The Best Craft Cocktail Bars in Brooklyn

Rarely in Brooklyn will you find the speakeasy-style bar or cagey doorman that came to define an era of Manhattan cocktail bars. Brooklyn took its sweet time developing its own scene (and, in turn, missed the moment for such posturing), which has recently come to fruition with a smattering of characteristically weird, wonderful and eccentric bars. From the airy, Brooklyn-meets-colonial-Caribbean vibe of Donna to the leathered, 19th-century gentleman’s club channeled by Clover Club, this is a list of some of the best places to have a mixed drink east of Manhattan. (Note: Some of Brooklyn’s best cocktails also live in restaurants. Head to The Best Restaurant Bars in Brooklyn list to find another world that combines exceptional food and drink.)

  • 1

    Grand Army

    With the likes of Daniel Kreiger, Noah Bernamoff  and Damon Boelte working their magic together, Grand Army was predestined to be on this list. The beautiful surroundings, excellent raw bar, cocktails and concise, smart wine list don't hurt either.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • oysters / raw bar
    • good wine
  • 2

    Leyenda

    Julie Reiner, of Clover Club, joins forces with bartender Ivy Mix for this Latin-inspired new kid on the block. Just up the street from Clover Club, Leyenda's menu is heavy on the spirits of Central and South America (tequila, mezcal, rum and pisco are common players) alongside a similarly Latin-inflected menu by Suenos chef Sue Torres.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • lots of mezcal / tequila
    • bar food
    • outdoor / patio
  • 3

    Ba'sik

    In a move to shed the usual trappings of the cocktail bar and all its accoutrements, Ba'sik is a pretty—not precious—bar that could be today's version of Cheers minus Sam Malone and plus Jay Zimmerman and Derrek Vernon. The two have managed to become Graham Avenue's de-facto cocktail and neighborhood bar with a handful of drinks (they know all the classics too) and simple bar snacks. Oddly, a television hangs in the corner, but when it comes on for Mets games and the neighbors flood in, all becomes clear.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • outdoor / patio
  • 4

    Clover Club

    Arguably Brooklyn's first proper cocktail bar, Clover Club has come to be more a beloved local that happens to make some of the best cocktails in New York. A massive dark wooden bar, cozy back room fireplace and ragtime music telegraph another era, but the drinks—though classic—are entirely modern in their no-nonsense variations. One of Clover Club's great strengths is its reliable stable of bartenders, each of whom has a hand in creating the editorialized seasonal cocktail menu from spring spritzes to winter whiskey-heavy formulas. The rare bar with equally solid food, Clover Club's macaroni and cheese, oysters and ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • live music
  • 5

    Donna

    A beautiful whitewashed space designed by Brooklyn duo the Haslegraves, Donna is one of the sweetest cocktail bars in all of New York. Aside from the warm staff who can nerd out equally as hard about cocktails as they can about music, the bar's drinks are inventive with the slightest touch of tiki-tropical running throughout the entire menu.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • singles scene
    • tiki
  • 6

    Dutch Kills

    True, Dutch Kills is not in Brooklyn (fear not, there is an Outer Boroughs list forthcoming), but it's not far, and it's one of New York City's best cocktail bars. This is Richard Boccato's modern day saloon outfitted with bartenders that can handle a crowd with gruff endearment, but also create some of the most delicately garnished drinks this side of the East River. The owner of the late tiki den PKNY, Boccato has carried on that tropical touch—despite the fact that space could have been transported from 1930's Manhattan—transplanting the flamboyant tiki spirit in drinks like the Suffering Bastard, as well as ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
  • 7

    Maison Premiere

    Equal parts Belle Epoque Paris, old French Quarter New Orleans and modern-day Brooklyn, Maison Premiere is a stage of precise service and misty nostalgia that inspires suspension of disbelief without exposing a seam. The cocktail list is comprehensive, encompassing a section dedicated to the house spirit—absinthe—a julep selection, seasonal drinks and a well-curated wine list that is heavy on traditional French wines at very fair markups, including a particularly impressive collection of grower Champagne, back-vintage Muscadet and White Burgundy. Maison's oyster menu is one of New York's most extensive and composed ...

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    KNOWN FOR

    • champagne
    • natural wine
    • craft cocktails
    • full menu
    • oysters / raw bar
    • outdoor / patio
  • 8

    The Long Island Bar

    Housed in an old silver-sided diner on Atlantic Avenue, The Long Island bar is Toby Cecchini's old-fashioned love letter to Brooklyn and all its bygone beauty. Ever the boyish intellectual, Cecchini—who bartended at The Odeon in the days of Madonna, and created the Cosmopolitan—kept the restaurant and bar just the way he found it, name and all. Classic cocktails come in wide, swirling coupes and plenty of endearing attitude (all the bartenders are equal parts surly and sweet), and come football season, the back room television whirs with Packers Pride (Cecchini's from Wisconsin).

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • bar food
    • good wine
  • 9

    Tooker Alley

    Tooker Alley's Del Pedro has been bartending in New York since the 1980s, including a decade-long tenure at Pegu Club. This Prospect Heights bar is a low-key neighborhood joint to call his own, and many evenings you'll find him behind the bar making Old-Fashioneds and more avant-garde cocktails served in vintage glassware and garnished more daintily than you'd expect from the bar down the street.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • live music
  • 10

    Weather Up

    Weather Up, a Prospect Heights pioneer, is all shiny white subway tile flashing with the reflection of golden box lamps above. Always cozy with a solid roster of classic cocktails, the bar is the original outpost of a trifecta (whose other parts are located in Austin and Manhattan) and now the big brother to a crop of establishments on this up-and-coming corner of Vanderbilt Avenue.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • craft cocktails
    • outdoor / patio
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