Red Hook Brooklyn is a rustic neighborhood full of pre-Civil War buildings and quirky eateries. New families and young professionals populate the neighborhood that has a backdrop of shipping yards and homey dive bars that locals love. If you are looking for a place to grab a drink in Red Hook, this is the perfect list for you!
I visited the laid-back neighborhood of Red Hook and checked out fourteen of their best bars, and I’m here to report on them for you. The lazy, casual neighborhood offered a relaxing but fun vibe as I roamed the streets reminiscent of a seaside village.
Many hip art galleries, edgy bars, and inviting restaurants can be found along Van Brunt Street, so to narrow it down for you, I’ll be highlighting my favorite spots so you can feel in the know next time you visit Red Hook.
Check out my list of the best bars in Red Hook Brooklyn below!
253 Conover St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
A Red Hook staple that has been around since the 19th century, Sunny’s is a quaint and charming bar adorned with loads of knick-knacks and decorations on the wall. The bar has a divey vibe but radiates positive energy the moment you walk in.
This bar is cozy and welcoming, even if you aren’t a local. They offer both indoor seating in a dim bar as well as outdoor seating on a sunny patio. They have an excellent list of draft beers and seasonal specials.
It is good to know that they only accept cash, but they have an ATM in the bar if you forget to bring cold, hard cash. While I had a lovely time and experienced excellent customer service, I did notice some bartenders were a bit gruff with other guests.
Brooklyn Ice House
318 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The Brooklyn Ice House is an affordable bar with walls covered in chalkboards for a casual, local vibe. Their menu features an array of classic bar food, so I opted for a burger to see how they would fare with a classic bar meal. They bought me a perfectly charred burger topped with crispy onion rings and flavorful sauce. I can be picky about burgers, but this one checked all of my boxes.
The staff was darling, very prompt, and accommodating despite being super busy this Friday night. Their range of customers was wide as there were 20-somethings taking shots, young parents with toddlers enjoying wine, and older locals laughing over beers.
This bar does away with any extra flairs or gimmicks and simply delivers great food, great drinks, and excellent service in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
228 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Seaborne is a laidback local bar that has fun games and an energetic vibe that you feel the moment you walk in. Seaborne has board games, great cocktails, and vintage pinball machines, so you can have a few drinks and get in a nostalgic mood.
You need to know this spot exists to find it as it is practically invisible from the outside. My Paloma was great, and so was my server. Possibly the best part of the Seaborne is that they have filtered water taps on every table, which is a godsend for a water-lover like me and a brilliant decision for a bar.
I will note I stopped in at around 8 pm on a Friday, and I was probably one of a dozen people in the place. It is odd that they were dead, but as I said, they are a well-kept secret in Red Hook and can be difficult to just stumble upon if you aren’t looking.
347 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Fort Defiance is a small corner bar with a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. They recently moved to this location to have a bit of a bigger space to accommodate guests.
I ordered their King Bee, which consisted of vodka, tea, and lemon was perfectly shaken together for a refreshing cocktail with an edge. I also tried out their charcuterie board, and of course, their deviled eggs because I can’t pass up a good deviled egg. But these were great!
The best part of this bar was the constant hum of chatter and laughter. Every guest seemed comfortable as they enjoyed themselves in the simple bar. This is by no means a dive bar but does foster a cozy, inviting environment that welcomes all.
Botanica at Widow Jane
220 Conover St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
An edgy name for an edgy bar, Widow Jane is a mysterious and enticing bar that is dimly lit and excellent for a romantic date or intimate night out. The atmosphere is a dark ethereal aesthetic that is truly mesmerizing.
The bar utilizes floral accents along with a dark theme, tall windows, and dazzling chandeliers that create an upscale environment. In the industrial Red Hook area, this bar stands out as a chic but rustic bar for when you want an elevated experience.
The bar boasts fantastic whiskey that I had to try. They have been crafting their whiskey for decades, and I opted for their Widow Jane Decadence on the rocks. It was smooth, smokey, and sweet all at the same time. This was possibly my favorite whiskey that I have ever tried and was tempted to buy a bottle on my way out.
317 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Jalopy Tavern is a fun spot to listen to live music, chow down on a heaping plate of nachos, and enjoy a beer with friends. Now, this is a dive bar. And I mean that in the best possible way because I love dive bars.
With a rough-looking exterior, the bar welcomes all walks of life for a good time, offering large food portions at reasonable prices. This isn’t exactly the spot for a hot date or if you’re looking for a super innovative cocktail. They have a standard menu of beers and wines in addition to a full bar, but not any special drinks.
But enjoying some comfort food in a cozy bar while listening to some underground live music is a Saturday night I highly recommend.
454 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Located right on the neighborhood’s main artery, the Hometown Bar-B-Que seems to be the quintessential bar in Red Hook Brooklyn. While there are many fabulous bars in the neighborhood, this one seems to be a local favorite that is always jam-packed with folks.
I wasn’t hungry when I went, but after sitting in the sweet, smoky aromas of BBQ food for five minutes, my mouth was watering. I ordered the brisket and mac and cheese along with a draft Brooklyn ale that came with a beautifully thick, white head. Both the food and the beer were excellent. The food is well portioned for the price and offers some very unique flavors mixed with traditional American BBQ.
If you are looking for good old-fashioned Texas BBQ in Brooklyn, make the trip to waterfront Red Hook and experience some of the best BBQ flavors in the area.
Keg & Lantern Brewery
158 Beard St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Located right around the corner from the Waterfront Museum, the Keg and Lantern Brewery is a great spot to stop off at when leaving the museum or exploring the area. I love a unique brew, so I was particularly excited about this bar. And they did not let me down.
The restaurant is donned with fairy lights to create an enchanting and comfortable atmosphere. Whether you are having a casual dinner with a friend or are going on an exciting first date, this is the perfect spot for food and drinks and a good time.
I got their buffalo wings which were shockingly massive and perfectly spicy. The service was wonderful, and one of the best parts about this place is their daily specials that seem to draw in big crowds.
520 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Located just off the highway, the Travel Bar is a refined spot with an aura of sophistication that is rather unexpected in Red Hook. This bar offers a chic dining experience with small plates and knowledgeable bartenders that personalize the experience for everyone.
My bartender, Bill, really went out of his way to offer me exciting new drinks and chat about the neighborhood. After testing out some barrel-aged whiskeys, I felt like an expert. This is the ideal spot for a romantic evening out or a sophisticated dinner with friends.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The Red Hook Lobster Pound is in the heart of the neighborhood on Van Brunt Street, making it the perfect addition to your Red Hook bar crawl. This spot serves up fat, buttery lobster rolls that melt in your both. And they offer some cold, refreshing beers to wash it down.
This place has a casual, seaside vibe that encompasses the spirit of Red Hook well. If you are craving a classic New England seafood meal, this bar is the perfect place to stop for lunch and enjoy the ocean views offered.
24 Reed St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
First thing is first, go to the Brooklyn Crab happy hour! They have awesome deals, and it is just a super fun, joyful environment. I loaded myself up with $1 oysters that were fresh from the sea and the perfect food to go with my craft cocktail.
I opted for the Dreams of Paradise cocktail that is made with 400 Conejos Mezcal, pineapple, passion fruit, and lemon juice for a refreshing and vibrant cocktail. I had two because it was so satisfying, and I highly recommend exploring their cocktail menu.
The Brooklyn Crab fits snugly into the waterfront community with its rustic, oceanic feel reminiscent of Boston seaside bars. This is the perfect spot for friends to grab some late-night drinks or for a nice family outing to get some Gumbo and shrimp.
San Pedro Inn
320 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The San Pedro Inn is a funky and unique spot that has an eclectic vibe and fun, friendly patrons. Located smack dab in the middle of the bar scene, the San Pedro Inn has cool, antique lighting along with Mexican accents. The bar has a vintage vibe that is contrasted by its young crowd of clients.
The food was fantastic. They serve up an array of perfectly executed Mexican dishes, from tacos to tostadas to enchiladas; they have it all. I went for tacos because who doesn’t love tacos? The Al Pastor was the star of the show, but their fish tacos were also to die for. If you take any advice from this article, get the Al Pastor taco.
Like any proper Mexican bar, the San Pedro Inn delivers a mean spicy margarita that expertly balances the sweet with the spice.
The Red Hook Winery
175 Van Dyke Street Pier 41, Suite 325A
The Red Hook Winery is an urban winery that was founded in 2008. It is located on the water and offers beautiful ocean views while you sip on their unique wines. The bar offers wine tastings for a fun day outing or night out with friends. Although they do not have a food menu, they give you a big ole bag of rosemary chips, so you don’t have to drink on an empty stomach.
Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about their wine but tended to be hard to get a hold of when we needed something. Nevertheless, they were lovely when they were around.
Of the wines I tried, my top pick is the 2018 Abe Schoener Seneca Lake Cabernet Franc. It was aromatic and had a flavorful sip that finished smoothly. I recall hints of apple, oak, and dark berries for a rich flavor that I wanted to take home with me.
Red Hook Tavern
329 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The Red Hook Tavern is a beautiful, old building with a certain charm that can’t be faked. If you want a nice evening at a lovely little bar with excellent food and friendly service, this is the perfect bar for you.
I had their mussels that were fresh, flavorful, and complimented my pinot grigio magnificently. My server, Rachel, recommended the mussels as I had mentioned my love of seafood. She was attentive and sweet without being overbearing. I would highly recommend requesting her if you visit this classic tavern.
The bar’s menu is unique, from mussels to croquettes to wedge salads; they have quite a variety of dishes. Their food menu pairs well with their full beer menu and excellent draft options. But in all honesty, the food was the highlight of this visit.
Next time you are in the seaside neighborhood of Red Hook, check out one of these marvelous bars that serve up fantastic food along with tasty drinks and cozy vibes. Whether it’s a lunch date with friends or a romantic anniversary, Red Hook bars have something to offer everyone.
If you’re looking for more places to go around this charming Brooklyn neighborhood, check out my favorite Red Hook brunch spots!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!