Travel

Brooklyn Bars & Nightlife

Establishment neighborhood
Cafe Erzulie
894 Broadway, Bedford-Stuyvesant
Whether you’re looking for a place to buy flowers, sip coffee, or enjoy a cocktail and dance to a live DJ set, you can find it all under one roof in Brooklyn. Cafe Erzulie—named after the Haitian Voodoo goddess of love, beauty, and dance—is a lush indoor-outdoor tropical cafe. A flower shop by day, it seamlessly transforms into an intimate cocktail bar at night. On Thursdays, there's live Caribbean jazz set under strings of lights in their outdoor space, and on the weekends, the dance floor opens up for some of Brooklyn's best up-and-coming DJ’s. Don’t leave without trying the green tempeh sandwich, and for a drink, the summer sorrel
Honey’s
93 Scott Ave., Bushwick
There’s no place like Honey’s—and not just because you feel like you’ve stepped out of Bushwick into some other realm as you sit in one of the wooden booths surrounded by cinder blocks and concrete. (Fun fact: The space, once a restaurant-equipment repair shop, was designed by one of the set designers for the movie Beasts of the Southern Wild.) Honey’s is the tasting room for Enlightenment Wines, as well as a meadery/mead bar—the only one we’ve come across in Brooklyn—and it serves exquisite cocktails infused with the ancient alcohol. (Made from honey fermented with well water and mixed with various spices and herbs, mead figures strongly in Norse mythology but is much older than that.) The herbalist owners pick many of their ingredients upstate, which is reflected in fresh, always-inventive drinks like the Montauk-seawater-infused Ocean Martini.
The Three Diamond Door
211 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick
Brooklyn vibes are strong at the Three Diamond Door, where the tattooed bartenders look as imposingly cool as they are friendly and easygoing. There’s no bar in the area more festive on Friday and Saturday nights, when every inch of the place is packed, including the yard and back bar room where amazing dance music blares. There’s prosecco on tap, an excellent selection of beers, leather booths to sink into, and incredible people-watching.
Nowadays
56-06 Cooper Ave., Bushwick
There’s no dearth of awesome tiny bars in New York City—but Nowadays is something else entirely. With its sprawling outdoor space that easily fits DJs, dance parties, and picnic tables, it’s the ultimate spot to while away summer Saturdays sipping cocktails and grazing on incredible food (the White Rhino sandwich is cauliflower-caper-Gruyere heaven). On the border of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens, the breezy hangout is a fantastic time day or night. In colder months, everything moves indoors—you lose the whimsy of partying with friends under the night sky, but you gain a legit dance floor (with a smoke machine).
Pearl’s Social and Billy Club
40 St. Nicholas Ave., Bushwick
With rustic wall-hangings and candles tucked into cozy corners, and a curio-shop feel, the atmosphere at Pearl’s is a draw in and of itself, but the cocktails are incredible. There are shots of bone broth (the same broth also infuses their perfect Bloody Mary) or tequila-spiked kombucha; beers galore, and wine, much of it served in adorable Mason jars. The bartenders dole out delicious snack bowls with pretzels, sesame-crunchy-things, and other savory crisps to accompany your drinks. This is the sort of place that compels you to stay and sip into the night—unless you happen to be there on a sunny day, of course, when sitting outside with a bone-broth Bloody Mary is heaven on earth.
Diamond Reef
1057 Atlantic Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
The particular strip of Atlantic Avenue that Diamond Reef inhabits isn’t exactly a tropical oasis, but the tiki-themed cocktails designed by the famous barmen Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy absolutely are. With wood-paneled walls and bright-turquoise booths, the place is what we imagine a mid-century modern party house would look like. The drinks—like the Booze and Juice, a shot paired with fresh Granny Smith apple juice—are playful, and the backyard, which is huge and heated, is a good time almost any time of year. The bar’s version of the classic Penicillin cocktail (honey, lemon, ginger, and scotch), thrown into a slushy machine and renamed the Penichillin, is especially delicious.
Have & Meyer
103 Havemeyer St., Williamsburg
In a complete—and admittedly welcome—departure from the Scandinavian hip that dominates Williamsburg, Have & Meyer have replicated the experience of the North Italian wine bar, right down to the Milanese staff. This natural wine bar may be small, but the wine list, the menu, and the service are top-notch. The snacks hold up their end of the bargain, too: overflowing cheese and charcuterie boards, classic antipasti, and a few excellent pastas.
Westlight
111 N. 12th St., Greenpoint
Located on the rooftop of the William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn, Westlight is a go-to for after-work drinks (and after-after-work drinks) thanks to incredible views of New York's skyline and a great food and beverage program by Andrew Carmellini's Noho Hospitality Group. The menu has a few great small bites, like oysters, duck carnitas tacos, and tequila-cured salmon, but you really come here for the cocktail list: Our favorites are the Ruby Spritz for a hot afternoon, or the In Bloom, a vodka and cava drink that comes with fresh beet juice. Photos: Noah Fecks & Andrew Boyle
Loosie Rouge
91 S. 6th St., Williamsburg
Loosie Rouge is one of the coolest Williamsburg openings in recent years. The cocktail menu and food take their cue from New Orleans bars and kitchens, while the interior decor feels more Scandinavian, with white-washed brick walls, a dark wood bar, and geometrically cut tables. On a warm day, the bright outdoor patio space has the best seats in the house, though. Check out Loosie Rouge's changing calendar to see what live music is on offer before you go.
Achilles Heel
180 West St., Greenpoint
Local restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (who brought you other old-school-Brooklyn-inspired destinations Diner, Marlow & Sons, and the Wythe Hotel) opened this low-key neighborhood gastropub in an early-1900s bar facing the East River that was once frequented by the workers from nearby shipyard docks. The kitchen here is minor, but chef Lee Desrosiers designed a menu of light, gently cooked fare—think poached fish, beef tartare, or heirloom veggies in broth—sourcing ingredients, naturally, from its sister business, Williamsburg butcher shop and artisan grocer Marlow & Daughters.
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