Nightlife

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Neighborhood Bars

We rounded up the WSWD staff’s go-to hood hangs. Bottoms up.

Photo courtesy of South House

Cue the Cheers theme song, because making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Here’s where we go when we want to get away. Come by and say hi! We promise to remember your name.

Windsor Terrace: The Adirondack

This is not some upstate-worshipping, overly designed, overpriced trendy spot (though the decor wouldn’t look out of place in the Valley). Instead, it’s a true neighborhood bar, laid-back and with a rotating cast of well-made beers and reasonably priced pours. Hang here enough and you’re sure to run into someone you know, then catch up over pints while the bartender’s rock-heavy (and generally non-terrible) playlist rolls on. Bonus: Bring Your Own Vinyl is every first Monday night of the month; stop by and take a turn spinning. —Mac Montandon, editorial director

Photo courtesy of The Adirondack/Facebook

Financial District: The Irish American Pub

This is my happy place. It’s the pub everyone needs in their lives: a great beer list, 14 different types of jumbo wings readily available, and a jukebox with your fave rock-and-roll hits. A lot of soccer fans run straight to the Boot Room to watch Liverpool F.C. matches, but I prefer the game room, where I challenge my friends to not-always-so-friendly games of air hockey or Foosball. —Danielle Murphy, editor

Lower East Side: Blue and Gold

It’s an institution. Top-shelf whiskey for $5 and cash only. Expect a friendly game of pool. —Josh Splett, planner

Photo by Mike C./ Yelp

Park Slope: Ginger’s Bar

I have to pick Ginger’s, a “low-key lesbian bar with a warm vibe,” according to an accurate description on Google. It’s a dingy spot on Fifth Avenue and 5th Street. The floors are sticky; the vinyl-cushioned barstools are ripped; and the light is mercifully dim. But it’s just so darn welcoming! Yes, lesbians of all ages and types congregate here—in some ways it’s like a neighborhood old-man bar for, well, old lesbians—but you don’t have to be gay or advanced in age to love this place. There’s a casual patio out back where members of the Prospect Park women’s softball league hang out after their games in the summer; a pool table that’s always in demand; and a jukebox that’s filled with affirming sing-along pop songs from Christina Aguilera, George Michael, and Donna Summer. It might be the most unpretentious place in New York City.  —Patty Onderko, executive editor

Williamsburg: Alligator Lounge

Alligator runs a fun trivia contest on Monday night, which is honestly what I value most in a bar. Plus, every drink comes with a free personal pizza—I was initially skeptical, but the pizza is actually really good. —Hannah Maier-Katkin, editorial intern

Photo by Sharyn O/Yelp

Washington Heights: Locksmith

Locksmith checks off all the criteria I look for when it comes to liking a bar: hard-to-find draft beers, a damn good veggie burger, trivia nights that are easy enough for me to feel smart, Bodega Boys cred, and being a dangerously close distance from my apartment. It also recently started hosting meet-up groups for the neighbors to get to know one another. I guess I should start frequenting those to put names to the faces I see at my subway stop every day! —Jess Bender, senior editor

Photo courtesy of Locksmith/Facebook

Astoria: The Sparrow Tavern

It’s perfectly hidden across the street from the Biergarten, so while all you Astoria amateurs are busy over at that hype, I’m at Sparrow Tavern. It’s the type of place with four different kinds of barstools. —Mark Romano, pizza guru and database manager

Photo by Liam O/Yelp

West Village: Lelabar

I love slipping into a seat at the small, oval-shaped bar and taking advantage of the happy-hour deal ($28 for select bottles, $8 for a glass of wine). Don’t be too intimidated by Lelabar’s 200-plus wine list; the bartenders will help you navigate vinos from all over the world. You’ll also be rubbing shoulders with your neighbors, so it’s a great way to finally meet your version of Friends’s “ugly naked guy”—although hopefully yours is cute and clothed! —Ally Schenker, editorial assistant

Photo courtesy of Lelabar

Forest Hills: Austin Public

The great thing about Austin Public is that the bartenders treat you like family. Their service is always prompt, and I always have a great time. Almost every day of the week there’s something fun happening there, from Sunday karaoke to Thursday game night. —Joshua Hernandez, planner

Jersey City, New Jersey: South House

South House helped me decide to move from Hoboken to Jersey City. My boyfriend and I popped in for a pre-dinner cocktail, and the bartender was amazing. She asked both of us what ingredients we like and whipped up the two most perfectly unique adult bevvies for our respective palates. Whenever I can, I love to pop in and get my custom-made drink! —Carolina Ramirez, partnerships

Photo courtesy of South House

Hell’s Kitchen: The West Bank Cafe

The West Bank Cafe has been a local fave of mine for years, and it has remained a reliable bar and restaurant through the neighborhood transformation. It’s known as a place for actors, and many times they will beat you there after a show. And don’t forget to check out the Laurie Beechman Theatre downstairs to enjoy some eclectic entertainment. I fondly remember my experience performing there several years ago as part of a cast of young artists. —Carolyn Innocenzi, planner

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