Named for the tiny Buttermilk Channel between Red Hook and Governor's Island, this homey South Slope hangout links up working-class Brooklyn with the knowing youth now classing up the 'hood. (Owners Andrew Benedict and Scott Fredrick perfected this formula at Boat and Great Lakes, two laid-back local favorites.) An ingeniously unfussy decor divides the ample space into mini-subsections, with a wooden bus stop bench near the front windows, a kitschy wall-sized photo mural in the back room and a hefty oval table that looks like it's waiting for someone to plop down cartons of takeout for a cheerful group of boozers. The bar boasts a selection of local beers and microbrews on tap along with a Pac Man machine, book corner, and a stack of board games for the asking (Connect 4, anyone?) Despite the impeccable indie rock mixes on the jukebox, Buttermilk's more geared to good conversation between friends than to posing and pouting by the clever T-shirt crowd.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.