536 Driggs Avenue
(between North 7th and North 8th)
Brooklyn NY, 11222
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Cards: Cash Only
Hours: Daily, 3pm-4am
Subway: L Train to Bedford Ave
Food/Menu: No food available
Booze: Full bar
Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 3pm-8pm; $1 off all drafts; 2-for-1 bottled beer and house drinks; $4 wine
Sun, 3pm-8pm; $3 Stella; $8 Guiness plus shot of Jameson
Sat, 3pm-8pm; 2-for-1 Yuengling and Budwiser
A non-touristy staple with small but solid tap selection (Guinness, Brooklyn Beers, etc.) and the friendliest bartenders in the neighborhood. Big Buck hunter is a plus if you’re into that. Mostly, we love The Abbey because it’s a dive that’s not trying too hard to be a dive.
Aside from the stained glass windows and wooden pews turned booths, it’s kind of hard to compare The Abbey to a church. The long, narrow room has been used as a bar since 1937, and it shows: everything seems to be coated in a thin film of beer, including the staff. And there’s nothing cloistered about the hard-drinking clientele—unless, of course, they’re all secretly novitiates of some boozy secret sect, one that worships pinball and free popcorn. Unlike more traditional religious orders, the Abbey attracts and welcomes devotees of all ages, races, genders and sexualities. The weeknight boy-crowd that used to hang out exclusively here now divides its allegiance between more recent additions to the gay scene, but thug-chic lesbians have picked up some of the slack. Sundays are still the gayest night to go.
City Search says:
Step in and you feel like you’ve entered a tunnel, with the wooden bar that runs 30 feet back, through a wall partition and into the spacious back room. As in a casino, it’s difficult to keep track of the time, with the only outside light coming from a small window up front, and numerous diversions including a TV (sometimes showing Japanese anime), two pinball machines, a pool table and jukebox. The Abbey has a solid selection of liquor and seven beers on tap, which are a buck off during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3pm to 8pm). The clientele ranges from edgy hipsters to Hasidic men and blue-collar townies, the latter of whom pile in Monday nights for the pool tournament. Be sure to visit the bathrooms, as they’re wallpapered with the visages of Leif Garrett and other teenybopper stars from the ’70s.
Village Voice says:
The red lights give the Abbey a goth feel, until you see the deer hunter game, throwing counter-culture out the window. When DJs occupy the booth, the music varies from Brit pop to rock, and the jukebox caters to those who peaked during the early ’90s while worshipping indie rock. The area around the pool table is often packed, so unless you arrive early, don’t even think about it.
NY Times says:
Seeking a cozy cloister on a chilly night? Take refuge in the monastic intimacy of The Abbey. Exposed brick and a red felt pool table exude warmth, while torch-like wall candles dripping big blobs of wax enhance the medieval feel. Spiffy local art adorns the walls of this space that has housed a bar since the 1930’s. Within, talkative, dressed-down 20-somethings cluster in booths, perch on stools, and circle the pinball machine. The DJ turntable is used only on special occasions, but the jukebox features a pleasingly eclectic mix. The Abbey had its inauspicious opening in October 1997, when some young toughs crashed it. But as the story goes, the local mob quickly (read bodily) fought back and The Abbey hasn’t looked back since.