Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 14 December 2012
Bar Great Harry- Carroll Gardens: 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.”

Bar Great Harry
280 Smith St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Getting There: F or G to Carroll St.

Carroll Gardens’ Smith Street is a living cityscape photograph and a perfect example of just how bustling Brooklyn currently is. The popular street defines this neighborhood’s ongoing efforts to cram as many outstanding business on one long winding straightaway. At the same time, here you will also find one of the friendliest most unpretentious areas in the borough. And speaking of good will towards man, you will find all of that and more when you wet your whistle at Bar Great Harry, whose corner-side location is the first welcoming aspect you will notice when venturing inside. There’s something just right about a pub that is not jammed in between other businesses. Once inside, mosey up to the classic wooden bar and find out why this bar is a beer lovers oasis.

The friendly bartenders never fail at welcoming my friends and I with their positive and often funny demeanor. Even when the bar is packed, which is all the time, they are always spot on in taking orders and being extremely knowledgeable about what’s on tap. With more than twenty rotating draft lines, 1 hand pulled cask, and about 30 bottles, there are certainly a lot of moving pieces to keep track of. The bar’s beer selection is as diverse as the party that I arrived with- as many of us were hardcore craft beer lovers, while a handful of the crew were into typically light ales. Philly favorite, “Yuengling” is on hand to satisfy any light beer fan at only five dollars a pint. For everyone else the sky was the limit. During this one particular late afternoon visit, our crew tried a virtual rainbow of hearty craft beers. Personally, this writer was loving heaping glasses of “McNeill’s Black Troll Black Lager” ($6) while more experienced drinkers opted for the “Stone Pale Ale” cask ($6). Either way, this bar has a beer for every taste without a drop of beer snobbiness.

Once you throw a few back up front, why not explore the space? Travel through a short hallway and you will be rewarded with one of the best accompaniments to drinking. Yes, you guessed it, pinball! For just a few quarters, even the most inexperienced gamer can become a Pinball Wizard. The joint packs in three classic yet still quite enjoyable machines. As a teen, going to arcades was the choice way to enjoy a Saturday. In the present day, bars have obviously replaced this. So picture yourself grabbing a solid pint or bottle and hanging with your friends laughing the day away as you play Twilight Zone pinball (my favorite).  Nothing beats this type of fun, no matter how hip you think you are.  If this isn’t entertaining enough, fans of high quality micro brews will enjoy events featuring popular craft breweries on a monthly basis. Bar Great Harry and it’s sister bars including Owl Farm and Mission Delores (both in Park Slope) seem to understand why we go to bars instead of simply staying home.

Bar Type –  Neighborhood bar with a relaxed vibe that treats everyone like a regular. Hey, they even let you bring the dog in here.

When to Visit – Although Bar Great Harry draws a crowd on weekdays, our favorite time to visit is on Saturdays either during the day or at night. The bar holds beer events and special keg tappings on a regular basis so check out the website for details.

Value – For a joint that serves a ton of craft beer you would think it would break the bank, right? Thank again. Outstanding pints of craft and small batch brews will only run you between five and six bucks a piece.

The Lowdown – Any fan of hitting bars on a regular basis wants that feeling of fitting in. No one wants to be treated like a second class citizen by a bartender. Great Harry is the corner bar on Smith Street that welcomes everyone with open arms and a killer pint of brew. Grab a seat at the bar or the surrounding tables and (pardon a Milton-Bradley cliche) just watch the hours fly by with fun.

- Alex Corrine

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