60 S. 2nd St., nr. Wythe Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-387-0003
Once a repair shop for cop cars, this converted garage first became a popular venue for Rooftop Films' outdoor movie screenings before transforming into its current incarnation: a spacious, laid-back bar and beer garden, replete with a bartop fashioned out of reclaimed wood from the Coney Island boardwalk, two patios, and 24 pours on tap.
75 Murray St., nr. Greenwich St; 212-513-1234
The hepcats from Little Branch have launched their latest, and enough of the familiars are in place: pupil-challenging darkness; small, linen-draped cocktail tables; exposed brick walls covered in tributes to a bygone era; and, oh yeah, the jazz band, center stage, humming away the majority of the night. But given the ownership, they’re not going to let you forget that even if Louis Armstrong were playing, the drinks come first.
Dream Downtown; 355 West 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave., 212-229-2559
Decked out in mirrors, black marble, and strobe-lit prism glass chandeliers, PH-D is the Dream Downtown's throwback to an eighties penthouse. Twelve stories up, the real draw is the long narrow deck that spans the left side of the space with banquettes—some intimate for no more than three, some larger for up to twelve—overgrown plants, and one of the city's most spectacular views, facing north with clear shots of the Empire State Building and city skyscape.
Putnam's Pub and Cooker
419 Myrtle Ave., at Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn; 347-799-2382
Self-styled a “Pub and Cooker,” the large, saloon-type aesthetic at Putnam’s evokes the kind of smoke-filled halls of 19th Century New York. Cask beers are on tap, there's a prominent whiskey shelf, and the overall convivial feel of the place blends well with the attempt at period details.
Rosarito Fish Shack and Tequila Bar
168 Wythe Ave., at N. 7th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-8833
Tequila and its smoky cousin, mezcal, are the central focus of this dark, wooden, Zorro-appropriate bar. Choose from a list of a la carte tequilas and mezcals, which range from the rock and roll Cabo Wabo to high end, barrel-aged mezcals or the tequila- and mezcal-only cocktails, like the tart and aromatic Que Me Vez, made to order with fresh produce.