If there’s one thing New York City isn’t short on, it’s bars (also: tourists, rats, Starbucks, mixtapes). What we are short on, however, is backyards and all the summer fun that comes along with them. Namely the kind of fun that involves a few fermented or distilled beverages (and possibly some regrettable text messages afterwards).
With what remains of summer, we plan to spend as much time as possible poisoning our livers in the great outdoors (or whatever passes for the great outdoors around here). Last time we checked, drinking in public is frowned upon – much as we’d love to knock one back in Brooklyn Bridge Park with Thong Guy – so we will reluctantly confine our tipsiness to formal drinking establishments.
Thankfully, we can have our (boozy) cake and eat it (outside) too, at all these awesome outdoor bars in Brooklyn.
For Beer Lovers: Bierkraft
The Scene: Welcome to beer drinker’s paradise. Park Slope-based Bierkraft is home to more than 1,000 craft brews from all over the world, plus some of your frothy favorites on tap (and nary a Bud in sight). There are also two cask lines that can be used to fill a pint or your very own growler to take home and enjoy at your leisure. Make your pick, then nurse it at one of the inviting tables in the garden out back.
Location: 191 Fifth Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)
For Wine Connoisseurs: Brookvin
The Scene: Former wine salesman Aaron Hans purchased the South Slope wine shop Big Nose Full Body a few years before launching a companion bar across the street. Brookvin pours an eclectic list of wines served by the glass, bottle, or half-bottle, as well as draft beer and cocktails. A selection of seasonal small plates can be ordered to accompany your grapes and wine classes are available for budding sommeliers.
Location: 381 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map)
For Killer Cocktails: Quarter
The Scene: Quarter promises just “fine liquors, good company” on its Facebook page, but delivers so much more. Its neighborhood bar vibe is perfectly complimented by a solid jukebox, slightly rustic feel, and charming backyard oasis (complete with BYO-meat grill). And then, of course, there’s the cocktails. The menu of inventive concoctions is revamped a few times throughout the year with original creations like the Rita Lee (a margarita flavored with salted plum powder) alongside old standards.
Location: 676 5th Ave, New York, NY 11215 (map)
For Frozen Drinks: Battery Harris
Image: Battery Harris
The Scene: The name is a nod to a WWI-era bunker in Fort Tilden park, but the grub at Battery Harris is inspired by the Caribbean. The spicy takes on classic comfort food are served up in colorful beach-inspired interiors and an expansive courtyard partially covered by a geometric, translucent roof. Beer, wine, and cocktails are all on offer, but what you really want is a Frozie like the Dark & Stormy (toasted five spice ginger reduction, fresh lime, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum float).
Location: 64 Frost St, New York, NY 11211 (map)
For A Dive Vibe: Brooklyn Ice House
Image: Brooklyn Ice House
The Scene: Brooklyn Ice House is slightly out of the way in Red Hook, but it’s worth a journey while the weather’s nice. The mismatched bar stools and splintered-wood walls look like they’d be at home in any old neighborhood dive, which we love, but the Brooklyn Ice House also surprises with excellent barbeque and an impressive beer selection (the result of owner Trevor Budd’s beer-bar pedigree). Spend an afternoon day drinking and playing the provided board games in the low-key backyard.
Location: 318 Van Brunt St, New York, NY 11231 (map)
For A Gorgeous Garden: Huckleberry Bar
Image: Huckleberry Bar
The Scene: See that garden up there? ‘Nuff said.
Location: 588 Grand St, New York, NY 11211 (map)
For Sidewalk Seating: The Richardson
Image: The Richardson
The Scene: Lots of people have called The Richardson a Prohibition-style speakeasy, but we’re just calling it a great place to grab a drink. Here the motto is “Not done fancy, just done right.” And whatever it is they’re doing, it definitely is right. The expertly-made cocktails, old-world wines, and draft beers are the perfect companions for an afternoon or evening spent people-watching from the sidewalk seating. (Note: Booze is not a substitute for actual friends.)
Location: 451 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (map)
For Happy Hour: Barboncino
The Scene: Most people are coming to Barboncino for the pizza rather than the drinks, and we can’t blame them. The imaginative wood-oven pies can hold their own against the borough’s most famous names (*cough* Franny’s and Roberta’s *cough*). But also worth a mention are the surprisingly large outdoor area and the happy hour deals that include an 11pm-1am happy hour. It’s no wonder the locals seem to love this place.
Location: 781 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (map)
For Movies: Crown Victoria
Image: Crown Victoria
The Scene: While other NYC bars are cranking out designer cocktails and the pretentious ambiance to match, Crown Victoria is refreshingly relaxed. Once a police car repair shop, the converted garage now boasts pub fare, plenty of beers on tap, and a mammoth amount of outdoor real estate. Thanks to all that space, Crown Victoria is able to host regular open air movie nights, plus events like flea markets and pig roasts.
Location: 60 S 2nd St, New York, NY 11249 (map)
For A Stunning View: Berry Park
Image: Berry Park
The Scene: No discussion of outdoor bars in Brooklyn is complete without a mention of Berry Park, the bi-level, barn-like space in Williamsburg on the edge of McCarren Park. The beer selection and huge flatscreens showing soccer are definite draws, but the real highlight of this establishment is the glorious 3,000 sq. ft. roof and its spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.
Location: 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map)
For A Vintage Vibe: Maison Premiere
Image: Maison Premiere
The Scene: If you want to feel like you took a ride in the TARDIS and traveled back to a slower, gentler, more absinthe-filled time, Maison Premiere is the answer. The high points of the bar are the Napoleon-topped absinthe fountain (yes, for real) and the impeccably dressed staff, who serve 30 varieties of oysters in addition to the absinthe and masterful cocktails. Enjoy your libations and bivalves from the comfort of the picturesque back garden.
Location: 298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map)
For Big Groups: Greenwood Park
Image: Greenwood Park
The Scene: This mechanic-shop-turned-bar is brought to you by the letter B. First, there’s the beer – there are 60 on tap in 24 local, national, and imported varieties. Second, there’s the backyard – it’s huge. Third, there’s bocce – the 13,000 sq. ft. space is home to three bocce courts, because handling balls when you’re drunk is almost always a good idea. And finally, there’s your buddies – Greenwood Park is so spacious you can bring all of them and never worry about finding seats.
Location: 555 7th Ave, New York, NY 11215 (map)
For Next-Level Bar Food: Sycamore
The Scene: Brooklyn is full of places that make you think “Well, you don’t see that every day…” and Sycamore is one of them. This unique establishment is one-part flower shop, one-part live music venue, and one-part neighborhood bar. Order the $10 “beer and flowers” option on the menu to impress your date, then tuck in to the rotating delicacies of the Flatbush Food Court, a pop-up food event held in the backyard.
Location: 1118 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11218 (map)
For Live Music: Union Pool
Image: Union Pool
The Scene: Located under the shadow of the BQE, Union Pool was once a pool supply store. Now it’s a bar and music venue playing host to local, national, and international bands, cheap drinks, and good times. Head out to the roomy patio for a stone pond, the seasonal shack bar, and – most importantly – the El Diablo Taco Truck.
Location: 484 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map)
For A Kid-Friendly Atmosphere:
Image: Bridget Coila
Just kidding. Who wants to drink two feet from a screaming toddler?
For more NYC summer fun, check out Insiders Club.
Header Image: Didriks