Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 15 February 2013
The Charleston- 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.”

The Charleston
174 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn 
(718) 599-9599
Getting There: L to Bedford Avenue

We don’t know about you, but a long Subway ride always seems to make us thirsty. The “Drink Here Now” crew recently made our way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a evening of bouncing around. Over the past few weeks, we have taken you to establishments that focus on the current trend of Mixology based cocktails and while there is nothing wrong with these drinks, I felt it necessary to take the crew back to our dive bar roots. Therefore, we disembarked from the L train at Bedford Avenue and took the short walk to one of the greatest true dive bars to hit our city. It’s The Charleston, and for longer than any of us have been alive, this bar has owned this street serving cheap beers with an old school attitude.

It was slightly after 6pm when we walked through the front door and into the huge but dimly lit space. There were a few tables available, but we opted to pull up some chairs at the extremely long wooden bar. Before you even sit down you can see the age of this place. If this bar could talk, oh the stories it could tell. Once seated, the friendly tattooed bartender made his way over. Choosing drinks on this night was a no brainer. A mirror located just behind the bar features a list of the many of the bottled beers and drink specials. Our crew went for bottles of Miller High Life ($3) and Budweiser ($4). Each were seriously cheap and ice cold. After a few sips and laughs later, the bartender informed us of their free pizza with each drink order deal. We wasted nary a moment to say yes. Red tickets were passed out and dropped in a bucket at a makeshift kitchen. A short while and a beer later, the bar pies arrived. They were far from gourmet, but each personal pizza perfectly went with the cheap brews.

As we imbibed and chowed down it was hard to deny the excellent music being piped in over the speakers. Killer 80′s music like, “A-Ha” and “Simple Minds” had us singing along and cheersing each other. The Charleston’s magic doesn’t end there. In the back you will find two Skee Ball machines and regular Comedy Nights and in summer, the open air windows up front make a trip here a must. So jump aboard the L train and prepare for a old school divey night of good music and cheap brews with the ones you love or just like. 


Bar Type – Classic example of a true blue Williamsburg, Brooklyn dive bar. The Charleston’s Bedford Avenue location makes it a go to first stop off the L train for those looking to booze in a extremely laid back and fun environment. 

When to Visit – The Charleston has recently added in regular comedy nights and a killer Skee Ball machine making it more than just a place to grab a beer and a shot. Our visit was during a weeknight and the bar area was nearly full with other patrons seated at a few of the surrounding tables. 

Value – If you love freebies, then The Charleston is your place buddy! Beers like Miller High Life will run you three dollars a bottle. And if that’s not cool enough, each drink you purchase gets you one free bar pizza, otherwise known as a “bar pie.” They may not be gourmet, but they sure do go well with cheap brews! 

The Lowdown – It’s true that the Williamsburg bar scene has expanded well beyond the borders of Bedford Avenue. But there’s something so perfect about the slightly grimy look and feel to The Charleston. The owners may have added in a few cool amenities but they haven’t lost the magic that a dive bar truly brings to a neighborhood. 

- Alex Corrine

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