Summer boozing requires a few specific elements: chiefly, an outdoor space where you and some friends can hang out, and enough low-alcohol beers to keep you pleasantly buzzed, but not drunk. Take the Diamond: Not only does this Greenpoint bar have a lovely backyard, complete with a gondola repurposed for seating, but it also offers plenty of session beers with an ABV of 5 percent or less. While higher-alcohol quaffs are available, we suggest sticking with the lighter brews: 21st Amendment’s Bitter American ($6) is a tasty choice, and won’t leave your head spinning at the end of the day.
The necessary ingredients for summer day-drinking can also be found at Park Slope’s Fourth Avenue Pub: While the beer list isn’t specifically focused on session brews, low-ABV options include drafts from Smuttynose, Victory and Captain Lawrence. As for the outdoor space, there are plenty of picnic tables in the high-walled back garden, along with a few metal tables and chairs.
Good news: In April, the much-lauded Queens brewery opened a sidewalk beer garden at its Astoria taproom, with plenty of benches and room for drinking. SingleCut debuted just last winter, but has already built a devoted following thanks to its inventive brews (with a focus on lagers). And happily, many of those beers—particularly the 18-Watt IPA ($6) and the flagship 19-33 Lagrrr! ($4)—are sessionable, making them perfect alfresco drinking companions.
Inevitably, it will rain this summer, which is why a bar like Hot Bird—with large indoor and outdoor spaces—is good to have around. But the watering hole, built in a former auto-body shop facing Atlantic Avenue, is best experienced on a sunny day, when you can crowd around picnic tables on the expansive patio and sip drafts from Left Hand and Full Sail ($6–$7). Plus, the happy hour—Mon–Thu 5–8pm and Fri 4–8pm, with $4 pints and $1 off well drinks—has some of the best deals in town.
There are a number of reasons why this bierhaus, open for more than a century, is a perennial summer favorite: Seating is plentiful, the drink list features a fair share of low-alcohol brews, and traditional Czech food is available to soak up some of that booze. Expect crowds (including families) during the day—but the shaded backyard is so roomy that you’ll hardly notice.
As the name suggests, American spirits are the emphasis at this dark, sultry bar. Along with a selection of bourbons and ryes, there are gins, vodkas and rums, all distilled in the States. Using the homeland hooch, mixologists Jim Kearns and Lynnette Marrero shake and stir top-notch mixed drinks like the refreshing house punch made with arrack (a rumlike spirit) and chai-infused rye. The Creole Daiquiri combines New Orleans rum with chorizo-flavored mescal (it’s a bit like sipping a taco, which is a good thing). While the focus is clearly on drinking, there’s excellent upscale pub grub: We liked the fiery fried buffalo sweetbreads.
Venue says: “Welcome spring with our cocktail of the month, Spring Blossom made with Basil Infused Brooklyn Republic Vodka!”