05/31/16 11:07am
A row of hammocks at the ready at Rooftop Reds, for their "Hammock Happy Hour". Photo: Nicole Davis

A row of hammocks at the ready for happy hour at Rooftop Reds. Photo: Nicole Davis

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has been getting a lot of attention lately, with Fly by Night, the recent announcement that Brooklyn Brewery will open a new facility there in 2018 and a whole summer’s worth of events (including sunset yoga and dinners) underway at the Brooklyn Grange.

What may have flown under your radar are two new Navy Yard spots for outdoor drinking, Rooftop Reds and the new tasting room at Kings County Distillery, The Gatehouses. The latter has been open for cocktails on Friday and Saturday nights for several weeks now, and, as of yesterday, will be serving whiskey pours ($8-16), flights ($16 for three whiskeys, $30 for five), and cocktails ($8-14, and if you think that whiskey is too heavy for summer, remember the mint julep, $12) Monday to Saturday all summer long. Snacks from Vinegar Hill House and Crown Finish Caves and whiskey popsicles made in collaboration with People’s Pops round out the menu.

The real clincher on Kings County is the location. The tasting room is in the gatehouse at the Sands Street entrance to the Navy Yard (where Flushing meets Navy–glamorously close to the NYPD vehicle impound lot). Basically, it looks like a castle. This is the type of weird old building that is just such a pleasure to gawk at, amidst all the murderously boring glass and steel towers rising around the city right now. Also, you will definitely know that you are in the right place when you arrive, which is a slightly more challenging proposition when it comes to King’s County’s neighbor, Rooftop Reds. (more…)

05/22/15 10:30am
Swan Dive, opening on the banks of the beautiful Gowanus Canal, opens to the public on Tuesday. Photo: Swan Dive

Swan Dive, opening on the banks of the beautiful Gowanus Canal, opens to the public on Tuesday. Photo: Swan Dive

One of our favorite times of year is when the weather warms up enough to sip a cold drink, preferably alcoholic, at an outdoor bar. Over the years we’ve shared our appreciation for these al fresco drinking establishments through extensive guides, filled with recommendations for everyone from beer nerds to those seeking room for 10 of your closest friends. This year, we’re just focusing on the brand-new spots we’re excited to hit up all summer. Note–shameless plug–two of these bars are part of our Total Gowanus Immersion June 6. (more…)

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05/23/14 11:15am

Image Map

We know it’s not officially summer until June 21, but it is officially outdoor drinking season. We’ve put together 9 different guides to steer you to a bar with al fresco sips, no matter what mood you’re in or who you’re with.

Whether you’re looking for great food along with your drinks, a good wine list, a beer nerd’s paradise, a rooftop aerie, killer cocktails, sidewalk seating where you can watch the world go by, a total dive, a spot with room for your 10 closest friends or a place to bring the kids without dirty looks from the bartender or other customers, we’ve got you covered. We’ve also mapped them all out below, so you can plan some new happy hours.  (more…)

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05/23/14 11:05am

While a beautiful garden or a tucked away backyard spot has the ability to whisk you away from your urban surroundings, bars with sidewalk seating do just the opposite–they put you in the thick of everything, with a drink in your hand. All the better for running into friends, and for watching the world walk by.

Abilene's prime Court Street seating. Photo: Abilene

Abilene’s prime Court Street seating. Photo: Abilene

The Gate (Park Slope, 321 5th Ave. at 3rd St., 718-768-4329) Way back in 1997, before there was a spot with Aperol cocktails and Edison lightbulbs on every corner, The Gate opened its doors and its taps to Park Slopers looking for good beer. Despite its impressive list of drafts, the dark, dusty bar with its scarred wooden tables lacks pretention and feels like the kind of place the term “watering hole” was coined to describe. On a sunny afternoon, the outdoor seating area–a wide swath of sidewalk enclosed by a wrought-iron gate–offers a great view of the hustle and bustle of life in the neighborhood: it’s along a prime route to Prospect Park, across the street from a state-of-the-art playground, and down the block from the Sunday Greenmarket. Like any institution, The Gate is not exactly under the radar, so you’ll want to get there on the early side to score some real estate.–Kate Hooker

Abilene Restaurant and Bar (Carroll Gardens, 442 Court St. at 3rd Pl., 718-522-6900) Before Lowlands, before Skylark, and the new Adirondack, there was Abilene, an eclectic, vintage-y bar that’s inhabited the corner of Court Street and 3rd Place for the past nine years. As this stretch of Carroll Gardens continues to grow with more cafes, boutiques and bars–like the new outdoor watering hole Goldenrod, a block down–Abilene maintains its local appeal with decent grub (particularly if you like buffalo sauce, which appears on multiple dishes), cheap drink specials like a Genee beer and cheap shot for $6, and sidewalk seating that offers prime people watching. Each year, for the past three, they’ve add a new table outside to keep up with demand. Just arrive by 5pm on a sunny weekday to score one or be prepared to hover, especially during brunch on weekends.–BB (more…)

05/23/14 11:00am

What is it about being on a rooftop, even one without a view to speak of? Maybe it’s the chance to see the city from a different vantage point, or maybe it’s human instinct to enjoy looking down from on high. In any case, if there’s something better than the combo of a view and a drink we sure don’t know what it is–maybe that’s why rooftop spots tend to get so crowded and overwhelming. Our advice? Hit them up in the off hours, not Saturday night.

The view from Northern Territory is amazing, the crowd, not so much. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

The view from Northern Territory is amazing, the crowd, not so much. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Northern Territory (Greenpoint, 12 Franklin St. at Meserole, 347-689-4065) This new spot in the weird industrial bordertown between waterfront Williamsburg and Greenpoint has an enormous roof deck with lots of seating and an amazing view. What’s not so amazing is the crowd that tends to gather here. You’re guaranteed to hear a lot of sloppily shouted stories that begin, “Remember that time sophomore year?” Downstairs there’s another full bar and a restaurant serving Australian barbecue, which seems to be much more about burgers and skewers than about smoking or sauce. The bar menu includes a Pimm’s cooler made with locally produced Dorothy Parker gin, a decent beer list, including, of course, Foster’s, and an Australia-forward wine list. Get there early, get your drinks and snag a corner booth with your own lively crowd to drown out the summer intern chatter. –Annaliese Griffin (more…)

05/23/14 10:44am

For those rare times when you travel in a posse, or you just want to be guaranteed a seat in the sun, you need a gargantuan bar. Even in real-estate crazed Brooklyn, these places exist. For now. 

Have posse? Then travel to a beer garden like Greenpoint's t.b.d. Photo: t.b.d.

Have posse? Then travel to a beer garden like Greenpoint’s t.b.d. Photo: t.b.d.

Brooklyn Tap House (Bed-Stuy, 590 Myrtle Ave, 347-750-7557, Happy hour 4-8pm Monday-Friday) When it comes to inviting the whole crew for a day of drinking, Brooklyn Tap House is the ideal destination. The extremely large interior boasts a long bar with lots of seating as well as a number of large tables and benches spread throughout the space. Want to spend time outdoors? The cement back yard offers several picnic tables as well as bench seating around a fire pit. Even the drinks reflect the call for large parties–tap beers are available in growlers, the perfect size for all to share. The menu is large and long, boasting seasonal rotations of local and international brews, and with 42 beers on tap, each member of your party is bound to find the ideal drink. There is also a fully stocked supply of liquor and some wine for those who would rather skip the suds. Due to the addictive bar food (think fries, nachos, burgers, salads) and large screen TVs, this bar fills up fast during sports games, so be sure to call ahead and reserve a spot for your group during the big game.–Gabrielle Sierra

t.b.d. (Greenpoint, 224 Franklin St. at Green St., 718-349-6727) If you’ve ever had to wrangle a big group on a Saturday afternoon, you can almost always depend on t.b.d to have enough room for you. Its huge outdoor space fills up during the occasional day-long event in summer (like our Total Greenpoint Immersion on July 19!), but in general, its picnic-style seating is there for the picking, and Fridays (5-10pm) and weekends (2-10pm), the backyard grill churns out burgers, brats, grilled cheese and corn to keep you steady during multiple rounds of pitchers.–BB (more…)

05/23/14 10:30am

Most bars, if they don’t ban children outright, only tolerate them. These three welcome half pints with kid-friendly menus, crayons, and games so you can enjoy a cold one, maybe even two.

Brooklyn Crab knows how to keep the kiddos entertained while the parents play. Photo: Brooklyn Crab

Brooklyn Crab knows how to keep the kiddos entertained while the parents play. Photo: Brooklyn Crab

Brooklyn Crab (Red Hook, 24 Reed St., 718-643-2722) While the scenic views from the top floors of Brooklyn Crab are what lure most people to this seafood-shack-on-steroids, it’s the beanbag toss and minigolf in back that make it easy to enjoy a pint while your children play in their humungous yard. Now that there are even more chairs to lounge in, an airy outdoor tent to shield yourself and the babes from the sun, and a sandbox filled with toys, you may never make it upstairs for food. Though if you do, be sure to order the fish and chips off the kids menu, and hope that your child doesn’t eat it all.–Nicole Davis

The Roof at Whole Foods

If you don’t think a supermarket belongs on a list of outdoor bars, you haven’t seen the view from The Roof at Whole Foods. Photo: Whole Foods Third And 3rd

The Roof at Whole Foods (Gowanus, 214 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., 718-907-3622) On the day of the Kentucky Derby, a friend and I were looking for a decent place to watch the race over a couple of cold beers. Not a particularly tall order in Brooklyn under normal circumstances, but he happened to have his 6- and 9-year old boys in tow. We felt a little sleazy asking kids to spend a beautiful spring day in a dark bar full of drunk people gambling, so we headed for the Roof at Whole Foods and were pleased to find it was a great choice. The boys happily sipped (overpriced, organic) lemonade and played with a provided wooden Connect 4 set on the giant outdoor deck, while their dad and I took advantage of the extensive list of craft brews on tap and watched California Chrome nab the win on the big-screen TV. I also ordered a very satisfying BLT grilled cheese off a predictable but nonetheless appealing (kale salad) and kid-friendly menu (grass-fed burgers). Do I feel a little weird adding a chain grocery store to a list of outdoor bars? Sure, but then again, how many grocery stores offer weekly pub quizzes?–Kate Hooker (more…)

05/23/14 10:15am

The best way to end an evening early is to forget to eat along with your drinks, and you don’t have to depend on stale pretzels or free popcorn alone to fuel your fun at these spots, which have drinks and great food.

Montana's Trail House is opening in Bushwick on May 30. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Montana’s Trail House is opening in Bushwick on May 30. Photo: Annaliese Griffin

Montana’s Trail House (Bushwick, 445 Troutman Street, opening May 30) Located in an old service station at Five Points in Bushwick, Montana’s Trail House has the cozy vibe of an upstate cabin, a bench-lined patio in the front for taking your cocktail out into the sunshine, and a menu that includes fried chicken, root beer-braised brisket and a tongue and cheek reuben. Don’t despair, vegetarians, the spring harvest plate and a few other options are far superior to your usual token pasta dish. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to hunker down in, sipping whiskey and chatting up your neighbor come next winter, but not before a long summer of blueberry basil Pimm’s cups on the patio. Oh, and their late night menu, which goes until 3am, includes a corn dog that replaces the usual hot dog with a sausage. –Annaliese Griffin (more…)

05/23/14 9:30am

For whatever reason, it’s hard to find a great wine list, or even a solidly good wine list, at a bar in Brooklyn, even places that pride themselves on homemade bitters, syrups and infusions. Here are a few places where you can enjoy your rosé in the sunshine.

Brookvin seats parties of four or less in its garden, so you can have a serene evening over a glass, bottle, or half bottle of wine. Photo: Brookvin

Brookvin seats parties of four or less in its garden, so you can have a serene evening over a glass, bottle, or half bottle of wine. Photo: Brookvin

Cent’Anni (Crown Heights, 742 Franklin Ave; 718-942-5201) This casual new Italian restaurant on Crown Heights’ Franklin Avenue has two great options for taking in the sunshine with some vino. On nice days, the bar stools facing the streetside windows, which open up to Franklin, are almost always the first spots to go, making everyone who walks by on the busy boulevard wish they were sitting there with a carafe and watching the day go by. But an even better spot is the serene back garden, where the pristine picket fence is dotted with potted plants and soft Edison bulbs string across the space from above, creating a cozy secret ambiance that feels worlds away from the city life. They serve a full dinner menu at Cent’Anni, but the best bet is perhaps to pop in around 10pm, when the mealtime rush had ended, and enjoy a glass of red on the back patio, maybe with a serving of supremely creamy burrata. The wine list is short and changes frequently, but always has nice options from small vineyards, with bottles usually staring as cheap as $35.–Brendan Spiegel  (more…)

05/23/14 9:10am

Most people can enjoy any cold beer in the sunshine–these bars are made for aficionados who care about the range of beers on a draft list, and how often it rotates. The fact that they all offer sweet patios and gardens to kick back in will just extend your drinking session. 

An oldie but a goodie, Spuyten Duyvil's beer garden is still the prettiest paradise for beer lovers. Photo:

An oldie but a goodie, Spuyten Duyvil’s beer garden is still the prettiest paradise for beer lovers. Photo:

Uncle Barry’s (Park Slope, 58 5th Ave. between St. Marks and Bergen, 718-622-4980) I’m going to be totally honest here: my relationship with Uncle Barry’s is a little bit love/hate. The man in my life, a beer fanatic/lunatic who attempts to plan our vacations around brewery visits and arranges FedEx bottle swaps with people he meets online, discovered this bar a few years ago and it instantaneously became his Cheers. He knows everyone there and has a regular seat, and I’ve more than once been reduced to calling the main number to look for him–a la Lilith Crane–when his phone is going straight to voicemail. Obviously that gets old, and as a person whose beer palate is pretty unrefined, it’s hard for me to really appreciate the things about UB that make Lawrence so happy: hard-to-find brews like Piraat, vintage Victory at Sea, and Hill Farmstead, one offs and collabs, beer release events, and a bunch of people who will talk to you about beer for hours on end, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned hophead. What I do love is the bar’s Wednesday night trivia, its friendly vibe and the relaxed, sunken outdoor area in back, which I’ve never sat in without striking up a conversation with the people at the picnic table next to ours.–Kate Hooker (more…)