Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 28 September 2012
Kent Ale House- Williamsburg: Drink Here Now correspondent Link Cromwell vowed to have a drink at every bar in Hoboken before running the 2011 New York City Marathon. With every bar visit in the “Sixth Borough” now completed along with a successful race now finished, it’s time to reel our reporting back toward the City. And as such, every single Friday we’ll be taking over where Link left off, showing you distinctive bars in each borough perhaps for the very first time, perhaps to refresh your memory of a fun place you’ve ducked into, or perhaps to suggest a new spot for you to check out. You can follow our travels as we approach each weekend on Friday mornings with’s “Drink Here Now.”

Kent Ale House
51 Kent Street at North 11th Street, Williamsburg
Getting There: L to Bedford Avenue; NY Waterway to North Williamsburg

Williamsburg Brooklyn has no shortage of bars and restaurants. The Bedford Avenue subway station was tailor made for Manhattan commuting as the stop spills out into a plethora of distinctively casual options. But a ten minute walk from the hustle of the street and out toward the picturesque waterfront leads you to a tucked away gem of a bar- a modern, artistic looking space that poses as a spot that doesn’t care what it looks like. And perhaps that’s what makes the Kent Ale House such a comfortable and unique spot.

Although the number of shows remaining directly across the street from the bar at Williamsburg Park are dwindling, the Kent Ale House is in an ideal location for grabbing a seat at a table street side, or hanging out of the bar’s front windows to hear an entire live show for free. When the outdoor shows aren’t being staged seasonally, the space doubles as part craft beer bar part sports bar, with ten televisions showing everything from NFL and college football games to English Premier League soccer games.

Inside, the exposed brick walls and old barn wood ceiling surrounding mounted taxidermy give Kent Ale House a very rustic, bare bones type feel- only exacerbated by the hard wood floor and wooden high top tables in the spacious back room. The crowd, gathered inside at just about every table and seated all around the patio space, is mostly young and comfortable understanding that the bar finds a happy medium as a place that’s not too trendy, but not a dive bar either. Up front, the half-horseshoe bar is swarmed with patrons, trying to grab one of the forty plus craft beer draughts and bottles being offered at any given time. Options for to-go growlers and distinctive beer flights are also available to mix things up a bit.

The menu here is as you’d expect with much of the crowd chowing down on the buffalo wings. But the ‘build your own burger/dog’ option also puts the control right in your hands for all the fixings and accoutrements that you can handle. We grabbed a table in the back and slugged down an Abita ‘Purple Haze’ and a perennial favorite of ours, the Narragansett Lager in the dimly lit space. The post happy hour, but pre concert crowd was in full effect as the place was crowded by likeminded patrons. Time and again, we’ve passed by the Ale House on route to Smorgasburg or a show at Williamsburg Park. But now we’ve found a bit of an isolated bar that’s ideal for the casual or serious beer drinker, and Kent Ale House has given us yet another reason to head out to Billyburg.

Bar Type – A casual craft beer bar, isolated from the typical Brooklyn hustle.

When to Visit – Gets pretty crowded on football Sundays because of a dearth of nearby options, but for an after work happy hour or for a fall baseball playoff game, Kent Ale House is as good as it gets.

Value – Every day is Happy Hour from 4-8pm, so count on $4 Narragansetts, $5 Craft Beer of the Day, and just $6 for a Narragansett and a whiskey shot.  Also, PBR tallboys are just $3.

The Lowdown – Kent Ale House is a great place to round up a small group for some American bar food and a great selection of beers. It’s just a few blocks outside of the stereotypical Williamsburg hipster comfort zone, so there’s no need to shy away from pulling up a stool and enjoying the cool interior scenery or checking out a game.  The Ale House is a Manhattan quality craft beer bar, that just happens to reside on a quiet Brooklyn block, and that’s what gives it so much charm.

- Alex Corrine

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. nicely done, good objective review, looks like a good place to hang out and watch sunday football.