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Beertown, U.S.A.: Brooklyn

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Manhattan tends to hog the New York spotlight, but in recent years, the borough next door has quietly become an imbiber’s paradise. So if craft beer is the quarry, hop a train to Brooklyn and trade Midtown’s generic Irish pubs for some Kings County character.

BARS

Sycamore
1118 Cortelyou Road
Brooklyn New York

Sycamore (Ditmas Park) has the distinction of being the borough’s only watering hole where 10 bucks gets you a pint of beer and a bouquet. In addition to selling flower arrangements five days a week, this neighborhood bar also hosts frequent concerts in its cozy basement.
The Gate
321 Fifth Ave @ 3rd St. Brooklyn
Brooklyn New York

With the atmosphere of a traditional pub and a fierce loyalty to inventive brewers like Dogfish Head, the Gate (Park Slope) has been a craft beer haven since opening its doors in 1997. If the weather’s nice, grab a pint of your favorite suds and head for the patio.
Brazen Head
228 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Calling itself a neighborhood bar updated with Brooklyn’s small-batch fetishism, theBrazen Head’s (Cobble Hill) biggest claim to fame is its tri-annual Cask Ale Festival, a no-entry-fee bash with as many as 30 unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally carbonated ales and lagers over the course of a three-day weekend.
Pacific Standard
82 4th Avenue
Brooklyn New York

For those who like an East Coast bar with West Coast options, Pacific Standard (Park Slope) will gladly fill a growler with Green Flash, Anderson Valley, Sierra Nevada or anything else from the Golden State it stocks on tap. Incidentally, it may also be the best place for homesick Californians to catch A’s games.


BEER BARS

Mugs Ale House
125 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Like a well-balanced IPA, Mugs Ale House (Williamsburg) pairs a rotating tap list of 30 beers with regular homebrew meetings and an annual two-day event celebrating Belgium’s finest fermented beverages. Trendier spots exist, but Mugs’ variety and vibe are its greatest assets.


BREWPUBS

Brooklyn Brewery
79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn New York

Brooklyn Brewery (Williamsburg) arguably started the beer revival in Brooklyn, and it remains true to its roots, offering tours on weekends and happy hour on Friday nights.
Kelso
529 Waverly Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Kelso (Clinton Hill), which shares brewing space with Heartland, New York City’s largest brewpub, has its own year-round offerings and small-batch seasonals.
Shmaltz Brewing Co.
12th Street and Surf Avenue
Brooklyn New York

In the great tradition of Coney Island as a place of curiosities and amusements, Shmaltz Brewing Co. (Coney Island) has converted a 175-square-foot space into the “world’s smallest brewery” on 12th Street and Surf Avenue.
Sixpoint Craft Ales
40 Van Dyke Street
Brooklyn New York

Steadily winning fans since 2005, Sixpoint (Red Hook) has been scrambling to keep up with rising demand for its three mainstays: Sweet Action blonde ale, Bengali Tiger IPA and Righteous Rye. Small batches do occasionally ship from the small facility; look for Sixpoint Apollo Wheat, a white ale with a beautiful banana and citrus nose.
Heartland Brewery
529 Waverly Avenue
Brooklyn New York

When Heartland Brewery opened as New York’s first American style brewpub on Union Square in 1995, our city was not the hotbed of brewpubs, beer bars and evolved beer drinking experience it is today. Heartland was one of the pioneers to ignite New Yorker’s passion for craft beers. Since then, Heartland has consistently brewed New York’s freshest craft beers, including Heartland’s classic six as well as a wide range of unique seasonal brews.
Spuyten Duyvil
359 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn New York

Once a lonely outpost for imbibers on Metropolitan Avenue, Spuyten Duyvil(Williamsburg) quickly won over locals with its dedication to obscure imports. Cluttered with used furniture and other junk-store trappings, it doesn’t seem an obvious place for a drink, but the staggering number of rarities like la Rulles Tripel will convince you otherwise.
Beer Table
427 7th Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Even in a town with an abundance of diminutive eateries, Beer Table (Park Slope, beertable.com) is a featherweight with just two dozen seats. What it lacks in space it more than makes up for with a bold selection of reasonably priced plates (like marrow bones with salad and toast for $8) that complement an adventurous draft list. On Tuesday evenings, a three-course seasonal dinner is expertly paired with beers like Norway’s Nøgne Ø Imperial DunkelWit.


DINE

Ba Xuyên
4222 8th Avenue
Brooklyn New York

For the beer traveler with more appetite than cash, Ba Xuyên (Sunset Park, 718.633.6601) is tough to beat. Its Vietnamese sandwiches aren’t merely the best in Brooklyn; they outshine their Manhattan competition, too. Six dollars buys a spicy, savory báhn mì alongside a cold, creamy jackfruit or lychee shake to wash it down.
Frankies Spuntino
57 Court St
Brooklyn New York

Manhattan may have Little Italy, but Brooklyn also welcomes its share of Italian immigrants. Diners at Frankies Spuntino (Carroll Gardens) are introduced to the lighter side of this nation’s cuisine, including vegetable antipasti, handmade pastas and citrus-marinated olives. Enjoy them in the intimate dining room or the spacious garden area.
Difara’s Pizza
1424 Avenue J
Brooklyn New York

A long way from downtown Brooklyn, yes, but DiFara’s pizza is well worth the trip to Midwood and the inevitable wait for your meal. Wednesday through Sunday, 73-year-old Domenico DeMarco painstakingly prepares his deservingly famous pies using generous amounts of olive oil, three types of cheese and snips of fresh basil.
Sheep Station
149 4th Avenue
Brooklyn New York

With a tin roof and plank flooring, Sheep Station (Park Slope) looks like it belongs in the Outback, and yet its simple, hearty menu could satisfy a hungry rancher as easily as it could a peckish hipster. Indulge in poutine, a veggie curry pie or an enormous burger stacked with beet, pineapple and a fried egg along with a schooner of Baron’s Black Wattle Original Ale.


DO

Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn New York

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (Fort Greene), America’s oldest continuously operating performing arts center, hosts newly released films, dance theater and a reading series called Eat, Drink & Be Literary.
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn New York

Occupying an elegant, columned Beaux-Arts building on Eastern Parkway, the Brooklyn Museum (Prospect Heights) contains thousands of art pieces representing a tremendous range of global styles. Current exhibits include an installation of ancient Egyptian funerary objects and a survey examining the late work of Andy Warhol.
Transit Museum
Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn New York

Any trip to Brooklyn is bound to involve an encounter with the public transportation system. For a glimpse into its history, head to the Transit Museum (Brooklyn Heights), where the network that serves millions each day is explained in fascinating detail.
Brooklyn Cyclones
1904 Surf Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Like many cities around the country, New York gets a serious case of baseball fever every summer. Root for the Brooklyn Cyclones (Coney Island) on opening day as they host the Staten Island Yankees, or catch them the following week when they play the Aberdeen Ironbirds at their home field on Surf Avenue.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Since opening to the public 100 years ago, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Prospect Heights) has gradually developed an impressive collection of plants from around the world. Stroll through the rose garden, where more than 5,000 flowers open their blooms in May and June, or simply relax by the shimmering fountains of water on Lily Pool Terrace.


SLEEP

235 Meeker Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Hotel Le Jolie (Williamsburg) proves that Williamsburg has eclipsed its blue-collar, industrial past. This modern, seven-story property offers views of the Manhattan skyline, complimentary continental breakfast and easy access to the numerous clubs, galleries and cafes scattered throughout the neighborhood.
Nu Hotel
85 Smith Street
Brooklyn New York

Sleek, stylish, and centrally located at the intersection of Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights, Nu Hotel (Cobble Hill) is well-situated for exploring the rest of the borough. The 93 bright, eco-friendly rooms feature green bath amenities, cork floors, organic sheets and free WiFi.
Hotel Le Jolie
235 Meeker Avenue
Brooklyn New York

Hotel Le Jolie (Williamsburg) proves that Williamsburg has eclipsed its blue-collar, industrial past. This modern, seven-story property offers views of the Manhattan skyline, complimentary continental breakfast and easy access to the numerous clubs, galleries and cafes scattered throughout the neighborhood.
Bed and Breakfast on the Park
113 Prospect Park W
Brooklyn New York

Across the street from the 526-acre park that landscape architects Frederick Law Olmstead and Calbert Vaux considered their greatest achievement, Bed and Breakfast on the Park (Park Slope) preserves a Victorian aesthetic once typical of this historic district. European antiques and hardwood moldings might seem old-fashioned, but the service and comfort here are decidedly contemporary.
Stratford Manor
142 10th Street
Brooklyn New York

Halfway between the Red Hook waterfront and the busy avenues of Park Slope, Stratford Manor (Gowanus) is within easy walking distance of boutiques, bookstores and, of course, excellent bars. Marble bathrooms, hardwood floors and tasteful décor make this B&B feel more like a home-away-from-home than accommodations.

4 Comments

  • Kevin says:

    You can’t forget about the Radegast Hall and Biergarten in Brooklyn. Great beer, great food, and a great drinking atmosphere.

  • Ben Keene says:

    Radegast is great and I’m also fond of the newish d.b.a. on N. 7th Street in Williamsburg.

  • Col says:

    Agree with the Radegast nomination and would add Iona, “the Irish pub for folks who don’t like Irish pubs”, just off Bedford at 180 Grand. There is also a new place in Williamsburg called Banter opening up any week now.

  • Ben Keene says:

    I haven’t checked out Iona yet, but it does sound like I’m part of their demographic.

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