Manhattan is usually most people’s go-to when it comes to New York City nightlife. While you should definitely experience everything the island borough has to offer, from wine bars to dives to scenic rooftops, it’s worth getting out of the city for a night or two to experience the nightlife elsewhere. Brooklyn has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years and is most commonly known to visitors for being a hipster haven. While that’s true to a degree, and though it has led to the arrival of cool new hangout spots, there was a lively community there long before the hipsters moved in, meaning you can find everything from local dives to live music venues. And in true fashion for the city that never sleeps, many of them are open late. Here’s our list of the best places for a late-night drink in Brooklyn.
1. The Rookery
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A trip to Bushwick is worth it for a visit to the Rookery, where you’ll feel chill gastropub vibes and be able to have a conversation without yelling to be heard. There’s a long, oval-shaped bar in the middle of it all, with booth seating on the right and table seating on the left. If you need some fresh air, there’s an outdoor beer garden, as well. Drinks here are decently priced and actually taste good — none of that haphazard drink mixing you did in college. The food is a fusion of British and West Indian, with the kitchen staying open late enough to help curb those munchies. There’s also a number of board games available, but maybe avoid drunk monopoly unless you want to end some friendships.
Where: 425 Troutman St, Brooklyn, NY 11237
2. Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball
Sunshine Laundromat was actually just a laundromat at one point, but when the building’s owner collaborated with the pinball-loving laundromat’s proprietor, a speakeasy-like establishment was born. Past the working machines, you’ll come to an odd stack of washers, which is actually a door that leads to a beer and pinball heaven. Over 20 different classic pinball machines are scattered throughout the back room, and a long beer list matches it. There are also other quirky touches, like a vending machine that sells pregnancy tests and band-aids, and a fortune-telling chimpanzee in a booth.
Where: 860 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
3. Franklin Park
Near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Franklin Park is a laid-back bar to visit whether you’re in a group or flying solo. But it’s not so relaxed that it’s overly tame, however, as it still gets quite lively on weekend nights. Indoors are two separate spaces: the main bar room, complete with a fireplace and an attached game room, and a lounge area. And, as with many Brooklyn spots, there’s an outdoor patio for when it gets warmer out. Beers are cheap, usually ranging between $4 and $6, and the menu is comprised of mouth-watering burgers, hotdogs, fries, and shakes all under $12.
Where: 618 St John’s Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11238
4. Skinny Dennis
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Skinny Dennis is a honky-tonk dive bar if there ever was one, and it’s dedicated to the musician of the same name, mentioned in the song “LA Freeway” by Guy Clark. There are 18 rotating beers on tap, with spirits and mixed drinks also on offer. Some of the mixes are things you wouldn’t have thought would go together, like the Dr. G, made with Guinness and Dr. Pepper; others, like the alcoholic coffee slushie, are sure to please the young at heart. It does get packed in here, so get there early if you want seats, and there’s usually live music every night of the week. It’s also located near the East River State Park, which offers fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline.
Where: 152 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
5. Our Wicked Lady
Everyone loves a good rooftop, especially one that’s reasonably priced, and Brooklyn’s got one of the best at Our Wicked Lady. The rooftop is enclosed by fencing, so it’s not so much a scenic viewpoint, but you do get the feeling of being on top of it all. This spacious spot is equal parts bar and artistic hub, offering studio and rehearsal space to any artist who needs it, so you might catch anything from an artist in the middle of their creative process and musicians rehearsing to a gallery and a live show.
Where: 153 Morgan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206
6. Brooklyn Public House
Somewhere between a saloon and a gastropub, Brooklyn Public House is well known for its long list of delicious food, from bar snacks like steak nachos to main entrees like bangers and mash. You’ll have no problem finding a space to post up in, but that doesn’t mean you’ll lack in the crowd department. It’s close to the Barclays Center, so if you find yourself attending a concert or sports game there, you won’t have to worry about where to go afterwards. All the really closeby places will be packed with people, so heading to BPH just a few extra blocks away will be your best bet for a good time with just the right amount of people.
Where: 247 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205
7. St. Mazie Bar and Supper Club
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Several rooms make up St. Mazie: the main floor where there’s live music playing most nights, a garden lounge in the back, and a cellar that houses the supper club dining area. It’s cozy, busy, and spacious all in one neat package that’s perfect for a late-night drink (or several). On the food side, it’s known for its oysters and its namesake burger, made with prime meat (a veggie patty is available), egg, pineapple, caramelized onions, and beets. Cocktails will cost you $13, but we recommend springing for some of the absinthe on offer.
Where: 345 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211