Obviously there will never be a shortage of places to go and get a drink in Brooklyn. This is not a real statistic, but a new bar opens roughly every minute of every day around here, give or take. We're pretty lucky in that regard. And as such, we can afford to be choosy. So after a long, laborious year of investigatory drinking on our readers' behalf, we've managed to narrow our list down to ten of the very best places that started serving up drinks to ever-thirsty Brooklynites this year. Go ahead, grab a cocktail at every single one of them. Tonight.
An intimate atmosphere and an un-intimidating menu, this Bushwick bar provides good wines for a comparable value and refreshing cocktails. Like its physical space, the menus for drinks and food are very small, and that's a good thing, sometimes.
An unmarked door opens into this social club, serving well-heeled guests and industry folk, thanks to its late-night hours. The small, swanky room is dimly lighted, and the cocktails are expertly mixed, often incorporating housemade bitters and seasonal twists.
This 6,000-square foot beer garden is housed appropriately in an old brewery in Bushwick, in an area once known as “brewery row.” Today, the Well pays homage to that history by pouring 60 draft beers, from around the globe, and some 200 bottles. With an accompanying music venue, the Wick, from the same owners, the crowds here will have more cultural things to do than just drink, too.
Craft beer continues its ascent in Brooklyn with this, the latest watering hole from the owners of nearby Mission Dolores in Gowanus. It's less raucous than its sister bar, with a firm emphasis on quality and quantity of beer selections — there are thirty draft lines — rather than being too concerned with atmosphere (it's a little gritty here, too). You can quietly sip your way to craft beer expertise here, then promptly forget it all in the morning.
Another good bar opened amidst a growing clientele of drunkards in Bushwick, Heavy Woods serves both coffee and pastries by day, and cocktails and snacks by night. Named after the Dutch name for the neighborhood, Heavy Woods specializes in endless varieties of tequila, whiskey and mezcal.
The latest and perhaps most profound assertion of Franklin Ave's booming gourmandise scene, this warm, spacious bar is comfortably upscale, if that makes any sense. Its cocktails are hardy yet not trying to reinvent the wheel, and snacks and small plates are solid.
Touting itself as an “English country kitchen,” Dear Bushwick plays the cute card, and charms us over. With cocktails strong on gin and rum and nibbles like farmhouse goose terrine and housemade country cheese curds, you'll might hear yourself developing a slight British lilt before the night is over.
This small sister wine bar to next-door Vinegar Hill House may be decked out like a farmhouse kitchen, but don't let its atmosphere fool you — the wine list will take you to far away places, especially for your palate. With a limited, snacky food menu (roasted bone marrow, for example) and absolutely no cocktails or beer, this wine mecca meditates mostly on Eastern European and “Island” wines from the Mediterranean.
Bright and somewhat frenetic, this new Cobble Hill hot spot summons a simple Spanish wine bar — the best one in town, that is. The tapas might be what everyone comes here for, but it's bar food if there ever was such, meant to be swilled down with copious glasses of sherry.
This is the type of bar we imagine when we imagine a new Brooklyn bar: full of quirky historical references (there's a list of “historical Martinis” in its menu), gleeful in its cocktail innovations (there's even a bright, pina colada-inspired one), and homey and rustic rather than richly adorned. Owned by an alum of Pegu Club, Del Pedro, the Washington Ave. bar has given Prospect Heights more reason than ever to clink.