12 Great Black-Owned Bars In NYC guide image


12 Great Black-Owned Bars In NYC

A place for beer nerds in Harlem, a rum-fueled party spot on the LES, and more Black-owned bars to check out.

The Black-owned bars on this list don’t just do good cocktails, they’re also places where Black musicians, artists, and brands can thrive. From a few spots in Brooklyn where you’ll find the city’s best DJs to a craft beer bar in Harlem that serves beers from Black-owned breweries, here’s where you should plan your next Happy Hour.


Ode to Babel

Ode to Babel looks like your living room if your living room had a bar, and it’s a sleeper candidate for the best first-date spot in Prospect Heights. It also doubles as a music venue and tasting room/shop for the owners’ company Babel Spirits, through which they sell an excellent gin distilled in Greenpoint. There are a few nice couches to chill on, and you might catch some live music or a DJ in the corner, but there won’t be a ton of people shouting at one another. The team also has another bar and lounge called the Babel Loft in the works, check their IG for updates.

From the team behind Fort Greene’s Dick & Jane’s, Dick & Jane’s Bar Room is a cross between a bar and a restaurant, and it’s a useful place to know about. You can stop by for a burger and a flight of deviled eggs, or you can hang out with a few friends on a banquette in the corner and drink some mezcal margaritas while you listen to Beyoncé. The space is dark, with a tin ceiling and a bar that runs the length of the room, and there are a bunch of tables that you can reserve (although it’s easy to get a walk-in seat).


Las’ Lap is a narrow bar on Orchard Street with high ceilings, potted plants, floral bar stools, and a cocktail list that emphasizes ingredients like coconut, passionfruit, and rum. It’s a cool spot, and it’s ideal for when you want to catch up with a few people and hide from the massive crowds at other LES bars. It still gets pretty busy here, and you’ll probably find it hard to get a seat (it’s a small place), but you can call ahead if you want to reserve a table and eat some dinner. They serve things like oxtail, jerk chicken spring rolls, and arepas.

If you want to learn about micro breweries (or brag about how much you already know about them), this is the best place in Harlem to do it. Harlem Hops serves a lot of hard-to-find beer, specifically from small-batch breweries and businesses owned by people of color. If you don’t really care about the different flavor notes in East and West Coast IPAs, you’ll at least appreciate the backyard. It has tables made out of barrels and a big mural wall.

Bed-Vyne Brew is a beer and wine bar from the same people who own the neighboring wine store, Bed-Vyne Wine. It's dark and intimate, and it would feel like a cabin in the woods if it weren't for the occasional DJ. The space is tiny, but that just makes it cozy. Come here with a date or a friend who thinks it’s really great that they can tell the difference between craft beers. You can sit out front when the weather is nice, and there might be a dance party happening if you stop by on a weekend.

On Friday nights, it feels like the whole neighborhood gathers in the courtyard at The Rodgers Garden to drink rum cocktails and find their next fling. They’ve got umbrellas in the summer and heaters in the winter, so you can enjoy the garden year-around. If you opt for inside seating, the blue metal bar, hanging plants, and strong drinks like the Rodney Bay Rum Punch provide a Caribbean feel no matter where you are in the space. Brooklyn’s best DJs make the rounds here weekly, so check Rogers' IG for when they’re throwing their next big party.

Cocktail Bedstuy is secretly one of the best cocktail bars in Brooklyn. The narrow space is on a relatively quiet stretch of Halsey Street, and it’s where you should go for a nerdy drink made by bartenders who know what they’re doing. Grab one of the signature house cocktails, and enjoy it in the little, dark room where people stand shoulder-to-shoulder on busier nights. There are a few tables in the back if you want to sit down, and there’s a pleasant backyard for the warmer months of the year.

You can get food and drinks at Basquiat’s Bottle, but their real mission is to bring together Black artists and business owners by holding events and showcasing their work in the loungey, DIY-esque space. They host everything from networking events and art exhibitions to Happy Hours with Brooklyn’s best DJs and karaoke nights where the level of talent will casually blow you away. Jerk chicken tacos should be the first thing you order, as well as however much tequila it’ll take for you to try and sing some Whitney Houston on stage.

Lucky’s is a Black-woman-owned cocktail bar in Bed-Stuy with purple and pink light emanating throughout the space and big and feathered angel wings in the middle of the room. It’s a cozy spot for winding down after work with a fruit-and-flower scented drink and some incredibly good tapas. Bring some friends so you can order extra plates of the tangy teriyaki steak skewers, crispy catfish strips, and cheesy cauliflower arancini. 

Good music is guaranteed at Bunton’s World Famous. The Bushwick bar is owned by Kareem Bunton, a musician who has collaborated with Run the Jewels and TV on the Radio. They book the best up-and-coming and established DJs almost every night, and it really comes alive on the weekends when there can be a line to get in. The signature piña coladas are as good as advertised (get the sorrel), and they keep their back patio toasty in the winter with strong heaters. It’s worth the peak-hour wait if you’re into a younger scene, but the beautiful space is a fun, low-key hang during Happy Hour too.

Harlem Hookah is a hookah bar and restaurant right off Malcolm X Blvd with a fun late night scene. Nights here start to pick up after 9pm when the music really gets going and everything sparkles thanks to the light reflecting off of crystal chandeliers, mirrors, and white marble. Order some of the sticky, well-done wings to supplement the strong drinks and unique gummy bear hookah flavor.

Bierwax in Prospect Heights is one of the least nerdy bars for beer nerds. It’s a dark, narrow room with a DJ booth up front and a whole wall of vinyl behind a long bar that takes up most of the space, and it tends to get pretty loud. But there’s a backyard if you need a quiet place to sit, as well as a couch in the back of the space near a bookshelf filled with educational reading materials on beer.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad
12 Great Black-Owned Bars In NYC guide image