Williamsburg and Park Slope are probably two of the more well-known neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Sizewise, they are also among the biggest ones. Because of this, other nice areas are sometimes overlooked but Brooklyn has many regions to offer that are worth visiting and maybe even moving to.
Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens are two of these. They are close to where I live, so last week I took the F-Train to Bergen Street and got off at the Smith St end. My friend and I were trying to catch up on some decent happy hour specials right after work, therefore we walked down Smith Street and saw some bars offering these deals. I guess it depends on the day you go but on Thursday the area was not really as crowded as it had been on a Sunday before. Might have been all the people evading the city, though, since it was just before the Independence Day weekend.
Beer and well drinks seem to be the typical Happy Hour deal offered. We found this pub called Ceol right on Smith. It is owned by a native Irish woman from Dublin and is nicely decorated in a true Irish style. If you walk through the bar, you will end up in a cozy back yard, which is convenient in the summer months. Certain beers (bottled) are $1 until 7PM and $3 thereafter. They also offer other specials, so it might be worth checking out if you are into traditional Irish food. Hey, who could beat a $1 beer, honestly? When we showed up it seemed rather dead but, like I already said, could have been the holiday blues.
If you don’t like the location, just continue on walking down towards Douglass Street and you will come across the “Angry Wade’s,” a fun looking establishment with usually a lot of young people standing in the doorway. Classified as an American Sports bar, it hosts TV screens and a pool table but also, and more importantly, free popcorn to whoever wants it. During afternoons it is semi-open as the windows are let down, inviting especially younger folks to come in and join the fun. At first glance there is no happy hour deal but after further investigation I found out that it is between 3PM to 6PM on weekdays (which seems rather short-lived when you get off work and have to make your way out there), and 12PM and 3PM on the weekends, way of course. I have yet to find out the reason for this.
If you think the Angry Wade’s is too frat-style or American for you, keep on walking and you will stumble upon an Asian Fusion restaurant right across from it around Butler St. Chance offers pan-asian cuisine and has happy hour until 11PM. Usually this deal is meant for seats at the bar, but it was crowded so the waitress went out of her way and offered us two rounds of drinks at happy hour price at a table. Great idea, as it made us want to order a nicely seasoned Pad Thai for the low price of 7 Dollars (vegetable option) on top of this. Because we were kind of tired of beer, we splurged on their cocktail deal, which is $4 for a decent Mojito or Margarita. And what was interesting to me were the different flavors Chance had in store, such as “Kiwi Mojito” or “Pom Margarita.” I didn’t expect such diversity for happy hour.
Another bar that astounded us in many aspects was the BGH or “Bar Great Harry” around Sackett Street. It already belongs to the neighborhood Carroll Gardens, which blends into Cobble Hill at some point but don’t ask me at which for the line of where it changes is not quite defined (just in case you got confused). Albeit we least liked this place, we stayed there the longest and tried out their deal called “2 for $5,” which includes certain types of beer and well drinks. The canned beers were not too impressive (don’t bother about trying out a wheat beer in a can, it tastes horrible) but the Yuengling I got was okay. It offers lounge-like seating at the window and is ideal for summer months. All in all, this bar is rather small and everyone gets a good look at you when you enter. I call this bar the “dog bar” because when we paid this establishment a visit, there were 4 different dog holders with their pets. My, what a chaos! Two had become friends and were playing around while the other two seemed kind of intimidated and stayed in their corner with their tails tucked in. The bartender was nice and it seems like many regulars stop by here.
Ahhh, all of this does not yet sound too convincing to you? Well, let’s have the best at last: The Gowanus Yacht Club (Gowanus is a neighborhood name, too, and yes, we are still in Carrol Gardens!). We discovered this while making our way to the Carrol Garden stop on the F-train, so we didn’t have a beer here. We will the next time, though! It is a fun-looking place with an outdoor bar and outdoor seating in the beergarden-style, meaning wooden benches and picnic tables. Pretty sweet, even though a bit small, but that seems to be the norm in this area. It is only open from May to October, the season for sitting outside. Aside from beer and wine they offer food from $1.50 to $5 in the form of Frankfurters, hot dogs, and burgers. It will surely attract your attention, as it did ours successfully, when you come from or want to go to the subway station. Many young people hang out here and the vibes are great.
To conclude this neighborhood review, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens have many bars and restaurants with happy hour deals and the diversity of food you find over here is great. French, Asian, Greek, Spanish-Mexican – you name it. The prices are not as over-the-top as they are in Park Slope or Williamsburg either, making it a plus. During summer time you find a lot of people strolling the streets and seeking out new places. It is definitely worth stopping by after work or on the weekends and to get to know a different Brooklyn area. Also, if you see a few places which offer HH for only $1 or $2 less than from the usual just keep on walking, the choices are vast. Unless you like the bar, then sit down and have someone take your order.