Spike Hill has the very convenient location of being literally steps from the Bedfor Avenue subway station, thus making it that much less terrifying to Manhattan-ites. The windows open up to look out onto Bedford Avenue, so you can literally wave to those coming out of the subway. It also has every beer and whiskey that you've ever heard of, and many you've never heard of. The wall is lined with exotic beer bottles from foreign countires, all of which the knowledgeable bartenders will explain to you. They do whiskey by the flight around here, 5 shots of whiskey categorized by price or by region, and all named after flight classes (coach, business, luxury). They also have food (excellent) and snug little booths to slip into if you're looking for privacy from the local neighborhood crowds. The only negative I could give it is that it's a little crowded on weekends, and the bar's pretty narrow. Oh, and did I mention brunch, with a free pint of Guiness?
PROS: great selection, weekend brunch, knowledgeable bartenders
CONS: crowded on weekends
Famed as much for its large black pool at its entrance (what's hidden in there?), as it is for being in Williamsburg as long as the original cool kids, Galapagos gives off the vibe of being just that cool, and then some. Past the dark pool, there's yards of fabric hanging down, a stage that hosts bands or a weekly burlesque show, DJs spinning, patrons drinking, and occasionally go-go dancers on the bar. It's also been used as an art space and a spoken word performance venue. The drinks are actually decently priced. One can't help but think if this bar had been on the other side of the river, the prices would double. It's not exactly a laid-back sort of place, but it will always be an interesting night. And just think, someday you might be there when somebody finally goes splashing into the mysterious black pool and finds out exactly how deep it is.
Sea has acheived a love-it-or-hate-it status amongst Brooklyn-ites. Those who see the over the top decor, complete with Buddha statue, pond with lillies, and 70's bubble chairs, think it's trying to cater to the Manhattan crowd by being too 'cool,' while it's food is only ok. I disagree. The place is loud and the minimalist wooden chairs aren't the most comfortable, but the food is cheap. And not-so-bad. Superior, I think, to that other Williamsburg haunt, Planet Thai. The noodle dishes are ridiculously cheap given the size, and the drinks (I recommend the ginger martini) are just inventive enough to go with this crazy place. Make sure to use the bathroom while there, to see the video monitors in each stall showing views of the restaurant. Because it's loud, it's not a good date place, but for groups, it's excellent. Reservations are always a good idea here.
PROS: good food, good prices
CONS: uncomfortable seats, can get loud
This mid-range restaurant right off of the Lorimer stop on the L is easy to pass by, and the restaurant likes it that way. They don't take reservations, and they don't put too much into their outside appearence, saving it all for the inside. The food is delicious. I myself had the grilled hanger steak ($15), cooked to perfection. Their signature meal, however, is the DuMac and Cheese ($9). Fresh cheese and pasta make this much better than your average Kraft meal. Their waitstaff is friendly and the wine list is excellent. They can get a little busy on the weekends, but they will serve you dinner at the bar if all the tables are full. A back patio is hidden down a winding corridor, which makes for a great romantic atmosphere.
PROS: great food, good prices
CONS: don't take reservations
Yes, it's true, they do actually serve you a whole pizza with every drink you order. Not a slice, a personal pizza. They also have karaoke on Thursdays, Comedy on Tuesdays, and a back room complete with 2 tiki huts, one for a large group, one for a more intimate setting. It's a little hipster-heavy, but the relaxed atmosphere, great artwork (some done by the bartenders), video games, pool table, and decent jukebox selections more than makes up for any trucker hats or 80's legwarmers you might find there. Oh, and did I mention the pizza? It's free, every night from 6PM-2AM with every drink purchased. Yes, you can get toppings on it if you like.
PROS: cheap drinks, free pizza, great atmosphere
CONS: huge hipster hangout
Remember Space Invaders? Frogger? Super Mario Brothers? Ms. Pac-Man? They're all here, and so many more. This hole in the wall bar in Williamsburg is lined with old arcade games from the 70's and 80's. Everything from Tetris to Race Car driving games (can't remember the name) is here, as well as a pool table, for good measure. Better yet, each game is only a quarter. So bring your laundry money down and put it to good use. The bar has a wide variety of beers, many of which are made locally and you've probably never heard of before (Hair-of-the-Dog Fred is one). The atmosphere is relaxed and there's a front patio for smoking. The only problem is it gets pretty crowded on the weekends, so come mid-week if you can, because otherwise the line for Ms. Pac-Man can get 3 deep.
PROS: arcade games and good, cheap beer
CONS: can get really crowded on weekends
This tiny little bar is very easy to miss, there's barely a sign outside for it. The decor is very furniture-I-found-on-the-street-chic, and the staff is laid back and friendly. The beer, however, takes a bit of a guide to figure out. It will be tough to find a brew here below $7, as most of the beers are specialty brews from tiny brewerys around the globe. Interesting, and fun to try out new stuff, but always ask before you purchase, lest you find youself purchasing a $20 glass of French ale, like a friend of mine did accidentally. Unfortunately, those prices are quite common, so it's not really good for kicking back with a friend over drinks. More like a special occasion place, or to take your rich friends when they offer to buy you a drink. Oh yeah, and they also serve cheese plates. Good, but again, remember to fatten the wallet before you go.
PROS: friendly atmosphere, good selection of exotic beer
CONS: expensive drinks
Le Souk is one of those supposedly 'cool' places, where you get hassled by the doorman even if you have a reservation, and where squeezing by 200 trendy young 20-somethings to get to a tiny table is considered a good place to eat. The decor, I will admit, is fabulous, resembling a Middle Eastern casbah. The food is decent, though given the prices I would have been pissed off if it were anything less. The waitresses were impatient and bitchy, and required us all (10 people) to order at least $30 worth of food, or else we couldn't stay at the table. Once we left for the dance floor downstairs, foreboding security guards gave us nasty looks while more bitchy waiters yelled at us that we couldn't even get close to the chair unless we ordered bottle service (easily $100 or more). We got out of there as quickly as possible, and I sincerely hope never to return.
PROS: good decor
CONS: Nasty staff, overpriced, vapid clientele
Great car service serving the North Brooklyn/Bushwick area. Cars always come in less than 10 minutes, no matter the time of day, and drivers always know where they're going. Prices are decent, compared to other services.
There's so much stuff. Endless rooms and rooms of home furniture and decorations that you never knew even existed. All really cheap, and enough stuff to decorate your entire home. It's excellent
PROS: All the knick-knacks you could ever want, and more
CONS: hard to find some things