10 Best Cocktail Bars in Brooklyn cover

10 Best Cocktail Bars in Brooklyn

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“There was a time not long ago when the idea of whiskey or gin that came from Brooklyn would have been nothing more than a punch line,” write Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz in their new book about the booming drinking scene in their home borough. And while Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough has lots to say about the New Yorkers creating a new wave of fine whiskeys, gins, and other liquors, the book also highlights the many local bars that are putting all that product to good use. Here are Fornatale and Wertz’s picks for the best cocktail bars in Brooklyn, with their notes on why each is special.


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars on 1 review




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10 Best Cocktail Bars in Brooklyn

The Best

“There was a time not long ago when the idea of whiskey or gin that came from Brooklyn would have been nothing more than a punch line,”

write Peter Thomas Fornatale and Chris Wertz in their new book about the booming drinking scene in their home borough. And while Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World’s Hippest Borough has lots to say about the New Yorkers creating a new wave of fine whiskeys, gins, and other liquors, the book also highlights the many local bars that are putting all that product to good use.

Here are Fornatale and Wertz’s picks for the best cocktail bars in Brooklyn, with their notes on why each is special.

The Shanty, Williamsburg

The Shanty, Williamsburg

“Not satisfied with just making elegant, classic spirits, the gang at New York Distilling Company is also pouring them in a craft cocktail bar next door to their distillery.”

The Shanty, Williamsburg

Max Kelly

Fort Defiance, Red Hook

Fort Defiance, Red Hook

“Part cocktail bar, part community center, Fort Defiance represents everything a good bar should be. The food is excellent, and don't miss the Sunken Harbor Club on Thursday nights, a salute to all things tiki.”

Max Kelly

Tooker Alley, Prospect Heights

Tooker Alley, Prospect Heights

“Del Pedro is a legend on the New York cocktail scene as he's been making great craft drinks since the mid-‘90s at The Grange Hall in Greenwich Village.

This is his own venture—a ‘20s style Chicago jazz club meets a modern Brooklyn cocktail bar—and it's as cool as he is. A must.”

Tooker Alley, Prospect Heights

Max Kelly

Long Island Bar, Cobble Hill

Long Island Bar, Cobble Hill

“Toby Cecchini is another legend in the cocktail world. He invented the Cosmopolitan, but don't hold that against him.

He's an author and historian, and his contributions on the DIY side of craft cocktails are second to none. Long Island Bar is an old Spanish diner and has inherent character that Cecchini has updated and brought to life. A bartender’s bar.”

Max Kelly

Dram, Williamsburg

Dram, Williamsburg

“On a typical night you can watch a subtitled B movie on a six-foot-by-six-foot screen and hear all manner of punk rock on the stereo.

Despite the audio-visual stimulation, it’s a great, relaxed atmosphere, with an open kitchen station busting out terrific bar bites to go with your drinks.”

Dram, Williamsburg

Max Kelly

Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg

Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg

“Their motto is ‘fancy without the fussy’ and they certainly live up to that.”

Huckleberry Bar, Williamsburg

Courtesy NY Distilling

Lucey's Lounge, Gowanus

Lucey's Lounge, Gowanus

"There is no better place in Brooklyn when it comes to combining the neighborhood bar and the cocktail bar.

As head bartender Henry Lopez says: ‘We like people, we like to tell stories. We like to make great drinks with the best ingredients possible, and not make any big whoop about it. And I’ll talk your damn ear off.’”

Lucey's Lounge, Gowanus

Max Kelly

Lavender Lake, Gowanus

Lavender Lake, Gowanus

“Lavender Lake is a sweet spot with a minimal, modern décor that still manages to have a warm feel, with its brick and wooden beams.

And the drinks are the real deal, very much focused on local and artisanal spirits.”

Lavender Lake, Gowanus

Max Kelly

 Clover Club, Cobble Hill

Clover Club, Cobble Hill

“This Brooklyn outpost of New York legend Julie Reiner is a big supporter of local spirits. They even have a section on their menu called Hometown Hooch.”

Clover Club, Cobble Hill

Max Kelly

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

“Walking into this Williamsburg bar is a lot like walking onto a movie set.

There are beautiful people, neatly chosen props, carefully costumed extras, a New Orleans-inspired horseshoe bar, an absinthe fountain, and even vintage toilets. Most importantly, that attention to detail translates into pleasure in the glass.”

Maison Premiere, Williamsburg

Max Kelly