Neighborhood Beer Guide: Williamsburg
Now that outdoor dining is a permanent thing in New York City, we’re really embracing what a true wonderland for eating and imbibing the city is. Bars and restaurants have never needed support from patrons more (thoughtfully and safely, please--wear a mask, be nice, tip big!) and for many of us with quarantine cabin fever, it’s never felt more invigorating to be able to take a stroll to a bar or two and remember everything we love about this little old town. For those reasons, we decided to put together a round-up of a few of our favorite spots in one of our favorite neighborhoods, Williamsburg. In case you forgot, we’re pretty sweet on beer around here, so these destinations are where you can have the most fun drinking the best brews.
If you know, you know. The Levee is a neighborhood staple. It was cool before most of us knew what cool is. It’s the bar that all your friends who have lived in Brooklyn longer than you tell you epic stories about, because they’ve been regulars since you were in diapers, or something like that. The Levee is Williamsburg. It’s rock and roll, baby. Pretentious types can see themselves out. This is not the bar simulating Williamsburg’s pre-hipster attitude, this is the bar everyone else is copying.
All of this is to say we’re super glad that The Levee is keeping the party going socially-distanced style with outdoor seating, and a guide to Williamsburg beer-hopping would not be complete without advising a stop here. You might miss the pool tables but hey, just being there is a reminder to keep hopes alive for those kinds of nights in the future. For now, order off of the kind of beer list that got so many craft beer nerds into better-than-Bud-Light brews in the first place, with everything from American classics to German traditions. And of course, eat all the cheese puffs.
212 Berry Street. Check Instagram for hours and updates.
An advantage of all this outdoor seating is that you can bring your best bud a lot more places, but Lucky Dog was doing that first. Another OG Williamsburg haven of poser-free cool, Lucky Dog is a chill spot with edge that locals have long loved because of its Fido friendliness. With mingling doggos and plenty of opportunities to scratch a few noggins and shake a few paws, the backyard of Lucky Dog is basically heaven.
That would honestly be enough of a sell for any bar visit, but Lucky Dog doesn’t stop there. The beer list is perpetually solid. They’ve even got a rotating cask option. You’ll find Belgian and German treasures and local go-to’s, in every style for every taste.
303 Bedford Avenue. Check Instagram for hours and updates.
Take all the wonderful things about a pub that make it a community institution and elevate them with just a hint of Brooklyn chic. The Craic is welcoming, laid-back, and just plain fun, and it’s even got some style to boot. We recommend the good old fashioned bar grub made exceptionally well, from nachos and wings to quesadillas and flatbreads.
The beer list is nicely curated to feature staples like Guinness alongside special craft brews. Over the summer, The Craic started pouring Virginia Beer Co., so this pub has definitely become our go-to for enjoying some VBC.
If it’s a feast you want, it’s Fette Sau you head to. Since 2007, this spot has garnered a cult following for mouthwatering barbecue that’s a true taste of the South in Brooklyn. People line up for ribs, pulled pork, chicken wings, spicy sausage, and burnt end baked beans, to name a few menu stars. Who’s hungry?
To wash it all down, Fette Sau just so happens to have a killer beer list. You’ll find a variety of styles with an emphasis on local, so you can toast to a Brooklyn or upstate New York brewery. Fette Sau is doing indoor and limited indoor seating on a first come, first serve basis.
Barcade is fun at its purest, a way to feel like a kid again, except, you know, with beer. With a massive collection of old school video games and a rotating beer list full of local gems and exciting up-and-coming favorites, this is a guaranteed great afternoon hang. Excitingly, Barcade is now able to welcome limited amounts of patrons inside to hang and play games, or you can enjoy the brews with pals outside.
Beer Karma is a core member of both the beer community and the Williamsburg community. At this bottle shop, you can count on scoring whatever your favorite might be, or on discovering a new favorite. They have a smartly curated inventory of everything from new Brooklyn-brewed releases to iconic Belgian rarities. Keep an eye out for TapRm faves like SingleCut, Finback, Fifth Hammer, Non Sequitur, Jack’s Abby, Oxbow, and Transmitter. Plus, they can answer any of your beer questions, and they offer fun ways to stay active and engaged, like a running club and virtual workouts. Check their Instagram before visiting for hours and to catch their outdoor seating, so you can sit and enjoy a brew or two.
Grimm Artisanal Ales
Grimm just exudes this effortless cool factor. Its space is lighter and airier than many other taprooms, its branding is art-forward, its staff is as hip as they are friendly and helpful--even its merch is chic in Grimm’s signature breezy, creative way. Sitting outside won’t mitigate the vibe at all, because it’s brewed into every detail.
Appropriately, the best part is of course the beer. Grimm’s versatility is impressive: the tap list is eclectic, and each different style is executed beautifully. It’s not every day you find a brewery where you can swoon over a dank, juicy, hazy double IPA; a subtly roasty, caramelly dark mild; or a bright, tart, funky, fruity kettle sour in the same sitting. Make sure you have room in your bag to buy beer to go--and if you don’t, Grimm has some sweet totes.
Interboro Spirits & Ales
Interboro just opened for indoor seating as per New York City’s 25% capacity regulations. They’re taking extra care to keep both staff and customers safe and strongly encourage reservations, which you can make here.
Interboro is intrinsically New York, from its fun attitude to its quest for creativity to its spot-on quality every time. Like Grimm, this brewery flexes its muscles in range. They don’t just brew beer here, they distill spirits, too--talk about one-stop shopping. There’s something for everyone here: crispy lagers, hop-bomb IPAs, fruity sours, and decadent stouts, plus convenient, delicious party-in-a-can, ready-to-drink cocktails like a hibiscus gin and tonic, a negroni spritzer, and a mai tai colada.942 Grand Street. Check website and Instagram for hours and updates.