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1. Magnetic Field
Since you can barely shoehorn another body into Atlantic Avenue’s Last Exit, the arrival of this club across the street, with its vague cowboy motif, is giving Cobble Hill bar-goers some room to breathe. (97 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights; 718-834-0069.)
2. The Zombie Hut
Surfer artifacts, a cocktail menu featuring concoctions like Planter’s Punch (“tastes like a punch and hits you like one!”), and loads of bamboo transport you to a cozy island hut—one that somewhat incongruously has a working fireplace. (261 Smith St., Carroll Gardens; 718-875-3433.)
3. Café Ma
The décor is Ikea-lite, rickety stools line the bar, and the tap offerings are nothing out of the ordinary. But amid the newfound glamour of the Slope’s Fifth Avenue, that’s just its appeal. Sunday-night karaoke helps, too. (428 Bergen St., Park Slope; 718-638-0645.)
The boys behind the East Village's Phoenix have brought a gay bar to Williamsburg at last. Playful cruising is the name of the game here, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, when boys with good haircuts and no apparent means to pay for them cram the place in search of action. (559 Lorimer St., Williamsburg; 718-599-4444.)
As some patrons bum-rush the stage (host to acts like J Mascis), many Manhattan residents hang back in the lounge area sipping martinis, bracing for that long F ride home. (125 Fifth Ave., Park Slope; 718-230-0236.)