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The 20 best bars in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Some of NYC's best bars, including bustling beer gardens and elegant cocktail spots, are right here in Williamsburg

Written by
Time Out contributors
&
Victoria Marin
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Bars in Williamsburg make up much of Brooklyn’s vast and varied drinking scene. The neighborhood is home to saloons geared toward every type of drinker: straightforward beer bars for hops geeks, sophisticated first-date bars for Tinder matches and a bevy of chameleon-like joints that are equal parts bar, restaurant and place to dance. Find the absolute best bars in the hood right here.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Best bars in Williamsburg

  • Bars
  • Gastropubs
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Lovingly dubbed a gastrodive, this no-frills spot delivers strong drinks, salty food and a lively atmosphere that draws legions of fans. The nibbles here are no ordinary bar bites, either. The kitchen churns out crispy, crackly fried chicken and pillowy biscuits with honey butter that are excellent complements to your can of Schlitz. 

  • Bars
  • Williamsburg

This artist-run spot's leadership is evident in the kitschy-yet-thoughtful design details that punctate the colorful, cozy space and tropical-infused cocktails (think flavors like kiwi and coconut milk). The delightful decor extends even to the restroom, which is outfitted with mismatched wall art.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

With an unassuming entrance, cozy and elegant interiors, and some of the best bespoke cocktails in the city, Fresh Kills is everything you could possibly want in a bar in a trendy neighborhood. It also has a wonderful happy hour and a low-ABV drink menu.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Billyburg’s bar scene has been known to skew divey, but this bi-level drinks den offers laid-back boozing sans the stench of stale beer. The vibe is vaguely Victorian, complete with ottomans, throw pillows and antique-looking tchotchkes. Well-priced, simple cocktails feature herbs and house-infused spirits. While the ground-floor bar also stocks beers and organic French wines, the real draw is upstairs—scale the steps in the back to find a roof deck with a frozen-margarita station.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Williamsburg

Control freaks beware: this “bar with wine and 45s” is “menu-free”–patrons are offered simply a choice between glass or bottle and “red, white, pink, bubbles, orange, or sake.” But if you’re willing to share a bit about what you usually like, and relinquish power to the knowledgeable staff, you’re sure to be delighted.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy runs this buzzy spot, but it turns out he’s just as talented behind a bar as he is behind a mic. Wine is the biggest draw here, and the team created one of the city’s most impressive lists of natural and biodynamic wines with more than 250 available to taste. The cozy atmosphere, replete with cedar ceiling slats and a sleek wooden bar, is a complement to the food, which includes comforting bites.

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

You will find no bar more elegant than this French Quarter–inspired haunt. One of the few watering holes in New York to offer a comprehensive absinthe experience—we’re talking slow-dripping ice water over a sugar cube—the menu carries more than a dozen varieties of the anise-flavored spirit. Pair your cocktail with the venue’s other New Orleans specialty: oysters. When the weather is nice, ask for a seat in the dreamy, ethereal garden and laissez les bon temps rouler.

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Westlight is perched atop the William Vale hotel, where the skyline views are among the best in the city. And honestly, that would probably be enough–they’re that stunning–but on top of that, the cocktail menu is thoughtful, unique and extensive. 

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One of the newest bars in a neighborhood full of competition, Milagro is already popular, thanks, in part to its cheeky and decadent takes on tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, like the Mexican chocolate boozy milkshake and the frozen lemon margarita.  

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Kick back to the sounds of Judas Preist at a destination that's almost always a great time. The beers are chalice-sized, so heavy that they're nearly cumbersome, at this rock 'n roll-themed bar near the Lorimer train stop. And, given the also large space, backyard and pool table, it's a great spot to roll through with a group. 

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  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

A cartoon dog portrait hanging on Bedford Avenue marks this canine-friendly watering hole. Twenty on-tap beers from Allagash and Ommegang and a full bar keep patrons happy, while pooches frolic off-leash in the brick-tiled courtyard. Space is tight inside, but a jukebox spinning classics by Bob Dylan and George Jones and a long shuffleboard table offer comfort.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Brooklyn bars with DJ-scored liveliness inside and a relaxing kick-back-with-cocktails space outside can be hard to come by. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at the nightlife haunt Midnights. It also has wine, beer and drink specials for $10 and under, and a small snack selection. 

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Martinis, martinis, martinis. Even if you’re not normally a martini lover, as long as you like booze, there’s something for you here. The Kinky Martini (a spicy take on the traditional) and the 1885 (mezcal-based) are especially memorable.

  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

A massive space created from the gutting of two warehouses, this Austro-Hungarian beer hall is popular with everyone from giddy undergrads to parents with babies in tow. Beer is obviously king here: 22 drafts are on tap and over 50 are available by the bottle. Live daily music keeps the hall buzzing and a retractable roof in the garden means the steins are always clinking, rain or shine.

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

For beer geeks, this homey spot on Metropolitan Avenue is the ne plus ultra for sampling rare and obscure labels. The team keeps only keeps six beers on tap (plus one on cask), meaning the tightly edited menu never fails to impress. But the crowds don’t make the trek just for those pours: There are also a whopping 140 bottles on offer, most of which are hard-to-find Belgian varieties.

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

You don’t have to fly down to Nashville for an authentic honky-tonk experience—just hit up this freewheelin’ spot named after famed country session musician Skinny Dennis Sanchez. With live music, a happy “hour” from noon to 7pm every day and 18 beers on draft, it’s dangerously easy to stay here until last call. 

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