyn's club quota. Start (or end) your night at one of the neighborhood’s many hip watering holes.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Output

  • Critics choice

This multiroom dance club, located next to the Wythe Hotel in North Williamsburg, was hailed as the savior of NYC nightlife even before it opened. Time will tell if that's even close to being true—but in the meantime, enjoy its great sound system and firm commitment to the underground, both in its house- and techno-heavy booking policy and general lack of bottle-service inanity.

  1. 74 Wythe Ave, at North 12th St, 11211
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Union Pool

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The former pool-supply outlet now supplies booze to scruffy Williamsburgers, who pack the tin-walled main room’s half-moon booths and snap saucy photo-kiosk pics. Bands strum away on the adjacent stage, while a spacious courtyard is packed with wooden benches to lure chain-smokers. Arrive early to kick back $3 PBRs or $7 Jack-and-Cokes (a buck off from 5 to 8pm).

  1. 484 Union Ave, at Meeker Ave, 11211
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The Williamsburg Waterfront

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Taking up the slack from the late, lamented Pool Parties at McCarren Park, the Williamsburg Waterfront is bringing some of indie rock's biggest acts—from the reunited Faith No More to the suddenly ubiquitous Pavement—to the strategically located hipster nexus of East River State Park.

  1. 110 Kent Ave, at North 8th St
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Brooklyn Bowl

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This bowling alley and live music venue fully embraces the new mania for local nostalgia. The space takes its design cues from Coney Island with old freak-show posters and carnival-game relics, and all of the beer sold inside—by Sixpoint, Kelso and the Brooklyn Brewery—is made in the borough. This is a great place to kill a few hours with a big rowdy group: You can tackle a pitcher and the stoner-food menu from the Blue Ribbon team (delicious fatty brisket, Old Bay–fried

  1. 61 Wythe Ave, at North 11th St, 11211
  2. Half-hour of play for up to eight people: Sat...
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Music Hall of Williamsburg

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

When, in 2007, the local promoter Bowery Presents found itself in need of a Williamsburg outpost, it gave the former Northsix a face-lift and took over the bookings. It’s basically a Bowery Ballroom in Brooklyn, and hipsters flock here to get their indie fix. Shows from family performers are rare, but are booked on occasion.

  1. 66 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
Book online

Huckleberry Bar

  • Price band: 2/4

The name says it all: To be a huckleberry is to be the right one for the job, and Huckleberry Bar is just that. Owners Andrew Boggs and Stephanie Schneider have created an experience that will satisfy any boozer’s desire: choice beers, an ace wine selection, serious cocktails and respectable eats. Every detail, down to a DJ who adjusts the soundtrack to fit the crowd and hour, is tailored to give you what you want. Acquire an intimate table in the expansive room and call for a

  1. 588 Grand St, at Lorimer St
  2. Average drink: $8. AmEx, MC, V
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Knitting Factory

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Knitting Factory finds its latest incarnation in Williamsburg (previous NYC locations include Soho and Tribeca), with a medium-size space divided in two by a huge glass window. There’s a low-lit bar in the front and an even dimmer stage in the back. The sound is great, the bookings even better.

  1. 361 Metropolitan Ave, at Havemeyer St
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Verboten

  • Price band: 2/4

Finally! The Verboten club has finally joined the north Williamsburg nightlife scene, with tons of house, techno, bass music and live gigs filling the 750-person-capacity spot. The main room features an expansive dance floor and Martin Audio sound system, while the side room will serve as a restaurant and lounge; both have a modern-industrial feel, or as the crew behind the club puts it, "the brick-and-mortar realization of Verboten's dystopian aesthetic." Trouble & Bass, Bespoke

  1. 54 North 11th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves, 11211
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Cameo

  • Price band: 2/4

Cameo Gallery is a performance space situated behind Williamsburg's Lovin' Cup Cafe, typically hosting bills of up-and-coming indie-rockers, booked by local-scene enthusiasts. Though the sound isn't exactly the greatest (the venue's sound engineer has been known to scamper onstage during performances to quickly squash problems), Cameo's a decent place to catch a show and observe that slice of life on the hipster fringe. In between sets, you can take advantage of the café's full

  1. 93 North 6th St, between Berry St and Wythe Ave, 11211
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Glasslands

  • Price band: 1/4

Though Williamsburg's Glasslands Gallery is situated in what was once a rather industrial area of Brooklyn, the perpetual gentrification of that particular neighborhood has established Glasslands as an important venue for the heat-seeking hipster set. Capacity's low (about 275) and the sound sucks, but if you're searching out the buzziest bands on Brooklyn's uniquely prolific scene, odds are you'll make a stop there quite soon.

  1. 289 Kent Ave, between South 1st and 2nd Sts, 11249
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The Counting Room

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This spacious, stylish watering hole offers two great bars in one: wines by the glass and half bottles on the ground floor, and cocktails and spirits in a basement lounge. The wine list upstairs, with a focus on small, all-natural producers, features a well-priced collection of offbeat finds. Downstairs, you can sip classic and original drinks like the assertive Reverend Horton Heat, a tall bourbon refresher with smoked lemon juice and sweet maple syrup. Pro tip: Come by on

  1. 44 Berry St, at North 11th St, 11211
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Public Assembly

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice

The former site of Galapagos (which has since relocated to Dumbo), Public Assembly retains that venue's trademark indoor pond; raw, industrial feel; and commitment to local indie bands. But now the spot also hosts plenty of nights driven by DJs and dancing—including seminal monthly techno party the Bunker, which attracts the top echelon of the electronic-music world to the club's two rooms.

  1. 70 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
More info

TBA Brooklyn

  • Critics choice

This intimate party space, helmed by scene stalwarts Mehmet "Memo" Erkaya and Gio Gulez, is dedicated to the underground end of the house and techno spectrum.

  1. 395 Wythe Ave, at South 6th St, 11211
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Trophy Bar

  • Price band: 2/4

On Thursday nights, this funky brick-and-tile bar offers free barbecue in its rotating sculpture garden.

  1. 351 Broadway, between Keap and Rodney Sts
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Cubana Social

  • Price band: 1/4

Williamsburg gets a spacious Cuban restaurant, with a menu featuring bites like a Cuban sandwich with house-made pickles, plus classic rum cocktails.

  1. 70 North 6th St, between Kent and Wythe Aves
  2. Average main course: $10. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Ran Tea House

This spacious tearoom, located on the same block as indie-rock haven Glasslands, has become a home away from home for performing artists visiting from China.

  1. 269 Kent Ave, between Grand and South 1st Sts
More info

Zebulon

  • Price band: 2/4

Far off the beaten path in Williamsburg, this charming French bistro also serves up an impressive menu of offbeat musical fare, including edgier forms of alt rock, jazz and world music.

  1. 258 Wythe Ave, between Metropolitan Ave and North 3rd St
More info

Duff's Brooklyn

  • Price band: 2/4

Formerly located in Hell's Kitchen under the name Bellevue Bar, Duff's heavy-metal bar is a mecca for metalheads. Performers at the new South Williamsburg outpost range from local ax shredders to world-renowned hardcore heavyweights like Rob Zombie, Pantera, Iron Maiden and Lamb of God. The walls are covered in a fine assortment of shrunken heads, and the music does its best to make your ears bleed.

  1. 28 North 3rd St, at Kent Ave
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