113 N. 7th St., nr. Berry St, Williamsburg.; 718-218-6006
The third location of this mini beer-bar empire (after the East Village and New Orleans) sticks to what works: a rotating batch of brews including sixteen locally concentrated beers on tap, three hand-drawn, cask-conditioned ales, and a bunch more specialty treats in bottles (and, if all goes well, a real-deal muffuletta).
67 Orange Street
2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd., nr. 113th St.; 212-662-2030
This speakeasy in Harlem is named in honor of one of the first black-owned bars in New York. It’s a dim, petite affair, with saunalike wooden walls and low-slung, quiet-conversation-friendly tables. The cocktails, by mixologist Kali Irwin, range from the classic (the New York Sazerac) to the not (Sexy Bison!)
81 Ludlow St., nr. Broome St.; 212-677-0067
With an early crowd of sparkly fashion types, this refined space underneath the restaurant Casanis is all white-tiles and red-leather booths. The menu, from upstairs, is available until midnight.
451 Graham Ave., nr. Richardson St., Williamsburg; 718-398-2472
After a rash of upmarket “speakeasy” openings, the Richardson wisely chose to tone things down a bit—no mixologists here, just bartenders—offering the same classy comforts with much less pretense.
342 Franklin Ave., nr. Greene St., Bedford-Stuyvesant; 718-398-2472
Opinions may be split on the Wild Wood, a sticky-sweet orange-soda concoction that is the Bed-Stuy lounge’s signature cocktail, but the cheery back patio—complete with colorful Christmas lights and ample bench-space—is a surefire unifier.
8011 Third Ave, nr. 80th St., Bay Ridge; 718-836-4515
Neighborhood locals have recognized the charms of this quirky space: It’s plastered with Sailor Jerry artwork from owner Peter Cavorsi (who also owns and operates the adjoining Body Art Studios) and operated by a welcoming batch of waitresses and bartenders who sling good pub grub and stiff drinks.