Outdoor Bars We Love

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We’ve compiled all our outdoor drink recommendations in a full guide to outdoor bars.

Day drinking in action at Brooklyn Ice House.

 

It’s that time of year–when everyone wants to be outside sipping their poison of choice. With a beautiful weekend ahead of us, we’ve compiled a list of 17 of our favorite outdoor bars around Brooklyn. Some of these are essential bars to have in your going out arsenal, big places you can always manage to squeeze in a group, or smaller, less traveled spots where you can enjoy a glass of wine without having beer spilled on your shoes. We’ve got spots for beer aficionados, visitors from Manhattan–even non-smokers. Add your favorites in the comments as this is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely our go-tos, favorites and current obsessions. And for all you twitterers, do your fellow outdoor drinkers a service this summer–tell us when you find an outdoor bar that’s packed/empty/great/lame @OutdoorDrinks, and we’ll share your report.

 

Drinks with a View: Ides Bar at the Wythe Hotel
Neighborhood:
Williamsburg, 80 Wythe Avenue, 6th Floor
Appeal:
The view, feeling fancy, and an easy sell for friends who are still reluctant to come Brooklyn
It’s hard to overstate how lovely the view from the sixth-floor bar at the Wythe Hotel is, or how amazing and breezy the patio is on a warm night. The bar itself is run by the same team as Reynards (and Diner, Marlow & Sons and Romans), the hotel’s seasonally-focused restaurant. And while it feels fancy, with a tiny-tile floor, fantastically weird wine list and high-end cocktails made from locally-distilled spirits, you can also just order a beer and take in the view. The stone deck looks south to the Williamsburg Bridge, across the river at the tall buildings of Midtown, and the Freedom Tower, rising in Lower Manhattan. It also wraps around so that you can peer deep into Brooklyn, or up into Queens. Sip your glass of biodynamic sparkling rosé while you gaze out over the borough, but don’t go on a weekend–the wait to get in can be like something across the river. –Annaliese Griffin

Escape from the Hell of Atlantic Avenue: Hot Bird
Neighborhood: Clinton Hill, 546 Clinton Avenue (between Fulton and Atlantic)
Appeal: Feels like a hidden gem; great beer selection.
Housed in an old garage, obscured by a tall red fence, and surrounded by constant street construction, Hot Bird could be totally missed from the road were it not for the party of bicycles chained up near the entrance. This is the dead giveaway that something good is hiding within. Inside that fence lies a fire pit and picnic tables, and space for more than Clinton Hill’s fair share of beer drinkers. Here, the list of drafts, mostly craft and local, change with such a frequency that it’s hard to have the same thing twice. The full bar and prosecco offerings round out the options. In the winter, the glass roll-up doors contain the heat, in summertime, they open wide to allow in the breeze. The fire pit is ablaze year round, the picnic space allows for groups to congregate, and the BBQ joint next door delivers. The space outside is sparse, a beer garden without the garden, but the people watching makes up for it. Hot Bird is surrounded by industrial and commercial properties, and is right on Atlantic Avenue (which the fence shields you from), so noise is not really an issue–you’ll never have to keep it down.–Lauren Bell

Pretty much sums of the spirit of the Gowanus Yacht Club.

Outdoor Dive: Gowanus Yacht Club
Neighborhood: Gowanus/Carroll Gardens, 323 Smith Street (at President)
Appeal: Mellow vibes, cheap beer in an seasonal, bare bones setting–this is a place that will proudly post a photo of their new toilet on Facebook.
Among a certain set, the opening of the Gowanus Yacht Club for the season announces summer in a way that even Memorial Day can’t. The OG of divey summer-only spots, the Gowanus Yacht Club is seasonal because it literally couldn’t exist in the dead of a New York winter–the only part of the bar that’s inside is the bathroom (which isn’t much to write home about). So on those nights when the temperature’s totally perfect and you want a congenially-busy, low-budget, generally good-hearted evening, slide into a picnic table, order whatever’s cheap and good on tap (the Duff wheat beer is a solid choice, they also have a two-random-cans-for-$5 special), and keep in mind that the subway’s just right outside, so stumbling there is totally encouraged.–Casey Acierno


Where Goths Go to Eat BBQ: Boulevard Tavern
Neighborhood: Where Greenpoint, Williamsburg and Bushwick meet, 579 Meeker Avenue (between Monitor and N. Henry)
Appeal: Total lack of pretension–this is the neighborhood bar everyone wants and needs
Boulevard Tavern lives under the BQE, housed in an 80-year-old tavern that was once home to J & D’s, where apparently more than one owner died in the bar. It’s also one of Greenpoint’s best-kept secrets. It offers the only goth party I know of in the area on the third Saturday of every month, a $6 tequila and Sol special on Tuesdays, and a $5-all-you-can-eat BBQ every weekend, and many other nights as well (follow them on Facebook for dinner updates). Scarf your burgers and hot dogs at a picnic table in the backyard, while sipping on one of the 12 different beers on tap–or maybe you’d prefer the $6 Bud and Jack combo? The $3 Boulevard Brew isn’t bad either, actually it’s really good!–Jay Honstetter

When You Need to Accommodate a Large Group: t.b.d. and Crown Victoria
Neighborhood: Greenpoint, 224 Franklin (at Green); South Williamsburg, 60 S. 2nd Street (between Wythe and Kent)
Appeal: Tons of seating, wide selection of beverages, food options for lightweights
If you’ve ever had to wrangle a big group on a Saturday afternoon, then you need to know about these two bars. They both have huge outdoor spaces with plenty of seating and a fine selection of beers, wine and spirits; you know, to please the friend who doesn’t drink beer, the friend who only drinks tequila and the friend who drinks anything and everything. t.b.d offers pitchers, Crown Vic has a Pimms Cup cocktail. Both have food (though not every day at t.b.d.–call ahead if it’s an essential element). Both are also big enough that kids blend in with the mix, rather than standing out like sore thumbs.–AG

Beer flags, waving in the air.

Get Your Pulled Pork + Board Games On: Brooklyn Ice House
Neighborhood: Red Hook, 318 Van Brunt Street (at Pioneer Street)
Appeal: The reigning champion of day drinking spots
When you first visit Brooklyn Ice House, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s your standard dimly-lit dive bar. But step into the backyard and prepare to have your whole worldview change. Brooklyn Ice House is a low-key, no-drama kind of spot–they’ve got a pretty wide range of beer that errs on the surprisingly cheap side (try the $2 PBR for weekend daydrinking during their happy hour) and the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever had that come for just two for $5. They’ve also got lots of different board games (most of which still have most of their pieces) if you’d prefer your drinking to have a focused activity. All in all, a great little Red Hook hideaway.–CA

Part of the mural inside Sea Witch.

Where Zen Pirates Would Drink: Sea Witch
Neighborhood: South Slope, 703 5th Avenue (between 21st and 22nd Streets)
Appeal: Nautical theme, koi pond, delicious chow
The bar at Sea Witch is cloaked in a cerulean glow thanks to the oblong-shaped aquarium just above; a curvilinear mural depicting a mythical underwater world also adds to the interior charm. But forget about that–the backyard is where it’s really at. With wooden walls, crushed gravel underfoot and two ponds connected by a stream, both filled with bright koi fish, it’s practically a Zen garden. If fish-filled water features aren’t enough to impress, check out the menu. Standouts include the clam roll ($11 ), stuffed with crisp, freshly fried crustaceans in a caper tartar sauce enveloped in a pillowy bun; the Indian-spiced fried vegetable cutlets ($6); kielbasa ($6), which comes slathered in kraut and mustard; and the burger ($5.50 ), a juicy amalgam of freshly ground chuck, brisket and short rib.–AS, KH, AG

The Backyard You Wish You Had at Home: Lowlands
Neighborhood: Gowanus, 543 3rd Avenue (at 14th Street)
Appeal: In most other places, even cities, it’s pretty normal to have a backyard to hang out in–this is sort of like that
If the Brooklyn Whole Foods ever actually happens, Third Avenue in Gowanus is going to change A LOT. Until then, we locals cherish a few very bright spots amid the endless stretch of car repair shops, and Lowlands, from the same people behind Carroll Gardens’ Abilene, is definitely among them. It has all the makings of a great bar: a nice selection of craft beers and well-mixed cocktails, friendly bartenders with inspired ipod playlists, board games, and cheap but satisfying grub (sandwiches from Luscious Food). The real draw here, though, is the spacious backyard, replete with picnic tables and a shady tree. Daydrinkers can bask in the sun and enjoy one of the best deals around–a $10 bucket of ponies–while mingling with a mix of amiable locals and their dogs. You’ll always find a seat, and free wi-fi makes it a pretty sublime outdoor coffice, if you’re looking for that sort of thing.–Kate Hooker

Beer Nerd’s Delight: Bierkraft
Neighborhood: Park Slope, 91 Fifth Avenue (between Berkeley and Union)
Appeal: Incredible selection of local and imported beers, tasty snacks
I’m only half-joking when I say that my boyfriend, a Philly guy with a bit of a chip on his shoulder about New York, seemed a little more into me after he discovered Bierkraft on his third trip up to visit. For people who are serious about beer, this place is that good. As he puts it, “it’s where brewers hang out,” and the stellar collection of rare and interesting brews is curated by a staff of PhD-level aficionados. The good-sized yard is scattered with picnic tables and mini globe lights and is the perfect place to nurse a pint and split one of the huge house-made cheese and charcuterie sandwiches, a bag of complimentary Zapp’s chips, and locally-sourced chocolate with a drinking buddy.–KH

Outdoor Drinking, Sans Smoke: Quarter
Neighborhood: South Slope, 676 5th Avenue (at 20th Street)
Appeal: Non-smokers can breathe easy; over on the smokers’ side, you can puff with confidence that you’re not pissing anyone off
When it comes time to head out of doors to consume tasty beverages, non-smokers are often left to, well, have smoke blown in their faces. Not so at Quarter. Its grey stone tables and benches are clearly delineated into smoking or non-smoking sections, although occasionally an errant smoker may light up in the doorway. Quarter serves up a host of artisan cocktails, such as the Greenport Cooker, a concoction of cucumber, lemon and mint leaves muddled with a touch of simple syrup and a dollop of grapefruit juice and then topped with vodka, or the Plantation, which consists of basil and demarera sugar muddled with gin, Cointreau, lime and grapefruit juices. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, tuck in to an Aussie-style meat pie, which Quarter sources from DUB Pies in Windsor Terrace; or bring in a slice or two from Luigi’s Pizza just up the street. Writers, take note that Quarter has free wi-fi to satisfy your story habit.–Anne Szustek

Where You’ll Never, Ever See a Stroller: No Name Bar
Neighborhood: Greenpoint, 597 Manhattan Avenue (between Driggs and Nassau)
Appeal: Truly lovely backyard, down for whatever crowd
Sitting snug between the Greenpoint Gazette office and an industrial supply shop the bar with no name can be easily missed–there’s no sign, no fancy lighting, nothing to lure you in, unless you’re in the know. And being in the know is where it’s at, right? The bar, which was styled to look like a tavern in an ancient Chinese village, has the biggest backyard ever. With a fire pit at its core, picnic tables around the edges and a pagoda, the space is roomy and screaming for summertime binges–why not? They have $4 Yuenglings! A full bar! No Name caters to a decidedly Peter Pan-ish crowd, but that, combined with the steep stairs to the backyard, guarantee that you’ll never see a stroller.–JH

A Landscaped Escape: Huckleberry Bar
Neighborhood: Williamsburg, 588 Grand Avenue (at Lorimer)
Appeal: Beautiful backyard, delicious cocktails
Huckleberry Bar makes some of the most creative and delicious cocktails around, and while you could go ahead and mock their homemade bitters and syrups and seasonal cocktail menu, actually tasting their drinks will turn you into a believer in mixology (okay no, no one actually likes that word). They also have a special menu of drinks highlighting Brooklyn-made booze. Sip on one, or split a bottle of prosecco with friends, in the lushly landscaped backyard–it really feels like you’re in a hidden garden away from the rest of Williamsburg back there. Local cats often prowl the rooftops and fences surrounding the yard, their eyes turned toward squirrels, birds and each other, completely uninterested in you or your delicious drink.–AG

A busy afternoon at Sycamore, during a crawfish boil.

Multi-Hyphenate Mastery: Sycamore
Neighborhood: Ditmas Park,1118 Cortelyou Road (at Westminster Road)
Appeal
: Whiskey menu, cheap beer, dance parties and, well, flowershop
Sycamore, the multi-hyphenate Ditmas Park bar, already has enough going for it; the flower shop-gig venue-dance club-whiskey snob-cheap beer establishment has a great neighborhood-y vibe, a respectable happy hour (and often a reverse happy hour from midnight to close), and even a beer-and-bouquet deal for $10. Unsurprisingly, they’ve also got one of our fave backyards in Brooklyn. The two-level space–cafe tables downstairs, benches and some larger tables upstairs–never feels too full, even when it’s busy, which happens during their every-so-often backyard BBQs and tap takeovers. If you’re lucky, someone might show up with an acoustic guitar to add to the companionable buzz.–CA

Cheap but Classy Date Spot: Brookvin
Neighborhood: Park Slope, 381 7th Avenue (at 11th Street)
Appeal: Mellow and romantic, Monday night specials
Brookvin’s been a top date spot in Park Slope for a while now; you don’t get more romantic than wine and charcuterie, at least in my book. They’ve also got a sweet little backyard, which is quite peaceful, if generally filled with like-minded couples. In fact, to keep your romantic evening from being crashed by a big, rowdy group, they only seat groups of four or fewer in the backyard. If you don’t have the cash to splash on $10 glasses of wine, but still want to impress your date, I recommend hitting up Brookvin on Mondays, when their  happy hour lasts all night and lets you live large on a budget.–CA

Drinking for Grownups: Tuffet
Neighborhood: East Williamsburg, 286 Graham Avenue (between Grand and Powers)
Appeal: Perfect negronis, meat and cheese plates like whoa, fire place, well-priced wine list
Tuffet opened a little over a year ago on Graham Avenue and it offers all the best things in the world–cheese, charcuterie, wine, and perfectly-made negronis (as well as martinis and other classic cocktails). The backyard is dotted with white metalwork tables and chairs, and there’s a fireplace out back that provides a toasty focal point in cooler months. It’s a grown-up, but not stuffy crowd lining the bar and filling the backyard here–while you’ll overhear lively conversations ranging from web development strategies to neighborhood gossip, no one will spill their beer (a rotating cast on tap, plus Session bottles and Sixpoint cans) on you on their way to the bathroom. Tuffet also opens at 1pm for day drinking and wi-fi work, and they serve coffee and sandwiches as well.–AG

 

 

 

10 Responses

  1. Anonymous -

    I know it’s not an exhaustive list, but Washington Commons and 4th Ave Pub are both fantastic too. Great beer selections, awesome bartenders and excellent happy hour specials.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous -

    The Crown Inn on Franklin Ave. in the NYTimes profiled (we’ve finally made it!) North Crown Heights has a wonderfully spacious patio out back. 

    Reply
  3. CS -

    And Mission Dolores on 4th Ave between Carroll and President FOR SURE! Amazing beer list, great happy hour, wonderful bartenders.

    Reply
  4. Eal9999 -

    how you can leave out the gate is beyond me … and washington commons backyard is filthy dirty …

    Reply
  5. KJ -

    Last I was there Sycamore a couple of weeksago, they had to close there back area for renovations. Something about the grill that was out back not sure if it is open again.

    Reply

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