Sun-Thu, 5pm-2am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-4am
F, G at Carroll St.
Friendly, low-key bars are a dime a dozen in Brooklyn. What the borough needs is a little less grunge and a little more concept. Brooklyn Social provides it, while still hanging on to the charm that made you move there. Once an Italian social club, the bar gets the throwback formula right, from the front door marked "non-members welcome" to the slowly revolving ceiling fans, red pressed-tin ceiling, and strains of Duke Ellington. Bartenders dress the part, donning ties and expertly mixing cocktails like Matt's Ginger Old-Fashioned (bourbon, ginger, sugar, cherries, orange and bitters) and the Riposto (vodka, tangerine slices, triple sec and fresh rosemary), which named in honor of the original club and only served in the winter. Getting a feel for the old neighborhood was never easier.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.