916 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-383-0254
Only in Greenpoint could you find the fashionista scene located next to the Polish meat store. As for the interior, it lives up to the name—black mirrored tables, black leather banquettes, pretty-boy bartenders in black tees, and a tin roof painted … yeah, you get it. The bar is long enough to avoid drunken encounters with struggling Goth models, and a sizable back garden offers an escape from the deep chasm of blackness within.
152 Orchard St., nr. Rivington St.; 646-429-8780
Deceased music venue the Annex has been reborn as the Doghouse Saloon, a balls-to-the-wall frat bar with multiple flat-screen TVs, Skee-Ball, pool, beer pong, free hot dogs, half-off margs during Monday Night Football, karaoke, and a live eighties band on Saturday night.
661 Sackett St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-622-0437
The owners of the Sackett placed their bar on a side street for a reason: They’re aiming to keep things quiet, in line with their relaxed Park Slope location. Inside, the space is simple but warm—brick walls, knickknacks tucked away on the shelves, and tiny café tables. There’s a juke box by the door stocked with indie tunes, and a sloppy blues-rock is played on the house speakers. There’ll be an outdoor area opening in 2010, and a menu of appetizers and artisanal, oven-cooked sandwiches before then.
48 East 23rd St., nr. Park Ave. South; 212-982-8802
This swanky homage to Ping-Pong and cocktails is a cross between a members-only club and an eighties high-school gymnasium. The Susan Sarandon–backed club houses 13,000 square feet of table-tennis space, flanked by a full bar, mini-bleachers, and a VIP room with a D.J. booth and a Rirkrit Tiravanija–designed Ping-Pong table made entirely of mirrors, worth $60,000.
87 Ludlow St., nr. Delancey St.; 212-677-1100
Nightlife fixture Michael Ng is hoping that the same recipe of success—off-the-strip locale, live showtunes, buff bartenders—that worked at the Midtown East Uncle Charlie's piano bar will attract a younger crowd at this LES location. This time out, there's also flat-screens, beer pong, and room for 200.
48 S. 4th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; no phone
To succeed in Williamsburg, a bar needs three things: a cavernous space, a “we don’t try too hard” attitude, and constant supply of plentiful and cheap booze. The Woods, owned by the same guys who run its popular neighbor, Savalas, has safely nailed all three. If you’re daunted by the bordello-red chandeliers or immaculate wood finishes, fear not—the bartender is shoveling out $2 Miller Lite, in plastic cups no less.