When the weather gets warm, finding a bar in Manhattan where you can drink outside is next to impossible. The few places that are suitable for outside libations are always too crowded. Thankfully, North Brooklyn has you covered. From Freehold’s grassy courtyard in South Williamsburg, to the impressive skyline vistas at Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Barge Bar, North Brooklyn is packed with options.
45 South 3rd Street, South Williamsburg
We Say: Freehold’s conceit is that they are a hotel bar, without the hotel. This multipurpose space has a restaurant, a coffeehouse and, best of all, an over-sized courtyard with comfortable seating, ping pong, and views of the Williamsburg bridge. The slushy drinks and a chilled-out California vibe are fantastic, though it tends to attract the fedora and man-bun crowd you see in bad Millennial stock photos. Still, this can make for some interesting people-watching. Try it on a weekday if you’re seeking a more mellow scene.
Featured Review; Brooklyn Based: The day-to-night hang spot on S. 3rd and Wythe is a hybrid between a members-only club like SoHo House and the lobby of a boutique hotel, like the Ace, but it lacks the exclusivity (or membership fee) of the former and the tourists of the latter.
180 Grand Street, South Williamsburg
We Say: A Scottish pub on Williamsburg’s southside that is one of our favorite places to drink in Williamsburg during the summer, or anytime for that matter. Iona opened in 2001 and has weathered the neighborhood’s changes and gentrification without ever slipping into trendiness or pretension. It has a great neighborhood vibe and in the warmer months a spacious backyard with BBQ and free ping-pong. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon drinking an icy London Pride, Spicy Cucumber Margarita, or a Michelada.
Featured Review; Time Out: At this Irish pub, the garden is the main summer attraction, offering weekend barbecues, table tennis and benches for moonlit cuddles.
667 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg
We Say: Night of Joy has a sizable deck with a view of Manhattan in one direction and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway overpass in the other. We especially like this place at night, when watching the car headlights from the BQE dash by lend the spot a moody, industrial ambiance. Be sure to order one of their fresh lime, frozen margaritas in assorted flavors.
Featured Review, Time Out: Well-priced, simple cocktails—like a citrusy orange-blossom lemonade with rum—feature herbs and house-infused spirits, but they’re too weak to pack a punch. While the ground-floor bar also stocks beers (including Sixpoint and Kronenbourg) and organic French wines, the real draw is upstairs—scale the steps in the back to find a roof deck with a frozen-margarita station.
80 Wythe Avenue, The Wythe Hotel, Williamsburg
We say: Glorious panoramic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn that are among the best in all of New York. The crowd generally consists of out-of-towners trying to look “Brooklyn,” but the patio, six stories high, will make up for the touristy feel of the place. Highly recommended. Note: sometimes there is a line to get in, but we’ve never waited more than 20 minutes.
Featured Review, New York: An indoor and outdoor space on the sixth floor of Williamsburg’s new pride and joy, run by Andrew Tarlow, the restaurateur also of the downstairs restaurant Reynard. Have a seat at the bar or on one of the indoor red banquettes, or take it out to the terrace, with views of Manhattan that you could only see if you were not actually in the borough.
We Say: A quiet, hidden gem on Grand Street, perfect for having a fancy cocktail and a small plate. The garden is small with a handful of wooden benches and ivy strewn walls. It’s a great place to take a date, if you don’t mind the occasional scurrying of cats in the alley behind the courtyard.
Featured Review, Zagat: “Upscale but not stuffy” vibes draw a “good-looking but not snooty crowd” to this East Williamsburg watering hole where “delicious” drinks fashioned with “attention to detail” justify the “not-cheap” outlay; between a bar that “can seat a small army” and a “clutch” rear patio, you won’t “suffer from small-space syndrome.”
111 North 12th Street, The William Vale Hotel, Williamsburg
We say: Ascend to the top floor of the William Vale building in Williamsburg and you will be treated to a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. The view from their spacious wrap-around terrace is unparalleled in all of Brooklyn, and that’s a good thing, since the staff is generally rude and unaccommodating. Still, that view! Grab a seat outside and enjoy a small plate such as Butternut Squash Hummus or Shrimp Cocktail Dumplings. They have a burger available as well ($18) and assorted desserts if you have a sweet tooth. Reservations are recommended.
Featured Review, Gothamist: Up on the 22nd floor, Westlight, the bar, affords nearly 360 views out over Queens, Brooklyn and the east coast of Manhattan—even the elevator vestibule offers an incredible vista. Swinging by last Saturday, a small line had formed outside the hotel when the bar opened at 4 p.m.; be forewarned that the outside line leads to yet another line inside. The system’s a good one, though, as it means the bar’s not slammed all at once and really everything moves pretty quickly from line to line to seat…
709 Lorimer Street, Williamsburg
We say: Pete’s is a Williamsburg institution. During the warmer months, they have BBQ on Sundays in their garden, which always attracts a mix of locals. It’s a great place to spend a sunny day drinking Garden Martinis (Vodka, Dill, Cucumber, Agave, Lemon). Migrate inside as the night arrives and hear some free music.
Featured Review, Time Out: There’s free music in the Pullman-car-shaped performance space, with acts on the cusp of wider recognition appearing nightly. When the weather warms, the backyard opens to stargazers.
359 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
We say: A spacious garden with lawn chairs and a wall covered in ivy that never seems to get too crowded. Spuyten Duyvil is a favorite for craft beer lovers and has one of the larger selections in the neighborhood. They have great wine too, if beer seems too heavy for a hot summer day. Cheese and meat boards are available if you’re feeling peckish, with artisanal cheese from the Bedford Cheese Shop. The only downside is that drinks are on the expensive side.
Featured Review, NYC Beer Guide: Spuyten Duyvil is a smart, cozy bar which first opened September 2003; there are six ever-changing taps and a cask-conditioned beer engine, all pouring microbrews and unusual imports, and a truly amazing selection of bottled beers from around the world. Belgium alone has a large blackboard listing the range available from that country – and even divided into the two language regions. The available taps are deliberately kept to a limited number to ensure freshness and frequent changes… There is a good-sized beer garden, torch-lit after dark. Food is limited to cheese (yum yum!!!) and pate/meat boards.
4 Berry Street, Williamsburg
We say: The view is hard to beat, especially at dusk when you can see the sunset framed by the New York skyline. On the downside, the food is only serviceable and, worse, Berry Park tends to attract bros and people from Jersey. That said, they’ve got that damn view that keeps us coming back. Note: Berry Park’s ground floor is a sports bar, so stay away when there’s a big game on, unless that’s your thing.
Featured Review, Time Out: Williamsburg welcomes its latest beer hall, a bi-level behemoth with a 3,500-square-foot ground floor and a roof deck almost as large. Brooklyn boosters may be disappointed to find that the 15 taps are dedicated to imports (mostly German and Belgian drafts). Other amenities that might make up for it: a 13-foot-wide screen dedicated to soccer, Manhattan (and McCarren Park) views and a forthcoming beer-friendly food menu.
484 Union Ave, Williamsburg Brooklyn
We say: Like Berry Park, the crowd can be a little taxing at times (annoying hipsters looking to hook up) but the festive vibe and a great backyard with a strangely enchanting view of the, um, BQE makes up for any discomforts. Plus there’s a taco truck and a fire pit, so it’s hard to not have a great time. Check their calendar for live music in the courtyard on weekends.
Featured Review, The Infatuation: Union Pool is an OG Williamsburg meeting-people party. It has three distinct spaces, with three distinct vibes – so whether you’re looking to hang in the bar area, have tacos in the outdoor area, or get down in the dance area – you have lots of opportunities to mix it up. Everyone is generally always having a good time at Union Pool, and you probably will too.
48 South 4th Street, South Williamsburg
We say: Fairly removed from the Bedford L train station — it’s a 10 minute walk — The Woods is never too crowded. They have a large outdoor courtyard, and sell Tiki cocktails, burgers, and sandwiches too. The courtyard is a bit shady and there’s no view per se, but when the sun peaks through it’s still a pleasant spot for some outdoor libations.
Featured Review, Thrillist: After years of running a rickety taco truck out of its crowded back patio, The Woods in Williamsburg changed the game with a backyard bar that’s slinging island-themed cocktails as well as eats from an actual kitchen operated by Landhaus (we suggest the Maple Bacon Stick, which is famous in its own right). Rotating DJs and live music round out the rest of the weekly night scene, and continuously pique the interest of the young Brooklynite scene.
We say: A comfortable beer garden with Caribbean food (Jerk Chicken Sandwiches, Tacos, Pulled Pork Tortas) and a wide-ranging drink menu. Battery Harris has fourteen beers on tap and a handful of frozen drinks that taste great in the heat of summer. We recommend their frozen Dark and Stormy. The spot is great for groups, has an outside bar, and about a dozen large picnic tables for communal boozing.
Featured Review, New York: Though located in Williamsburg, Battery Harris takes its name from the World War I–era bunkers on Fort Tilden in the Rockaways. The beachy décor covers the impressive outdoor seating area, with canopies, beach chairs, and picnic tables to boot. The Caribbean-inspired food menu is small but spicy—jerk spices are cooked into many of dishes.
3 Milton Street, Greenpoint – Brooklyn, NY 11222
We Say: Simply amazing views of the New York skyline inches away from Transmitter Park. The food is unremarkable, but will do the trick if you’re starving. Come instead for the view and the drinks – slushy cocktails and close to a dozen drafts are available – and you will be delighted. Brooklyn Barge Bar is open May through October and is a fantastic spot to take a group or that buddy visiting from out of town.
Featured Review Gothamist: The Barge offers some pretty enticing vistas of Manhattan and the East River. The menu appears to have gotten a bit of a refresh, with Grilled Fish Tacos and loaded Tugboat Fries with pulled pork, cheese and jalapenos. While there’s plenty of booze—10 different tap beers, a tasty-sounding Rum Punch with spiced rum and fruit juice, among other imbibables—the operation has always made a big deal out of its programming leg, which includes free kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding lessons, sailing lessons and catch-and-release fishing.
12 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (b/t Meserole Ave & Quay Street / Greenpoint)
We say: A huge Aussie rooftop bar with kebobs and Aussie beers including Foster’s and Coopers. The views of Manhattan are pretty great and this is one of our favorite spots to watch the sunset, especially on off-nights when it’s not too overrun. Swing by Greenpoint Beer & Ale next door should the roof get too crowded – they have patio seating which is almost as pleasant.
Featured Review, Zagat: [An] Aussie-Euro arrival close to the water in Greenpoint offering a reasonably priced menu of pub grub, including meat pies, fish ‘n’ chips and schnitzel. The handsomely rustic digs include a large, comfy bar serving creative cocktails and a rooftop with Manhattan views that should help entice diners to make the schlep from the subway.
224 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
We say: An enormous courtyard with over a dozen communal picnic tables and cheap grilled burgers and hotdogs on the weekends. When they’re not serving food, they let you bring your own grub or order a pizza. What T.B.D. lacks in personality, it makes up for in size. It’s the perfect spot for large groups when you don’t want to deal with a crowd.
Featured Review, Serious Eats: With rows of heavy wooden picnic tables and a full outdoor barbecue setup that includes a grill and smoker, Greenpoint’s t.b.d. is Destination Summer. Easily accessible by East River Ferry or a short bike ride from the Williamsburg Bridge, the expansive bar and beer garden boasts the “biggest, baddest backyard in Brooklyn.”
33 Nassau Ave, Greenpoint
We say: A German style beer hall with a handful of picnic tables outside. The over-sized, warehouse-style windows make the space feel airy, even if you’re seated inside. Unlike Radegast Beer Hall, which has mainly German and Czech beers, Spritzenhaus serves a wider selection including many American IPAs. Spritzenhaus is especially popular with families on sunny weekend afternoons. Tasty fries, pretzels, and sausages are available if you need a base for day drinking.
Featured Review, The Infatuation: A beer garden in Williamsburg across from McCarren Park, and it’s a good alternative to Radegast. It’s a little less crazy over here, and there’s a lot of space for big groups. In the summer there’s a lot of outdoor seating, and in the winter you can sit inside near a fireplace.
We say: A quirky local’s bar named for Diamond Dave (David Lee Roth of Van Halen) with a cozy garden, a shuffleboard table, an eye-catching Michael Landing painting, and a ski gondola booth in their courtyard. Capitalizing on their popularity during the summer, The Diamond’s menu always has a few lower alcohol Session IPAs or Sours so you won’t be hammered by 3pm, should you opt for some daytime drinking in their garden. Unfortunately, this is a beer and wine only joint, so if you’re looking for something stronger you’re out of luck. Check their calendar for food pop-ups and special events.
Featured Review, New Yorker: Tucked away in Greenpoint, a couple of blocks from the East River, is the Diamond, which curates its calendar as carefully as its beer list. The mix of high-end brews on tap includes Brooklyn’s ubiquitous I.P.A.s, a tangy Trappist pint, and a dry, malty Pilsner. It’s a neighborhood joint, with a curved mahogany bar and a shuffleboard table, complete with an abacus to tally scores, open to ironic, boozy competition.
78 Greenpoint Ave., Greenpoint
We say: The best spot to sample craft beer in Greenpoint. They have over 150 bottles available and 19 ever-changing taps of craft beer. The outdoor courtyard is small, but we always meet nice people there with whom to share a table and a pint. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly too. In fact, we love this place so forget we told you about it.
Featured Review, Thrillist: Brouwerij Lane peddles 400+ hard-to-find beer brands, all brought together by a 20+ year Brooklyn Brewery vet. It’s a reliable place to buy interesting bottles for enjoying at home, but also an inviting space
226 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
We say: Old Stanley’s is self-consciously trying to be the type of working class bar your old man would frequent in the Seventies. Despite the conceit, or perhaps because of it, we love this bar. And what makes Old Stanley’s even better is their great backyard. Cool down with a draft in a frosty mug or try a slushy Irish Coffee named for the actor who played Kojak: The Ethel O’ Connell. They also have pretzels and hot dogs available on the cheap and a solid happy hour. What else do you need?
Featured Review, New York: The cash-only, neo-dive trades in hand-stirred cocktails for a good enough beer selection, old-school decor, and surprisingly good frozen pina coladas.
1037 Flushing Ave., Bushwick
We say: The Narrows is a posh, and occasionally crowded, Bushwick bar specializing in well-made cocktails. The patio is cozy, with Christmas lights, ivy, and lawn furniture that looks like it came from your old backyard in the ‘burbs, giving it the familiarity of home. Plus, they have oysters everyday until 7pm for a buck! Even if you don’t live in Bushwick, The Narrows will make it worth the trip.
Featured Review, New York: Hidden behind an unassuming Flushing Avenue storefront, the Deco’d interior recalls the corporate high rises of midtown pre-Mad Men: bathroom doors pose as elevators; a menu hangs framed like a lobby directory; mood lighting streams from mid-century pendant lamps. Outside, the wood-plank benches on the spacious backyard deck offer a blue-sky view.
970 Flushing Avenue, Bushwick /East Williamsburg
We say: Though its garden overlooks the traffic-filled thoroughfare of Flushing Ave, Forrest Point still manages to deliver serenity in their plant-filled patio. They serve a full, eclectic menu with everything from Chips and Guac to Shawarma-Style Chicken Salad and have a solid cocktail list. It tends to attract an “I moved to Bushwick three weeks ago” crowd, which can either be entertaining or really annoying, depending on your perspective. When it’s busy during brunch or dinner, you may get the stink-eye for taking up a table if you’re just drinking, but that’s an easy cover charge for a comfortable seat in the sun.
Featured Review, The Infatuation: An indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant with solid cocktails and a big, random menu (tuna tartare tacos, burgers, quinoa salad, pot pie) that we’re not mad about. Like all good Bushwick spots, the atmosphere is industrial yet homey, and feels like the kind of place where you can just sit and hang for a while.
425 Troutman Street, Bushwick
We say: A gastropub on the Jefferson L train stop in Bushwick with a nice courtyard out front and horseshoe-shaped bar inside. Grab a seat at one of their tables (some have umbrellas for shade) and try a fancy cocktails or a pint of Belhaven Scottish Ale. The vibe here is always relaxed and it’s a nice space to casually pass the time with friends. They have good “British and West Indian inspired” pub fare if you want a bite, including Fish ‘n Chips and an Oxtail Sloppy Joe.
Featured Review, Thrillist: Offering tasty pub grub, craft ‘tails, an extensive wine list, and a large array of draught and bottled beer, you can’t go wrong when it comes to The Rookery and their beautiful garden.
369 Troutman Street, between Wyckoff and Irving; Bushwick
We say: The iconic Lower East Side dive bar, Welcome to the Johnson’s, comes to Bushwick, but with less b.o. and a cleaner toilet than the original. The bar — which is way too tidy to feel like a dive — has a large, dog-friendly courtyard out front for boozing. The main attraction here are the $2 cans of Lion’s Head – a bargain that’s hard to beat.
Featured Review, New Yorker: Out front, there’s an Astroturf yard with plenty of chill lounging spots, for dogs and for humans, including hanging wicker egg-chairs. The inside has the look of a retro IHOP crossed with your great-uncle’s finished-basement rec room: tasteful sixties wall hangings, cheap wood panelling, a pool table, and many shades of taupe. The real draws are two-dollar cans of Lionshead Pilsner and a sort of lime-in-the-coconut-cure slushy called the Painkiller, which is four dollars during the day and will certainly postpone pain, if not eliminate it.
222 Bushwick Avenue, Bushwick / East Williamsburg
We say: The Montrose stop has few places to choose from, but that’s okay because Tradesman is really all you need. They have a solid selection of draft beers, craft cocktails, and a 2,500 square foot patio that has a great neighborhood vibe. Plus, with the exception of Saturday, their Happy Hour runs until 9pm with $4 Drafts, $6 Specialty Cocktails and $5 Well Drinks.
Featured Review, Brooklyn Magazine: Earthy, artisanal tones are the signature decorating inspiration in this carefully appointed space for happy hour cocktails and weekend brunch on Bushwick Avenue. The 2,500 square foot patio is a welcome reprieve from the pace of the neighborhood when it heats up but the seasonal cocktail menu and cozy, candle and lamp-lit interior keep patrons warm all winter too.
211 Knickerbocker Ave, Bushwick
We say: Three Diamond Door is a neo-dive in Bushwick from some of the same fine people behind Lady Jay’s, Oak and Iron, and Pearl’s Social Club. They have a dozen draft beers, Prosecco on tap, and a backyard with ample seating. If you’re in the neighborhood, make this your day-drinking destination.
Featured Review, Gothamist: Beautifully designed and decorated. A long wooden bar extends to nearly the full length of the interior, with ample counter space for stool-seating, along with a few smaller booths along the opposite wall. There are delicate touches of old-school elegance here, like 1950s-style hanging lights, a jukebox and a vintage cigarette vending machine that’s been refurbished as a water cooler.