Home to Pratt Institute, Clinton Hill has a young, artistic vibe that has drawn in many millennials in recent years. While historic brownstones and tree-lined streets give it a true neighborhood feel, Clinton Hill’s large population of students and young professionals has attracted many bars and restaurants to the area, creating a vibrant nightlife scene as well. Here is our guide to the best spots to check out in the neighborhood.
Market, Sandwich Shop, American, $$$
What’s better than a craft beer bar? A craft beer bar where you can also buy gourmet groceries. Mekelburg’s offers an extensive selection of craft beers on 16 rotating taps as well as an impressive food menu and a well-curated selection of specialty groceries, including house-roasted meats and olive oils from around the world.
California natives Nate Smith and Sophie Kamin succeeded in bringing the West Coast to Brooklynwith Bar Bolinas. Featuring light, reclaimed wood walls and a California redwood bar topped with stone, the space is undeniably beachy. The outdoor patio is just as inviting with plenty of greenery and decorative string lights.
This industrial chic watering hole is home to the popular “Sex on the Streets,” a house cocktail made with vodka, peach schnapps, pineapple and orange juice. The space features a mirrored bar (hence the name), unfinished floors, exposed brick walls, concrete benches, and velvet curtains and cushions for a touch of softness. If you’re in the mood for 90’s hip-hop and a club-like setting, this is your place.
As the name suggests, Hops Hill is all about the beer. With a massive list of 100 bottles, over 20 ciders and 12 constantly rotating taps, this bar is a beer-lover’s paradise. However, if your friends aren’t into beer, there is also an impressive list of whiskeys. The venue has a mellow vibe, drawing in a laid-back local crowd and making it the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy a beer after work.
A Clinton Hill favorite, Hot Bird was an auto shop that has been transformed by owner, Frank Moe, into a neighborhood bar. The name comes from an old chicken restaurant that resided there in the ‘90s; paying homage to this, the original bright-yellow signage still remains. The décor is uniquely industrial, true to its mechanic roots, with white subway tiles, reclaimed wood, and neon signage. Its draw is a massive outdoor space populated by long picnic benches and a firepit as well as a large beer selection.
It’s clear from the unique décor The Emerson is catering to the artsy crowd at the nearby Pratt Institute. With a curated selection of paintings and a vintage art deco feel, the bar has a charm that draws in art students and locals alike. There is ample room inside with a pool table in the back and banquette seating along the walls as well as a large backyard. The bar’s weekly open mic night and reasonable happy hour adds to its appeal.
Sisters takes the cake for the most aesthetically-pleasing bar on this list with a 30-foot skylight, reclaimed beech ceilings, custom woven chairs, and a long curved white marble bar all courtesy of the design firm hOmE. During the day the space is serene and flooded by natural light, while at night the it is candlelit with live music at the back bar, a full dinner menu and house cocktails and beers.
Focusing on the warmth of Irish hospitality, Hartley’s provides a homey atmosphere to locals. Owners and Irish transplants, Mike O’Sullivan, Jim Dunn and Dan Grace, opened the space with the intention of bringing authenticity to the neighborhood; therefore, the food, the drinks and the cozy atmosphere embody the true Irish pub experience. The venue even has traditional Irish music performances every Monday night.
If you’re after the classic no-frills bar experience, look no further than Hanson Dry. Reminiscent of a 1950s style lounge, the space features a dark wood bar, beige leather couches and unadorned whitewashed brick walls. The condensed menu of eight rotating beers on tap, several wine options and ten specialty cocktails adds to the bar’s simplistic appeal. Happy hour starts early and comes with pretzels and the backyard draws in drinkers during the summer months.
Opened by the team behind Boerum Hill’s 4th Avenue Pub and The Evergreen in Bushwick, Fulton Grand Bar is a cozy beer bar situated at the intersection of Fulton Street and Grand Avenue, making it a convenient and popular spot. Outdoor street seating offering great people watching and a warm interior with salvaged wood tables and shelves characterize the venue. For patrons planning on staying a while, you can order takeout and eat on site.