The Best Bars In WilliamsburgListen to live music, have a dance party, or drink some natural wine in a backyard full of people you’ve seen on dating apps.
There are a million bars in Williamsburg, and that's only barely an exaggeration. Fortunately, we're here to help you narrow down your drinking options. Whether you want to grab a beer and listen live country music, drink some wine with someone you met in line at Trader Joe's, or dance in the back of a burrito shop, you'll find the appropriate venue right here on this list.
photo credit: Alice Gao
ElNico is an easy experience, and that’s saying a lot for a rooftop bar in Williamsburg. It’s spacious, takes reservations, and has two terraces and a sunroom-like interior with comfy couches on the 11th floor of the Penny hotel. The house cocktails and pretty Mexican dishes incorporate interesting ingredients—there’s an Old Fashioned with Sichuan pepper for example, and a tlayuda made with tzatziki that reminds us of a painter’s palette. Check the forecast, find the next sunny day, and head to ElNico to test drive your new pair of shorts.
photo credit: Liz Clayman
The team behind Le Crocodile opened this flashy French wine bar six floors above their Williamsburg restaurant in the Wythe Hotel. Bar Blondeau is full of green velvet banquettes and two-tops where you can snack on tuna tartare, eat several rounds of oysters, and take in some great views of the Manhattan skyline with friends. You can also choose a bottle from their natural wine list—full of up-and-coming wine regions around the world—to enjoy on their large outdoor terrace.
photo credit: Briana Balducci
Going to Sauced in Williamsburg sort of feels like hanging out at a friend’s garden apartment—if that friend happened to collect and study hundreds of bottles of French, Spanish, and Italian wine. There’s technically no menu here. Instead, all you need to do is tell the friendly staff a bit about what you like to drink (or what you’re excited to try for the first time). Whether you’re looking for a single glass, a $35 bottle, or something vintage that predates many Williamsburg inhabitants, the people at Sauced are going to bring you something delicious every time.
There’s always something going on at The Last Call, a Japanese-inspired spot on Grand Street. Some nights, you might get free food with your drink. Other nights, there’s trivia, and if you stop by on a weekend after 10:30pm, you can enjoy an all-vinyl dance party underneath a disco ball. The room is dark and decorated like a retro izakaya, and, no matter when you stop by, there’ll be some good, loud music playing. Food options change from day to day, but you can expect things like yakitori, crispy chicken sandos, and wonton nachos with diced tuna.
320 Club is technically a speakeasy, but it isn’t especially hard to find, and you don’t need a password. Just walk into Super Burrito on Bedford Ave, and look for the door under the sign that says “Cocktails.” Once inside, you’ll find a little ‘70s-themed spot with wood paneling, orange vinyl seating, and a Star Trek poster in the corner. Grab a booth or a seat at the bar, then enjoy a good margarita alongside a foil-wrapped burrito. This place often hosts dance parties and other events, so stop by if your life’s starting to feel boring.
photo credit: Blinky's Bar
Blinky’s has a backyard crawling with ivy, regularly scheduled DJ sets, and a sassy drink menu with high school yearbook superlatives listed below each cocktail. Whether you identify with the passionfruit daiquiri “Biggest Flirt,” blue cosmopolitan “Class Clown,” or neither because you believe superlatives are limiting, come here with a few friends and sit in the backyard while you discuss who Blinky might be. (The answer is the owner’s cat.) We’ve noticed things start to get busy around 8pm on weeknights, so plan accordingly.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
If you want a view, go to Westlight. This is the bar at the top of the William Vale Hotel, and it’s the best place in Williamsburg to drink a good cocktail and stare at the Manhattan skyline. It feels a little more like Soho than Williamsburg, however, so expect a crowd of well-dressed people and a line to get in at peak times. (If you want to avoid that, make a reservation.) Bring a friend who’s visiting from out of town. They’ll be impressed.
Masquerade is a bar where you'll find underground DJs and your typical Williamsburg crowd wearing short fringes and dirty white sneakers. But the Iranian cocktails and food bring something truly new to the neighborhood. They currently have a short menu of mezze like hot-pink mast-o-laboo and creamy kashk o bademjoon, which comes with sangak bread from beloved New Jersey Persian bakery Gandom. We especially love the small mound of crispy tahchin and its yolky, custard-like inside.
There are about 100 different cocktail spots in Williamsburg, but Fresh Kills might be the best (top five, at the very least). It’s unpretentious, but the cocktails are top-of-the-line, and every bartender knows what they’re doing. So even if you don’t know what you want, they’ll figure it out with a few questions. Swing by with a few friends, and claim one of the booths. Or stop by with a date. This place gets crowded, so be prepared to wait in line at the door if you come here on a weekend.
Skinny Dennis is a honkey-tonk-themed dive bar, and it’s where you go to stand around and drink cheap beer with friends. They also have live music sometimes, so check the schedule if that’s what you’re looking for. Expect this place to be packed at peak hours, however, and take note of the little blue-and-white paper cups people are carrying around. These contain a slushy, boozy coffee beverage. Order one.
It isn’t just a name. They actually allow dogs here. So if you love dogs, but your landlord won’t let you have one, or if you want to use your dog to get yourself a date, check this place out. Lucky Dog is a dive bar on Bedford Ave where you’ll pretty much always see a canine. Dogs are not required, however. Most people just come here for the good beer selection, the nice backyard, and the laid-back vibes.
“Hard work pays off” applies to making it on the 30 Under 30 list and also to getting to the backyard of this divey queer bar. If you're willing to squeeze through a crowd, we highly recommend having a drink in the huge outdoor space. Inside, you'll find a small dance floor adjacent to the DJ, with a surrounding elevated platform that someone will inadvertently fall from sometime during the course of the night. Drinks are inexpensive, but anticipate a long line for the bathroom.
Live music at a bar can sometimes be annoying. Few spots do it right—and St. Mazie is one of them. The live music here (usually some type of swing or jazz) is usually awesome, and it adds to the feeling that you might have just stumbled into a bar in New Orleans 60 years ago. More reasons why we love this place: a great back patio, oysters, and occasional flamenco.
One of Brooklyn’s original queer bars, Metropolitan is a straight-up dive, and it's always a fun choice. The drinks are cheap, the (tiny) dance floor is usually packed, and on Sundays in the summer they've been known to use their back garden to host free BBQs. Because meeting people is even better when burgers are involved.
It’s impossible to come here and not order the fried chicken. So don't try to fight it. Get that fried chicken, and grab one of the signature frozen house cocktails while you're at it. the Commodore can be a crowded mess (especially late-night), but this divey place happens to be a neighborhood institution, and all that fried chicken will give you the stamina to push through the crowds.
“I JUST WANNA DANCE!” is the drunken rallying cry that results in 98% of nights out in Williamsburg ending at Union Pool. If your group wants to get down, this is the place to do it. That said, there’s also plenty of space on the outdoor patio for people who would rather stoically sip their beers and/or have drunken heart-to-hearts. Come before 11pm, or risk having to wait in line in order to get in.
Night of Joy is a perpetually-dark bar full of old couches and antique decor, and the last time you were here, you were on a Tinder date. Probably. We highly recommend this intimate, relatively inexpensive spot for any casual first dates, and the second-story rooftop is a great spot to hang out for an hour or two when it's warm out.
Another date-night classic, Hotel Delmano is Williamsburg’s best third-date bar. This is not where you bring some person you’ve never met before. This is where you come when you want to seem like a Williamsburg insider and have a fantastic time with someone you already know and (hopefully) like. Everything about this place—from the excellent (albeit expensive) drinks to the speakeasy-ish atmosphere—is impressive. Keep in mind, standing isn't allowed.
Rocka Rolla has all the fun parts of a dive bar (classic rock, cheesy decor) without the bad parts of a dive bar (bathroom smells and general filth). Like many Williamsburg bars, Rocka Rolla is also nice and spacious, so it’s a fun place to come with a group. Play some pool, drink from the giant beer goblets, and stick around until 4am if you want to watch people get sloppy.
At Maison Premiere, you can drink an absolutely pristine cocktail by candlelight while enjoying all of the raw bar offerings your heart desires. One of the city's top cocktail spots for a while a now, this New Orleans-inspired place with antique nautical decor is a date-night classic, and it also works well for solo drink at the bar. There's a fantastic oyster selection, and there's also plenty of absinthe, in case you need to drink something that's a little more flammable.