The Castello Plan
1213 Cortelyou Rd., Ditmas Park, Brooklyn; 718-856-8888
Named after Jacques Cortelyou’s first map of Manhattan, this beguiling wine haven fits right in along Ditmas Park’s burgeoning restaurant row. A glass façade welcomes visitors into a spacious room seeped in historic details, including an oak wall made from a 150-year-old Missouri barn and a rewired floodlight taken from a Navy aircraft carrier. If you can find a seat at the bar, ask the bartender (who very well may be one of the owners) for recommendations from the wine list, a mammoth document featuring 110 selections from small producers in Morocco, Croatia, Lebanon, and more.
249 Fourth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-399-0099
The brothers behind the sterling Cobble Hill beer bar Great Harry are part of the team that turned a former auto shop into this concrete courtyard for craft-beer loyalists. Named for California’s oldest standing Catholic outpost, Mission Dolores is partitioned into a central, open-air space and a glass-roofed, greenhouse-style interior, each boasting a simple, utilitarian aesthetic. The entertainment is plentiful, with two pinball machines and all your favorite classic board games on hand. Allergy sufferers beware, animal lovers rejoice: Dogs are welcome.
80 W. 3rd St., nr. Thompson St.; 212-677-2290
Manhattan’s only real beer hall was created by the developers of Chelsea’s Stout and the nearby Half Pint, and fills the former home of a two-level barrel factory and furniture warehouse. The basement space hosts the extensive draft line and the rowdier bro-fests, while the upstairs area has larger flat-screens, more floor room, and a dining area where one can sample stuffed burgers, flatbread pizza, and a variety of sandwiches and salads. An extensive, 100-strong beer menu can’t be denied: Upstate double whites, frizzy fruit beers, and rare lambic ales brewed by Belgian Trappist monks all make an appearance … albeit in bottle form.
12 E. 36th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-213-0093
Formerly Under the Volcano, the Archive boasts a subdued, refreshingly simple interior with muted walls, bare tree limbs, a few strands of Christmas lights, some black-and-white photos, and a few staid knickknacks tucked away on the shelves. More notable for this Murray Hill establishment: not a single Knicks mug, sweaty Islanders mitt, neon tube, or flat-screen.
97 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn; 718-488-0048
Jason Furlani, the man who molded the Brooklyn Inn into Boerum Hill’s favorite neighborhood bar, has opened another beer tavern on the semi-desolate western stretch of Atlantic Avenue past Smith and Court Streets. The Roebling Inn is different from both its sister bar, whose style it emulates, and Magnetic Fields, whose former space it occupies. Gone is the dark, brooding interior, as the new occupants tore out the front wall and replaced it with a giant window façade. They also added three components unheard of in the Brooklyn Inn: televisions, dartboards, and snacks.
6 St. Marks Pl., nr. Third Ave.; 212-228-6250
Located on the top floor of the building that once housed Kim’s Video (R.I.P.), U2 Karaoke offers a basic selection of beer, wine, sake, and soju. And, of course, tunes: Private booths with comfy couches are sized for small groups and cost $8 per person per hour, each with a console straight off the Starship Enterprise (Abrams, not Shatner), providing access to a catalogue tens of thousands of songs deep, as well as an HDTV for razor-sharp lyrical coaching. What does all this have to do with a certain multiplatinum rock band from Ireland? Blessedly, nothing at all.