Bushwick may not be for everybody, because of things like "unfounded prejudices against people who make more money selling stuff on Etsy than I do selling bonds" and "it's Bushwick." But this chunk of Brooklyn is peppered with some seriously welcoming and reasonably priced spots. If your goal is to avoid the $14 dollar cocktail crowd, here are our favorite spots in Bushwick to day drink, night cap, or simply enjoy as a gentleman.
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Best not-too-goddamn-loud bar: The Bodega
24 St Nicholas Ave
With 20 wines (including two on tap), 12 drafts, and excellent cheap eats, it’s goddamn remarkable that this place manages to consistently hit that sweet spot between uncrowded and never-empty. It’s the place to go with a handful of friends who you actually want to hear talk.
Best bar/yoga studio: The Cobra Club
6 Wyckoff Ave
Because nothing goes better with a $6 Genesee-and-a-shot special than yoga classes, Cobra Club offers both. You won’t feel like you’re in some New Age-y place though, because all the bar bases -- like a daily 4-9pm happy hour and occasional karaoke -- are covered. Also, sports are played on a big screen, which is rare for Bushwick.
Best cocktail bar: The Narrows
1037 Flushing Ave
Cocktails at this Art Deco haunt star house-made infusions, but the $1 oysters everyday ‘til 7pm are of equal import. The amazing patty melt and fast food-style fries are highly recommended, too. But take note: It’s cash only.
Best whiskey: Heavy Woods
50 Wyckoff Ave
Coffee shop by day, whiskey bar by night, it’s got a simple seasonal cocktail menu, plus 14 draft crafts. The staff is kind, and whether you’re there for a night out or to work by day on The Next Decent American Novel, you'll be judged equally. As in, not at all.
Best gay-ish bar: Happyfun Hideaway
1211 Myrtle Ave
Technically, this laid-back Tiki-themed joint is a gay bar, but not blatantly so. There're frozen cocktails, indoor picnic tables, and a 4-9pm daily happy hour that takes a buck off all drinks. If you miss slappin' the bag, $3 Franzia is absolutely available.
Best beer bar: The Sampler
234 Starr St
Leave your highfalutin attitude back at the loft, because you won’t find any snobbery here, despite the 20 rotating taps, massive bottle collection, and delicious local grub from Bedford Cheese Shop, Grandaisy Bakery, Sigmund’s Pretzels, and McClure's Pickles.
Cheapest drinks: Gotham City Lounge
1293 Myrtle Ave
You know that one friend from high school who never moved out of his mother’s basement, but you still enjoy a beer with him down there when you’re home for the holidays, because even though you guys wouldn’t be friends if you met now, you still have a lot of history? That’s basically how this tiny comic book-themed bar feels, and in a brilliant feat of economic manipulation, it only costs as much as one of the mini fridge beers he sometimes charges you for: $2 for PBR, $3 for PBR and a whiskey shot. Try not to get poked by a pool cue.
Best outdoor seating: The Rookery
425 Troutman St
The spacious patio and summertime beer buckets are ideal, but if weather gets in the way, the super-extensive bottle and draft selection at the huge horseshoe bar will more than suffice. Side note: the lunchtime cheddar cheese patty melt is unreal.
Best for dancing: Tutu's
25 Bogart St
This cute neighborhood restaurant is known for its insane happy hour ($10 for a burger and a beer, and $1 oysters, Monday through Friday, 4-8pm) but after-hours on Friday and Saturday nights, it's also the best place to dance in Bushwick, with a sizable backroom and a DJ playing banger after banger.
Best neighborhood classic: Pearl's Social and Billy Club
40 St Nicholas Ave
The doors and windows are all open in the summer when the weather’s nice, and cocktails are served in Mason Jars because 1) this is Brooklyn, after all and 2) Mason Jars are legitimately charming.
Best happy hour: The Johnson's
369 Troutman St
So although the OG Manhattan location is inarguably better, this swanky Brooklyn sister does have a $5 cocktail happy hour that runs until 9pm and billiards for a buck. Can’t beat that.
Carrie Dennis is an Associate Editor for Thrillist and in a weird turn of events literally lives at Gotham City Lounge. Follow her on Twitter @CarrrieDennnis.
1. The Bodega24 Saint Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn
2. The Cobra Club6 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn
3. The Narrows1037 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn
4. Heavy Woods50 Wyckoff Ave, Brooklyn
5. Happyfun Hideaway1211 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn
6. The Sampler234 Starr St, Brooklyn
7. Gotham City Lounge1293 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn
8. The Rookery425 Troutman St, Brooklyn
9. Tutu's25 Bogart St, Brooklyn
10. Pearl's Social & Billy Club40 Saint Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn
11. The Johnson's369 Troutman Street, Brooklyn
With 20 wines (including two on tap), 12 drafts, and excellent cheap eats, it’s goddamn remarkable that The Bodega manages to consistently hit that sweet spot between uncrowded and never empty. It’s the place to go with a handful of friends who you actually want to hear talk.
Only in Bushwick would you find a yoga studio/coffee shop/bar hybrid. There’s something going on every night at The Cobra Club: trivia nights, comedy shows, live music, DJs, and more. The yoga studio is behind a discreet door in the back of the bar and hosts unordinary classes like Hangover Yoga, a weekend session whose entrance fee includes a Bloody Mary or mimosa at the bar.
Starkly designed with naught but a plain wall and basic bar stools, this cocktail bar is a Bushwick mainstay that aspires to nothing but mixology excellence. Armed with an outdoor patio and smartly dressed bartenders, it's the kind of neighborhood spot you meet friends for adult-priced drinks and perhaps a pre-dinner app or two. Casual dress is perfectly acceptable, as is the ordering of an excessive number of oysters during their popular happy hour.
This cheery Bushwick dive has been serving up great 'tails, a number of brews, and a myriad of fine liquors since it opened up shop in 2012.
Technically this laid-back tiki-themed joint is a gay bar - but it's not blatantly so. There's frozen cocktails, indoor picnic tables, and a 4-9pm daily happy hour that takes a buck off all drinks. If you miss slappin' the bag, $3 Franzia is absolutely available. There’s pinball!
The Sampler is a craft brew-haven.
The bar might be smaller than Ant Man's vacation home, but this den of geek is the real deal for comic nerds, with its walls emblazoned with comic panels and enough nerdy bric-a-brac hanging around to make it look like an 8yr-old's dream bedroom. Plus, there's a $3 shot-and-tallboy special.
Offering tasty pub grub, craft 'tails, an extensive wine list, and a large array of draught and bottled beer, you can't go wrong when it comes to The Rookery and their beautiful garden.
This worn-in neighborhood restaurant and bar charms with a patterned stucco ceiling, vintage frames throughout, and a weathered red counter that'll make you feel like a regular as soon as you slam your first beer (although, guests here aren't apt to do that). It's known for its happy hour beer and burger combo, although crowds also flock to the sizable backroom for DJ-backed dancing.
Pearl's Social & Billy Club was one of the first bars to open in Bushwick when the neighborhood was undergoing its first wave of hipster-led gentrification. Still going strong, it's an unfussy and low-key place for cheap beer and cocktails served in Mason jars. A long wooden bar, warm lighting, and candles give it a mature vibe that sits well with the thirty-something crowd.
An expansion of the Lower East Side dive Welcome To The Johnsons, this Bushwick bar does away with the grungy "parents' basement" vibe and classes things up a bit (in cocktails and decor more than clientele behavior). You can expect more than bottom-of-the-well drinks: some ten cocktails are served alongside bottled beer, from a plum-kissed Tom Collins to pomegranate margaritas. You'd think the Manhattan original was the mature one, but instead this BK baby gets upgraded leather seating, hanging egg chairs, and a fireplace -- but there are still pool tables and general rowdiness from the drinking 20-somethings.