Crown Heights is having a moment. Having shed its reputation for violence and crime following the 1991 race riots, this New York neighborhood has emerged as a vibrant and diverse community now enjoying an exploding bar scene; we crown the neighborhood’s best places for a drink.
Little sister to open-air market Smorgasburg, Berg’n brings a scaled-down version of the popular food market to Crown Heights. Indeed, this beer and food hall is the brainchild of the same minds that brought us the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg. A first glance around the industrial-chic aesthetic of the warehouse space housing local, artisanal food vendors quickly confirms this common heritage.
Fans of the Brooklyn bar scene will find a home in his Franklin Avenue outpost, The Crown Inn. Featuring a selection of rotating taps, including 12 craft brews and four local wines, The Crown Inn really shines in the bourbon department with over 40 types. The stripped-down feel of the dark brick and aged wood paneling lends itself perfectly to sipping on a classic; think martinis and Manhattans.
The soft cream and pastel pinks and blues of King Tai Bar recall an old-time ice cream parlor, replete with chrome diner barstools and a 1940s Miami Beach vacation vibe. Stop by before 8pm for King Tai’s killer happy hour.
The low-key Nostrand Avenue Pub is the perfect neighborhood hang-out, complete with friendly bartenders, solid happy hour specials, and a shaded back patio. With 20 seasonally rotating beers on tap plus a selection of bottles, wines, and spirits, it’s easy to spend hours cozied up to the bar. It doesn’t hurt that the brick and wood interior and tin ceiling impart a snug atmosphere that lends itself to cold-weather drinking.
Come to Tooker Alley for the cocktails, stay for the menu. Beginning with a brief history of the Chicago Prohibition-era speakeasy from which Tooker Alley draws its name, the menu delves into a range of eclectic subjects, from the biographies of notable Brooklynites to drinking poems to hobo symbols. Leave your mark in the Don’t Yelp Me Bro section, where patrons can write feedback and doodle.
Catfish offers a taste of New Orleans on a quiet corner of Bedford Avenue and Prospect Place. NOLA-inspired cocktails include concoctions like the Lady Laveau; absinthe, St. Germaine, cucumber lemonade. There’s also a great beer selection with 16 rotating drafts and close to 40 domestic and imported bottles/cans. Grab one of the long picnic benches on the rustic back patio and order some New Orleans-inspired dishes to share with friends.
The first thing you’ll likely notice about The Way Station is the big blue police telephone box that doubles as the bathroom. If you’re confused by this, then this might not be the bar for you. If, however, the sight of the TARDIS sends you into a fit of Whovian fanboy hysterics, grab your sonic screwdriver and get involved. To experience the ultimate in nerd culture, go on a Sunday when there are screenings of sci-fi flicks.
Covenhoven delivers on choice with 16 taps and over 150 bottles and cans. The narrow interior is sparsely decorated with vintage brew memorabilia, and though it doesn’t offer much in the way of seating, there’s plenty of room out back on the cute grass patio. Challenge your friends to a game of Scrabble or any of the other communal board games available.
The turquoise floor and lemon yellow diner barstools around the horseshoe bar at the Bearded Lady shout retro diner vibe. If the old school luncheonette look isn’t really your thing, the bar’s offerings are sure to win you over. It’s a cash only joint, so be sure to bring dollars.
Smorgasburg devotees might recognize Butter & Scotch from their bakery stand, but the outfit has now expanded into a full-fledged bakery/bar on Franklin Ave. You can see the @DrunkBakers in action in the adjoining storefront, where all the delicious magic happens before that bourbon ginger pecan pie ends up on your plate. Outside of boozy shakes and dessert cocktails, Butter & Scotch also whips up a pretty sweet weekend brunch menu.