13 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.
A cocktail bar with a blue color scheme and hanging globe lights.

photo credit: Bunton's World Famous

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.


photo credit: Bryan Kim


Crown Heights

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good CocktailsOutdoor/Patio Situation
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You don’t have to love rum in order to appreciate The Rum Bar. As long as you enjoy hip hop, reggae, peaceful back patios, and jerk spring rolls, you’ll have a nice time at the little island-themed Crown Heights spot. From the owner of The Rogers Garden, this is one of the few NYC establishments that focuses on sugarcane spirits, so, ideally, you should have some rum here—in the form of a painkiller or Cuban daiquiri—but if all you drink is tequila soda, they can do that as well. Come by for a DJ set, or take advantage of the Happy Hour specials.

Bars are cool and all, but have you ever been to a laundrobar? Pearl Lee’s Washtub is a laundromat in Crown Heights with a bar in the back, so once you’ve started your laundry, order a beer, then revel in the fact that if you spilled it on your shirt you could toss it in the washer within seconds. Everybody seems very happy to be here—maybe it’s because you get a 10% discount on beer, wine, and bar snacks if you’re doing laundry—or maybe it’s because the bartender’s mother is on aux, and doing an excellent job. 

One of the weekly specials at The Bush is the "Slutty Punch," an $8 concoction that sets the mood for the night. The duo behind this self-appointed "dyke bar for queers" in Bushwick wanted to see more spaces catering to lesbians, and The Bush has successfully become a big, slutty—but safe—playground for the community. On DJ nights, you'll find a packed dance floor, full of people sipping on cocktails with names like "ILYSM" under a constellation of disco balls and purple lights. If you're looking for something more low-key, come by on a night that they have a comedy show or book party. Check their Instagram to see what they've got cooking. 

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 kale salad, or you can hang out with a few friends on a banquette in the corner and drink some mezcal margaritas 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 egg rolls, and wings.

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' Instagram 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.

photo credit: Ryle Watson

$$$$Perfect For:Happy Hour


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Lucky’s is a Black-woman-owned cocktail bar in Bed-Stuy with purple and pink light emanating throughout the space, and big, 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. They also have another, much larger location in Ridgewood, in case you need a spot for your next birthday party.

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An ornate bar with a big chandelier and heavy curtains.

Essential spots for cocktail nerds and anyone who appreciates a well-chilled drink.

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