Dive bars aren’t just about sticky table tops and cracked vinyl banquets. They’re also about being able to afford to buy a round for the new friends you just met on the concrete patio out back, about a certain friendliness and camaraderie that just doesn’t develop over fancy cocktails. Here are a few of the best dive bars to be found in two neighborhoods with a lot of hip, young people who don’t have a lot of money to throw away — Williamsburg and Bushwick.
Bushwick Country Club
Confusingly, Bushwick Country Club is in Williamsburg and is also not a country club. This is a “craptacular” (their word) local dive bar that has mini golf. This bar claims to have invented the pickleback — a shot of whiskey with a pickle juice back. They also have a big outdoor space and a slushie machine for frozen margaritas and Jim Beam and Coke slushies. Also, free cheesy puffs with your drinks.
Greenpoint has the holiday spirit year-round | Huffy S. via Yelp
Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern
Another misnomer — Rosemary’s is in Williamsburg, right on the main drag on Bedford, not in Greenpoint. This might be the queen of all Brooklyn dive bars, with $32-ounce foam cups of Bud or Bud Light for $4. Year-round Christmas lights, comfy booths–it’s a place to hole up and forget the outside world.
No ruff-housing around the pool table | Daisy P. via Yelp
Brooklyn Ale House
A sweet, homey spot with a pool table, a dart board, peanuts on the bar, and peanut shells on the floor. There’s a good mix of beers on tap and a free bagel brunch on weekend afternoons.
Spacious outdoor patio at East River Bar | via Yelp
East River Bar
Tucked in under the Williamsburg Bridge, the East River Bar has cheap beers, shots and well drinks, a big outdoor area with an awning for rainy weather, a pool table and Big Buck Hunter. There’s often a bike messenger crowd here, and it’s the kind of place where you’re likely to strike up a conversation with someone at a neighboring bar stool.
Well, what did you expect? | Duck Duck
This is technically East Williamsburg, but it’s much closer to Bushwick in spirit. Duck Duck is huge, with a long bar and a sort of 90s feel, from the mix of cans and craft beers to the mismatched furniture throughout. The bartenders are friendly, serving up happy hour seven days a week, two-for-one well drinks, and Rolling Rock and Narragansett on draft. Beer and shot specials start at $5 all the time.
Don’t let the Lone Wolf scare you | Justin L. via Yelp
There’s a daily $5 PBR and well shot special, a pool table, a great juke box and happy hour starts at noon on the weekends.
The graffiti on the outside is a sneak preview of the inside | Warren K. via Yelp
The bathrooms here are covered with graffiti, as you might expect from the name, but the ever-present beer and shot special for $5 will help you appreciate the art. Happy hour starts at 2pm, and (if you last this long) rice balls from Arancini Brothers are available next door for midnight snacks.
Grab some super shot specials at Gotham City Lounge | jeff w. via Yelp
Gotham City Lounge
Yes, there’s a superhero (and anime) theme at Gotham City Lounge. Bruce Wayne would never be caught dead in here, but there’s a pool table and a $3 PBR and shot special.