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Bar Blondeau
Photograph: Courtesy Liz Clayman

The best bars in Brooklyn

Drink like Kings in the wonderful borough of Brooklyn

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Brooklyn has at least one of everything and bars are no exception. One could spend a lifetime in the borough of Kings and perhaps merely glimpse every dive, wine bar, beer garden and classic drinking emporium. Each one is special in its own way, and the best of them shine with excellent cocktails, hospitable ambiance and qualities that simply keep you coming back. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

One of the original favorites from Smith Street’s golden age, multi-bar maker Julie Reiner’s Clover Club first opened in 2008 and it’s still considered one of the city’s best bars. Venture beyond the dining room to grab a seat if you can and take a moment or twelve to peruse the lengthy cocktail menu that could more fairly be categorized as a book. Or just order a frozen drink, which they do very well here. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Twins Marva and Myriam Babel opened their eponymous bar on Dean Street in 2015. Pass through the brick facade to enter the inviting barroom and order a few fantastic seasonal cocktails, wine or beer to sip inside or out. Ode to Babel also makes its own gin to bring a bit of its spirit elsewhere. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 3 of 4

This Williamsburg favorite was met with cheers and sighs of relief when it reopened last spring after a long pause. Its finally fully functional once more, back to serving its signature absinthe and oysters, among many other options, in its lovely space and secret garden-quality exterior. 

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Brooklyn Social
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

This neighborhood charmer used to get untenably packed on weekend evenings, but things have gotten more comfortable in the eighteen years since it first opened. At $13, its cocktails are a few dollars less than expected, there are a few sandwiches on the menu, you can play pool in the back and there’s a yard a little farther.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Red Hook
  • price 1 of 4

This address has been a bar since 1890, most famously as Sunny’s, as far as anyone seems to recall. It's in what some visitors would have referred to as remote Red Hook in the pre-rideshare times when a taxi could have gotten you there, but much less reliably back. Perhaps that's also why the classic, charming dive is as popular as ever, with people packing into its booths around the bar, in the back room and into the small but efficient backyard. Go on a weeknight to avoid the Uber crowd. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Bushwick

A huge backyard is the obvious draw during more temperate months, but nightlife pro/musician Kareem Bunton’s bushwick bar is attractive outside and in. Bunton’s World Famous’ attractive interior is appointed in jewel tones, occasional exposed brick and comfortable banquettes where you can sip frozen drinks and other tipples. 



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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 2 of 4

Award-winning bartender Ivy Mix joined with the Clover Club team to open Leyenda across the street in 2015. It added street seats to its backyard in recent years, and its terrific cocktail menu is printed with a legend so you always know what to expect. 



Pilot
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

One of NYC’s best waterfront bars occupies this 147-foot schooner near the southern edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It feels vacation-adjacent even in full view of lower Manhattan across the east river, replete with all manner of drinks and seafood classics. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Boerum Hill
  • price 2 of 4

The fun cocktail menu at neighborhoody Grand Army is ever changing, including recent themes like “CATS!” (not the musical) and “Nicholas Cage.” Its present offerings include the Zigazigahhh, Wannabe and Girl Power, if you wish to guess the present theme. 

Montero
  • Bars
  • Sports Bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 1 of 4

This throwback mariner bar dates to 1939 and it has aged about that well. Its karaoke is so popular that the designation is somehow more pronounced than its dive bar bones, but you’ll still get that mixed drink in a plastic cup in the unlikely event you aren’t sticking with beer. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Caribbean
  • Bushwick
  • price 2 of 4

Caribbean American barbecue joins wine, beer, cocktails and frozens in this simply chic space with pops of greenery. Those last two varieties are available in standard or fun sizes, which here has an opposite meaning of the one more popularly attributed to candy bars.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Bushwick

This self-billed "queer tiki disco dive bar" has a consistently updated beer menu, shows, events and theme nights, and a nice backyard. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint

Disco and 70s style seems to be creeping back into NYC restaurants and bars this season, but Goldies has boasted the aesthetic–with an extra Viva Las Vegas touch since 2016. In addition to its glittery tables, interesting portraits and nods to big cats throughout the space, it has a pool table and a great deck. 

  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

Although it is only on the sixth floor of the Wythe Hotel, Bar Blondeau, which opened last summer, has a great view of the Manhattan skyline. See it inside from around the pretty bar or step out onto the large terrace. Drinks include all the regular hits, plus more zero-abv options than most and a solid, mostly seafood menu. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg

New owners recently reopened Maracuja’s semi-secret garden for the first time in a long time, so ignore the sign marked ‘no entry’ and slip outside. The menu reads “if you know it we can read it” in lieu of a formal cocktail menu, but there is a wine and beer list, and a variety of better than bar food options. 

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