SpotHopper is the first true local search engine built for bars, craft beer, wine, and cocktails. It not only answers the question of “where should I go out tonight?” in a way that gives meaninglful, personal recommendations, but it also helps you order great drinks you will love when you get there.
There’s nothing worse than a cookie cutter bar: flat screens everywhere, 4 corn-water taps, wings & burgers, old Irish man’s name over the front door. How many of the same exact bar are we supposed to go to over and over again? Where the hell is the character? We live in New York City, and with thousands of bars at our disposal we don’t have to stand for boring bars anymore. So skip the corner pub and check out these spots instead:
1. The Randolph at Broome - Nolita
At it’s core The Randolph is a punk rock cocktail bar. It’s divey, retro, young, drunk, hipster and yet with an extensive and unique craft cocktail list. If you’re sick of the snobby upscale cocktail scene, come here for a good drink minus the bullshit. There’s also a location in Williamsburg that’s equally as awesome.
2. Welcome to the Johnsons - LES
From the name, to the home made sign, to the sticky PBR stained plastic-covered grandma couches, walking into Welcome to the Johnsons recalls high school memories of drinking in your buddy’s parent’s basement. It’s one of the few bars where drinking a $3 Bud, like when you raided that basement fridge at age 17, just feels right.
I like to think that a true speakeasy isn’t about hiding a bar in the back of a Quiznos inside a mall inside a football arena. It’s about the atmosphere of the bar, and a throwback to the early 20th century bar scene. No bar perhaps encapsulates this old school vibe like ECC. From the blues band playing quietly in the corner, to the gorgeous dark wood bar, to the bartenders themselves, we’ve never felt more Don Draper.
4. The Bourgeois Pig - East Village
From the outside The Bourgeois Pig looks very gothic, but in the medieval architecture way not a punk rock and dragon tattoos way. Inside the bar looks like Antiques Roadshow meats a burlesque parlor, with red velvet light bathing the bizarre other-century furniture. Specializing in wine, come here on a Monday or Tuesday night for half-priced bottles.
5. The Cannibal Beer & Butcher - Murray Hill
Cannibal is a meat and beer haven where you’ll find things you could never find anywhere else in New York: Curried Lamb Belly (amazing), homemade sausages and charcuterie (very good) a whole pigs head (not so good) and an Italian Sour Blueberry Imperial Stout with Chili Pepper (weird as hell and totally awesome). The spot also features a great back patio.
6. The Commodore - Williamsburg
This dark retro diner also gives off the friend’s basement vibe. But unlike most dark dive bars, you’re actually going to eat here, famous for their fried chicken and a pretty good burger. Order a draft beer or a tiny but potent Old Fashioned to go with it.
6. Pete’s Candy Store - Williamsburg
If you haven’t noticed yet, weird names are a good sign. The highlight of this WBurg spot is the back room, where you’ll see some of the most hipster local musicians imaginable.
7. Union Pool - Williamsburg
The main bar looks like the diner from Pulp Fiction, the back patio is incredible and features a taco truck, and there’s a giant concert venue off the patio. When it comes to wildly popular weird hipster bars, UP is king.
8. Skinny Dennis - Williamsburg
You know how most “Southern” themed bars in New York are just BBQ places that New Yorkers flock to but true Southerners chuckle at in amusement. Well Skinny Dennis isn’t that bar. Skinny Dennis literally feels like you have walked out of Brooklyn, through a portal, and into a warm happy room of country music and drunk southerners in a small town somewhere outside Nashville. A great tap list doesn’t hurt either :)
9. Noorman’s Kil - Brooklyn
Grilled Cheese and Whiskey.. not really sure what else to say.
10. Bushwick Country Club - Williamsburg
If you’ve been following our blog posts you know all about this spot. If you don’t, it’s pretty simple really. Free cheese puffs + cheap beer + hispters + homemade mini-golf course with windmill made out of crushed PBR cans = BCC
*some pictures from Foursquare. Thanks bud! (ps we like the redesign)
The epic battle of friend groups: Brooklyn vs Manhattan. Each group insists that the other make the trip across our beloved, reliable L train at midnight on a Saturday night.
Well Brooklynites today we’re going to make an argument for your cause (and tomorrow an argument against it). Reality is, it’s worth making the trip out to Brooklyn on a beautiful summer night for these 10 sick bars:
1. Maison Premiere - Williamsburg
Our favorite thing about this bar is the decor. The colorful rustic Parisian bar is one of the best designed in New York, plus there’s a beautiful backyard patio. The cocktails are also killer, specializing in Absinthe drinks. It’s a chiller spot and therefor a great place to start out the night.
2. Dram - Williamsburg
In the world of great cocktails, Dram is kind of the Bizarro Maison Premiere. While MP is upscale, mostly sitting, retro and features an extensive drinklist, Dram is modern, more casual, social and standing, and offers a short but sweet list of 7 or so house cocktails. It really comes down to personal taste, but we promise you’ll have a killer drink either way, so might as well be like us and go to both :)
3. Torst - Greenpoint
It’s pretty simple. We’ve been to countless beer bars in Brooklyn, and in terms of a highly curated selection, this is the best one. You’ll find a handful of awesome Evil Twin beers on tap as the Brewer/Owner has a loose association with the bar. However we actually recommend you try one of the other beers Torst has on tap, as they usually carry rare kegs that come.. and just like that (Kevin Spacey blow into hand).. they’re gone.
4. Hops Hill - Clinton Hill
Ok remember how we said Torst had the best beer selection in Brooklyn? Well the brand new Hops Hill may be proving us wrong at that real soon. We wandered into this tiny corner beer bar last week and were shocked to see De Struise Cuvee Delphine on tap, one of 4 kegs in the country. Oh btw they had four bottles of Westy 12 just chilling in the back of the bar. $30. Anyone want ‘em?
5. Union Pool - Williamsburg
Arguably the most famous bar/venue/taco truck in Williamsburg, Union Pool, no matter what you think of it, is a bucket list bar. The retro diner decor at the main bar leads to a gorgeous backyard patio where you’ll find an outside bar and taco truck. Then make your way to the concert hall just off the patio entrance.
6. Brooklyn Social - Cobble Hill
In our professional opinion, this is the best bar on the planet. Words cannot explain its perfection. Ok maybe they can: $10 House Cocktails, a pool table, a backyard patio, lots of drunk fun Cobble Hill hipsters. Yeah that pretty much sums it up actually.
7. Clover Club - Cobble Hill
It’s one of the most critically acclaimed cocktail joints in New York, but the hidden gem? A killer happy hour: $7 (awesome) cocktails, $6 wine & $4 beer from 4-7pm.
8. Union Hall
This is maybe the most interesting bar in Brooklyn. First of all, it’s completely f$@cking massive. It’s more like an event space than a bar. Second, it has a downstairs concert venue. Third it has a patio. Fourth they make a mean burger. And finally, yes the rumors are true, they have bocce ball in the bar!
9. Hot Bird - Clinton Hill
Basically it’s Union Pool, chiller, without the concert space, but with better beer. Our favorite part about this bar however is the character. Bright neon painted patio walls and an awesome retro interior.. oh wait that’s just like Union Pool too. Ok it’s basically Union Pool, but that’s certainly not a bad thing.
10. Bushwick Country Club - Williamsburg
Realistically there are another 50 bars that could easily make this list. The Brooklyn bar scene is utterly amazing and absolutely worth a short (or long) train ride. But if we have to pick 10 bars that you simply must see in your life in New York, then BCC has to make the cut. This is hipster dive at its best: free cheese puffs, PBR everywhere, Beer + Shot, and yes oh my god yes.. a homemade mini-golf course with a windmill made out of crushed PBR cans… that’s about as Brooklyn as it gets.
It’s easy to find great happy hour specials at 4pm on weekdays (who gets out of the office at 4 besides teachers?) or 11pm on a Monday (sorry already in bed watching netflix hours ago). But finding an awesome drink special at 7pm on a Friday or Saturday? Not so easy. Luckily with over 150 happy hour bars in MKE in our database, we’ve managed to find some good ones:
1. The Stone: 2 for 1 taps until 9pm.
There are two amazing things about this Happy Hour. First, it lasts til 9pm, so you have plenty of time to enjoy several brews after work or as a pregame. Second, The Stone has an awesome tap list so you’re getting a free great craft beer. Currently they have Dogfish Head 90 Minute and New Glarus Serendipity. Damn.
2. McGillycuddy’s: $3 Beer, Bombs & Call It Drinks from 8-10pm (plus $15 all you can eat Fish Fry)
Grab a $3 beer (or 5) and start your night off on their patio.
3. Sabbatic: Almost everything $1 from 7-7:15 plus 1/2 off taps, Rails & Domestic bottles from 7-9pm
Show up at 7 and grab a practically free drink, then stick around for their primetime happy hour.
4. Flannery’s: 1/2 off apps, $3.50 Drinks & Bottled Beer, $5.50 tall cocktails from 9-Midnight
Cheap beer and 1/2 off Nachos? Yeah I guess I could start my weekend with that.
5. The Hotch Spot: Free Beer w/ Pizza, $5 Pickle, Beer, Jamo (PB&J) and 2 for 1 Apps from 5-8pm.
Hey if you’re working past 8pm on a friday we think you may need a new job.
6. Rumor Upbeat Lounge: a sh!t ton of specials.
1/2 off specialty drinks, $5 Hanger 1 Vodka Cocktails, $3 Lakefront Taps, $2 Tall Boys, $3 off wine by the glass from 4-8pm. Then $1 rails 9-10pm, $2 rails 10-11pm, plus $3 mexican beer after 9pm. Ooph that was a mouthful.
7. Brothers Bar & Grill: $1 rails & $2 taps until 9pm.
8. Karma Bar & Grill: Late Night Happy Hour $3 Absolut Cocktails, Lakefront Tap & Jamo Cocktails from 10pm-1am.
9. Monkey Bar: $2 Domestic Bottles & $2 Mico/Imports from 3-9pm
1. Flannery’s: $3 Tallboys, $3.50 1/2 lb Burgers, $5 12” Pizza. Even better than friday if you’re hungry.
2. Sabbatic: Same as Friday: Almost everything $1 from 7-7:15 plus 1/2 off taps, Rails & Domestic bottles from 7-9pm
3. Two Bucks: Ok you may already know about this one because they offer this deal all the time (hence the name) but damn it if $2 taps isn’t amazing on a Saturday night.
4. The Loaded Slate: 2 pitchers & 20 wings for $20.
Either way you do the math, you’re either getting $1 wings and 2 free pitchers, or paying for 2 pitchers and getting 20 wings at what, 10 cents a pop? Free?
5. Brothers Bar & Grill: Same as Friday. Happy Hour 2-9pm: $1 Rails, $2 Drafts
See which specials on this list are nearest to you, as well as all other Milwaukee Happy Hours download our app!
The moment your college buddy calls you up and proclaims “Hey (bro/girl) I’m coming to visit you in NYC babyyy!” provokes excitement, immediately followed by a rush of “oh shit do they want to go to Times Square?” anxiety. Thankfully in New York, there is a great bar to save you pretty much no matter where you’re dragged. In fact if you follow this list, we’re pretty confident that drinking will be the highlight of their weekend.
If they want to see Wall St… take them to Stone Street
Wall Street is cool but within a few minutes of staring at sweet buildings you’ll quickly run out of stuff to do. Thankfully the outdoor drinking awesomeness that is Stone street is only a few blocks away.
On the surface all the bars on Stone Street look the same, but trust us and grab a seat at #1 The Growler Bites & Brews, which boasts the best beer selection on the block. They have about 20 craft beer taps, currently including the dank Cafe Racer 15 double IPA.
Then head to #2 The Dead Rabbit
Forbes calls The Dead Rabbit “NYC’s most ambitious cocktail bar” as it features a cocktail list 72 options long at “The Parlor” on the second floor. You’ll find international bartender of the year “Jack McGarry” here serving up carefully crafted historically accurate classic cocktails. Or if you’re dressed like a tourist and want something a little more casual, just grab a house cocktail, punch, craft beer or oysters at The Dead Rabbit Taproom downstairs.
If they want to go to Times Square… stop in #3 The Rum House
Times Square’s saving grace, The Rum House is an old school blues and jazz bar with a giant liquor selection and great classic cocktails. It’s run by the same folks who own Ward III in Tribeca so you know the drinks are legit, but more importantly it just has that classic old New York vibe that the rest of Midtown has lost in a headache inducing neon haze.
Then grab a rooftop beer at #4 Beer Authority
Beer Authority is simply a craft beer monstrosity… in a good way. 3 massive floors and 100 taps make this spot unlike anywhere else in the city. Our one complaint? The beer list is a little limited on the rooftop compared to the rest of the bar.. then again I suppose 20 taps isn’t too shabby.
If they want to see The Empire State… find the best view of it at #5 Top of The Strand
I think the view pretty much explains itself. Top of The Strand is definitely upscale however so dress nice and try to go during off times to avoid a line.
Then stop by #6 The Ginger Man for a local beer
The Ginger Man is one of the three best craft beer bars in Manhattan period. In fact it may just be #1. Take your friend here to try an awesome local beer that they can’t get across the country like Barrier, Carton, Radiant Pig and Other Half breweries.
If they want to see The Flatiron Building… check out the rooftop beer garden above Eataly: #7 Birreria
One of the few Italian Bar/Restaurants that puts aside wine to highlight the world of Italian beer, Birreria is one of the more unique spots on this list. After dropping $17 a cocktail at all of the other rooftop New York bars, we couldn’t be more grateful.
Then head to #8 Milk & Honey for one of the best cocktails you’ll ever have
Love or hate the craft cocktail & speakeasy trend in NYC, you have Milk & Honey to thank for it. These guys were the godfathers of the cocktail resurgence, so much so, that when you ask a bartender where the origins of a new age cocktail came from, more than likely he’s going to say “probably one of the guys at Milk & Honey”. Some of you all may be aware that the spot actually changed locations from chinatown (now Attaboy) up to Flatiron, and yes the new spot is not as cool, but it’s still an institution and a must visit.
If they want to see The Chelsea Piers.. go to #9 Gallow Green
Simply put, Gallow Green is a beautiful garden, on top of a rooftop, with good cocktails and an amazing sunset view on the west side of the Island. Great way to transition from daytime to nighttime activities if you know what we mean.
If they want to see The Brooklyn Bridge… stop by the South Street Seaport after.
The seaport still isn’t what it was, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth showing off to your out of town friends. You’ll find live music and movies in front of Ambrose Hall where most of the crowds will form. Us? We like #10 Fresh Salt just a few blocks away, tucked quietly away into a cobblestone street. Here you’ll find a lot more character and better drinks. Or if you’re all hot and sweaty from crossing the bridge and back, craving the cheapest biggest ice cold beer you can find, go to Jeremy’s Ale House for a $5 32oz Bud from 4-6pm.
We all have that one vodka-soda drinking friend who repeatedly claims “Nah I don’t drink beer” every time you’re generous enough to offer them a cold brew. Well we are convinced that there is a beer out there for everyone. The challenge is to find that one beer that hooks your friend in and makes them burst out “Wait this is beer? This is SO F@$&ING GOOD”.
1. New Glarus Belgian Red
Ok this fruit bomb, at 4% ABV and “Over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle” is in one sense barely a beer. On the other hand, it has a near perfect score from both SpotHopper, Ratebeer, and is consistently ranked in the top 100 beers in the world.. so know your shit before you hate! The beer perfectly balances sweet with tart with insanely fresh cherry flavor.
See flavor profile & find Belgian Red here
2. Weihenstaphaner Hefeweissbier
Wheat beers are arguably the best beginner style: crazy smooth, creamy, with no bitterness and taste of warm white bread, bananas and citrus. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is the undisputed king of wheat beers, from the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world. How old is that? Nearly 1000 years.
See flavor profile & find Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier here
3. Southern Tier Pumking
This 9% Imperial Pumpkin ale tastes quite literally like pumpkin pie in a glass: decadent pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and buttery crust. Look out for it’s release this month.
See flavor profile & find Pumking here
4. Southern Tier Choklat
This beer can be a bit intense for some, but it’s a must try for any chocolate lovers. It tastes more like a chocolate milkshake than a beer. Just know ahead of time that it’s a sipper, so you may want to split the bottle with a buddy or two.
See flavor profile & find Choklat here
5. Brooklyn Lager
Lagers get a bad rep, but this one is pretty great. It’s easy drinking but flavorful, perfectly balanced, and more importantly tastes like real beer. If you like Brooklyn Lager, unlike some of the crazier brews on this list, we are 100% confident that you actually like beer. Cheers to that.
See flavor profile & find Brooklyn Lager here
Hipster 5’2 90 lb Female Bouncer: "So it looks like the wait is about 2 hours… would you like me to put your name down?"
Us: "Sure it’s Friday night in New York City and we have nothing better to do that sit on this stoop for 2 hours. Plus there is surely no where else in this little town to get a decent cocktail."
Ok we didn’t actually say that, but nonetheless we think we can speak for all of New York city when we say we’re sick of the pretentious facade already. We’re simply going to take our business to less douchy bars. These are our favorites:
1. The Wayland - ABCity
If you find yourself facing a long wait at one of the much hyped East Village cocktail joints, walk a few blocks over to Avenue C. The people are social, good lucking, young, and damn it if their cocktails aren’t still awesome. The moxie with Bourbon & Mezcal? Yes please.
See The Wayland’s cocktail list here
2. Evelyn - ABCity
After a few drinks at The Wayland, and before you take the long trek from ABCity back to civilization, pop across the street to Evelyn. The vibe is a little more.. interesting. But live music, a relaxed retro vibe, and a killer cocktail list make this bar truly great.
See Evelyn’s cocktail list here
3. Hotel Delmano - Williamsburg
Often overlooked beneath the shadows of Maison Premiere, Hotel Delmano’s decor and cocktails are on that level, while their hype and ego are not. Super retro speakeasy vibe with warm lighting and lots of chill hipsters just chilling on the 1950’s style couches with cocktails in hand. Plus, apparently the bartender gives fist bumps so how douchy can it be?
See Hotel Demano’s cocktail list here
4. Dram - Williamsburg
Their cocktail list is short but unique. The bartenders who crafted the list are chill and down to earth. The crowd rages and has fun. And most people are standing not sitting quietly at their tables. Sold?
See Dram’s cocktail list here
5. Rye House - Flatiron
Conveniently located 1 block down from Raines Law Room for when you get rejected there, Rye House is one of our favorite bars in Manhattan. Good cocktails, great whiskey selection, solid beer (They had Bell’s Black Note Stout for a week? How the f@$# did they get that?). The crowd is mid 20s to mid 30s, chiller, and more importantly, appreciates a good drink.
See Rye House’s cocktail list here
6. Highlands - West Village
The bar equivalent of the cool kids table of late, Highlands is a much needed addition to the otherwise overly upscale and intimate West Village spots. The crowd is surprisingly young as if a group of young professional Meatpackers (hmm that didn’t come out right.. people who go out in Meatpacking is what I meant) decided “screw this club bullshit let’s go get some whiskey”. Well cheers to that.
See Highlands cocktail list here
7. The Tippler - Chelsea
The Tippler isn’t so much a cocktail bar as it is a trendy fun bar with good looking people that happens to serve serious cocktails. Then again it is underground so maybe that makes it a speakeasy? The decor matches as well, with old brick, retro rugs and gaslamp-like lighting. There’s also a good tap list, with Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti on tap last time we went.
See The Tippler’s cocktail list here
8. The Rum House - Times Square
Times Square’s saving grace, The Rum House is a chill, old school jazz bar with great classic cocktails and a good liquor selection. If you’re looking for somewhere to stop in after a show skip the rows and rows of Irish pubs and give it a shot.
See The Rum House’s cocktail list here
9. Brooklyn Social - Park Slope
This bar alone is worth the trip out to Park Slope. And if you’re lucky enough to live there, well then you probably already know all about Brooklyn Social.. you rich lucky bastard. BS is the only bar we know of with awesome cocktails, a patio, and a pool table. It’s also got a great atmosphere (as long as you don’t mind hipsters) and good prices.
See Brooklyn Social’s cocktail list here
10. Huckleberry Bar - Williamsburg
Grand St. in Williamsburg is amazing to us. During the day it looks like a hungover sack of crap, which is apparently accurate considering the awesome bars at its disposal at night. Highlighting the list is Huckleberry bar, a slightly upscale but still casual cocktail joint with an awesome back patio. Grab a drink here before stopping by Bushwick Country Club for the most hipster game of bar mini-golf you’ll ever play.
See Huckleberry Bar’s cocktail list here
Want to take this list with you?
Download the SpotHopper app. It lets you search for bars based on sliders. To recreate this list simply download the app, click spots, then speakeasy cocktails, then slide the age to younger and more raging!