A big warehouse in an industrial neighborhood has been turned into a rustic barn-like ballroom for dance parties, live music shows, intense Trivia nights, and themed happenings. There's a low-lit saloon up front for cozy conversation and beers on tap.
A small, remote, vaguely tropical-themed Bushwick dive bar is the center of action for the Brooklyn dance scene. The dance floor is small. The kids can get sloppy. But the DJ lineup is typically excellent and the energy is palpable. The crowd goes wild.
A major performing arts venue showcases progressive (in every sense of the word) works on stage, art-house films, and free live concerts in the industrial cafe space. Fresh, exciting, avant-garde.
A dark, cheap, bare bones, 19th-century tavern for serious drinkers. You may have to push a few bros out of the way to get to your pint of Old Speckled Hen, but it'll also give you a good look at the gorgeous wooden bar. We hear it's currently getting a facelift, but should be open again come May.
An unassuming neighborhood bar is the starting line for an awesome night. Great people watching, kitschy drinks (amaretto float!), and a killer bar menu (it's all about the fried chicken with itsy biscuits and honey butter). Service can be a bit all over the map, but the festive music and vibe more than makes up for it.
A bar with eight vintage lanes, a rock-and-roll soundtrack, and a low-key '70s vibe.
You know it's summer when Habana Outpost opens up its chain link gate, fires-up the food truck grills, and flicks on the bike-powered smoothie machine. The seasonal hangout serves cheap beer and Cuban sandwiches in its open lot; has a DJ, film nights, and crafts for kids; and welcomes a fun, laid-back crowd that spills out onto the streets and nearly turns every day into a block party.
The more mollusks the merrier is the unofficial motto of the super popular Williamsburg oyster bar. Inspired by the parlors of Paris and the saloons of the Big Easy, it’s a darling jewel box crammed with Belle Epoque references, glistening bivalves, and delta blues sounds.
The Bowery Presents, a concert promoting/booking business in NYC, pretty much has its finger on the pulse of every must-see indie band, which they'll book at one of their many venues (Mercury Bar, Bowery Ballroom, Terminal 5), including this one in the heart of WIlliamsburg.
First-run films are paired with themed meals and served in a theater (yes, you may have an adult beverage with your movie). Think signature series like Country Brunchin (live country music, The Longriders, fried chicken), and one-offs like Spring Breakers served with a sex on the beach.
Part Appalachian hunting lodge, part taxidermy theme park, part classic NYC dive. Rates high on the kitsch-o-meter, and the drinks are cheap and cheerful.
On Williamsburg's rapidly growing south side, a rustic bar filled with flea market finds serves small batch beers, artisanal cheeses, and interesting wines. On cold nights, cozy up next to the pot of mulled wine. On warm ones, linger for hours with a boardgame in the big backyard.
Florist in the front, cockail bar in the back, performance space to round it out. You can even use the grill in the backyard to cook up a little something to go with your drink.
American Nouveau in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Sit at the slender bar with piano key stools to watch mixology in action. Take your precious cocktail to the back patio for mingling. Twin sister bar (in Tribeca) serves tasty small plates.