07/16/15 10:45am
07/16/2015 10:45 AM |

The Mark Bar
1025 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint

Tommy’s Tavern
1041 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint

Achilles Heel
180 West Street, Greenpoint


All week—all week!—I’d been on time for everything. This might sound unremarkable to most people, but it was something that I—and everyone I was meeting—couldn’t help but remark upon: “You’re on time!”

“I’m on time!”

This was not a usual thing. I felt reborn; I felt good. I should have known it couldn’t last. Well, I did know it wouldn’t last, but I didn’t think much about how it would end.

All day long people had been asking me, “What’s the last bar review going to be again?”

“The Mark Bar,” I said. “It opened in 2003, just like The L. Do you know how hard it is to find a bar that opened in 2003? Hard.” (more…)

07/01/15 8:47am
07/01/2015 8:47 AM |

160 N. 12th Street, Williamsburg


“It was pretty average,” I said to my companions as we exited Oleanders, the newest inhabitant of the subterranean level of the McCarren Hotel. “At least, the food was. But I generally don’t like to be too harsh in these reviews, because I don’t want anyone to feel too bad. But, yeah. It was mediocre. Like, aggressively mediocre.”

“Aggressively mediocre is just a nice way of saying shitty,” came one reply. “It was dark and oppressive. Everything about the decor was terrible; from those giant plastic Tiffany lamps that were not really Tiffany lamps to the fake digital fireplace to the ridiculous framed photographs of animals in hunting suits to figuring out how to get to the bathroom, which was practically a mile away from the actual bar and felt like it was at the end of a literal maze—it was all awful. And even my lemonade! Even my lemonade was way too sweet—but fake-sweet, like Crystal Light.” (more…)

06/19/15 10:00am
06/19/2015 10:00 AM |


221 Smith Street, Cobble Hill


From its terracotta tile awning and adobe facade to the cathedral pew-booths and fireplace filled with glass prayer candles, Leyenda, a new “cocteleria” in Cobble Hill, takes its design and menu inspiration from Central and South America—specifically, from cocktail queen Ivy Mix’s time spent bartending in Antigua, Guatemala. Mix co-owns the spot with her mentor, Julie Reiner, the celebrated craft mixologist behind Flatiron Lounge, Pegu Club, and Clover Club. With turquoise bar cabinets, a breezy patio, and a salsa soundtrack, the bar brings a subtle south of the border vibe to Cobble Hill. (more…)

06/03/15 11:54am
06/03/2015 11:54 AM |
photo by Jane Bruce

Bushwick Pizza Party
254 Irving Avenue, Bushwick


If you wish you could still celebrate your birthday at Chuck E. Cheese’s but choose not to because they don’t serve hard liquor, Bushwick Pizza Party offers the next best thing. It’s both a restaurant-bar and a time capsule of sorts, a kitschy nostalgia-fest for those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, complete with Super Soakers, Mario Kart murals, and Magic 8-Balls.

Bushwick Pizza Party, which took over the Irving Avenue location of Verde Coal Oven Pizza, was opened by the owners of the equally whimsical but more risqué Boobie Trap, a boob-themed bar across the street. Instead of plastic nipples, the walls here are covered with the contents of a typical Millennial’s toy chest (Super Soakers on a wooden gun rack, an impressive action figure collection, a mirror framed in Hot Wheels cars), as well as movie posters from slumber party cult classics (Now and Then, Gremlins, The Goonies, Fast Times at Ridgemont High). “Party On” commands a neon sign behind the bar. The maximalist decor and attention to detail (silverware comes tied in colorful pipe-cleaners) means you’ll notice something new every time you come.

Unlike many of its neighboring bars, the spot appeals to both man-children and actual children alike. When I got there on a recent Saturday evening, a literal pizza party of a dozen squealing kids and their tired moms was in full swing. They shared several of the punnily named coal oven pizzas (gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese are available) and desserts (recommended: the handmade tiramisu). Popular favorites include the “Hawaiian Shirt,” a pineapple, ham, mozzarella, and orchid pie; “Go to Kale,” with spicy carrot ricotta, fresh kale, pesto, and bacon; and “Can You Fig It,” covered in dried figs. In between bites, the kids posed on the leopard-print booths, took turns shimmying through the beaded curtain that leads to the Mario-Kart-muraled bathroom, consulted the Magic 8-Balls adorning the bar, and drew with dry-erase markers on the tables, which are laminated with tic-tac-toe games, mazes, and MASH. Soon, though, the kids left and the post-pubescent set filed in, there for the beer, wine, mimosas, and sangria (but also for the coloring and toys and stuff, too).

Pizza Party is still waiting to get a full liquor license, so for now, they’re using soju in all cocktails, which you can pretend you bought with your older sister’s fake ID while living out this Peter Pan Syndrome fantasy.

05/06/15 9:35am
05/06/2015 9:35 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

Livingston Manor
42 Hoyt Street, Downtown Brooklyn


When our office first relocated to Downtown Brooklyn from DUMBO last spring, one of the main concerns was this: Where would we go to drink? In DUMBO, there weren’t exactly an abundance of options, but what choices we had were pretty solid. There was Superfine, spacious—cavernous, even—with its small but solid list of draft beers, and excellent french fries to soak up all that alcohol. And there was 68 Jay, with $5 well drinks at happy hour, and free bowls of Goldfish crackers to snack on. Between those two spots (with occasional detours to Pedro’s and the now-defunct reBar), we spent many a booze-soaked evening. But suddenly, newly housed in DoBro, we found ourselves in that most dreaded of places: a bar desert. (more…)

04/22/15 6:26am
04/22/2015 6:26 AM |


323 Franklin Avenue, Bed-stuy

I’m not usually one for sweet drinks; I actually like my cocktails supremely bitter and boozy. Even so, strangely enough, I hold a special place in my heart for frozen drinks. But since last summer’s Phrosties are now a distant memory, getting a frozen Pink Baby at Baby’s All Right involves swimming through throngs of people who think being health goth entails actual exercise, and Glady’s—even with its fantastic frozen cocktails—is less a bar and more a place to gorge on delicious Carribbean grub, the time was right for Chilo’s to come along, with its perfectly crafted frozen drinks.

A brand new Mexican-themed bar in Bed-Stuy owned by the people behind Mayfield in Crown Heights, Chilo’s has been a hit since the day it opened. Maybe it’s because people are finally feeling optimistic that summer isn’t too far off and Chilo’s is the perfect place to ring in the new season, with its backyard full of ample picnic table seating and a taco truck (which, yes, takes cards). Even the indoors retains an outdoor vibe: The big corner door was wide open on a warm evening and I imagine the large, nearly floor-to-ceiling windows will be open when it’s hot out, to let in the breeze. (more…)

04/08/15 11:11am
04/08/2015 11:11 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

The Brooklyn Voodoo Lounge
273 13th Street, Park Slope


The Brooklyn Voodoo Lounge is a sight to behold in Park Slope, where the accepted aesthetic standards hover somewhere between tony and twee; everything is just so. And because I love disruptions to the acceptable order of things—the sore thumbs, if you will—I was happy to walk into this newish bar just off 5th Avenue, with its awkward purple glow, plywood floors, and oddly miniature tables un-artfully carved out of church pews. And while I won’t pretend to know much about New Orleans (I’ve only been there once and was full-throttle drunk the entire time), the Voodoo Lounge definitely has that Big Easy feel. (more…)

03/25/15 7:37am
03/25/2015 7:37 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

King Tai Bar
1095 Bergen Street, Crown Heights


In the weeks that stretch between winter’s last gasps and the first real days of spring, it’s sometimes hard to know where you want to drink. Those dark, wood-paneled fireplace bars seem a little too bunker-like now that the signs of thaw are upon us, and it will still be a month before sitting on a roof or in a backyard with a frosty beer will be anything but an act of defiance against the elements. In March, I want to drink somewhere that’s open and bright, but still indoors, a place that gestures at the seasonal change but isn’t wholly invested in it. (more…)

03/11/15 9:14am
03/11/2015 9:14 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

Moot Bar
579 Myrtle Avenue, Clinton Hill


Yesterday was one of the most brutal days I can remember in a long, long time and not just because I started out the day supremely hungover but because snow blobs rained down on the entirety of our fine borough, mocking us with their insolence, their relentlessness. Winter will not end; surrender is the only option. So it was in the face of our collective defeat at the hands of this interminable season that I headed to Moot Bar–a good 20-minute walk plus 20-minute bus ride from my comfortable abode in Bed-Stuy. After a day of hustling and working and running to and fro, I just wanted to put my feet up on a cardboard box and slam a couple of beers in silence, solitude, and partial nudity. But that was not to be. (more…)

02/25/15 9:54am
02/25/2015 9:54 AM |
Photo by Jane Bruce

June Wine Bar
231 Court Street, Cobble Hill

I walked down Court Street in the kind of frigid weather that feels like a personal attack, invasive in its ability to wend its way into every cell of your body; it wasn’t until this winter that I realized that even my hair could feel cold if the temperature dropped enough. Which is not to say that I don’t like the cold, or what it does to my hair. I love the cold, and what it does to my hair, which is makes it silky and heavy so that it holds a braid well.