Bar Spotlights Grub/Spirits — 28 February 2014
Brooklyn Ale House – Williamsburg: Drink Here Now

Our correspondent vowed to have a drink at every single bar in Hoboken and did so successfully with Spirits in the Sixth Borough.” Every Friday morning, we’ll pick up where he left off, showing you distinctive bars in each New York City 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 as you gear up for the weekend. You can follow our sudsy travels every week with’s “Drink Here Now.”

Brooklyn Ale House
103 Berry Street at North 8th Street, Williamsburg
Getting There: L to Bedford Avenue

Leave it to Williamsburg to provide a dog friendly haunt even in winter months. A recent weeknight trip to the divey Brooklyn Ale House revealed just that- a windowside table with two couples chatting and a young four month old pup sitting in their laps. Though well behaved, there was an element of shock in eying a dog inside of a bar without the possibility of leashing it up to the outdoor table on a summery afternoon. I suppose I should learn to never be surprised by anything that I find out in Brooklyn.

The name Brooklyn Ale House is hardly what makes the place stand out, especially considering that there are dueling Ale Houses in the same neighborhood with Mug’s and Kent Street all vying for your business. But on a chilly February evening in Williamsburg, the bar does meet most of our criteria for satisfaction. First, being a block away from the L train is absolutely key and on this night, our scarves and gloves proved pointless against Mother Nature’s blistering winds and finding a quaint nearby spot was essential. Second, the vibe inside is entirely relaxed. Whether you’re working someone over on the pool table or dart board, or chatting with some buddies over some uber-affordable craft beers (time and again, we gulped down draught pours of “Old Speckled Hen“), there’s a very festive and neighborly feel at the Brooklyn Ale House.

Inside, the bar itself appears transported from yesteryear. The bar counter is classically worn and sits in front of an old fashioned looking setup that has aged with character. Decoratively, there are some street signs and more modern artistic depictions on the soft green painted walls that surround the light brown wooden tabletops. Craft beers here are also always flowing with Happy Hour specials seemingly going strong at all times. Aside from all the dogs and the beers and the friendly faces though, the Ale House boasts that they serve up Brooklyn’s best Bloody Mary to go along with a free bagel brunch Sundays- a warm touch to an already warm place in Williamsburg, where this neighborhood bar makes you wish you lived nearby.

The Rundown

Bar Type - A good old-fashioned neighborhood dive bar.

When to Visit – There are certainly better places to go for brunch, but a Bloody and a free bagel always sounds great to us. On weeknights, stop in here for a place where you can squat and chat without any shenanigans. This place is also ideal for a first drink meeting place before heading out into the Billyburg nightlife.

Value - Prices here are pretty reasonable with wine glasses from $5-$7 and most draught beers priced at $5-$6. No there aren’t $2 brews, but you won’t kill your wallet at the Ale House either.

The Lowdown – Of all of the Ale House’s in Brooklyn, this one feels the most comfortable. There’s literally no pretension here. Pool table? Check. Jukebox? Check. Friendly bartenders? Check. Selection of different draught beers? Resounding check. You can grab a table and chat or pony up to the bar and chill out solo-style. Whatever your mission is, the Brooklyn Ale House is a neighborhood spot that we would welcome on any street corner in any borough. It’s got enough charm to make you feel right at home.

- Alex Corrine

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