Classic Brooklyn Dive Bars: Farrell’s, Shenanigans, Irene’s Place, and more

When you’re apartment­ hunting in Brooklyn, there are a few things that are non-­negotiable for your new hood. A subway within easy walking distance. A park with more than one tree. Delivery pizza. And most importantly: a classic Brooklyn dive bar.

Read ahead for seven neighborhood watering holes that just might tip the balance when narrowing your search.


farrells-brooklynFarrell’s Bar and Grill | via Brooklyn Magazine

Farrell’s Bar and Grill (Windsor Terrace)
The grill part may be a misnomer now, but if you’re looking for authenticity, you can’t do better than this neighborhood favorite dating back to 1933. It’s a favorite after-work hangout for cops, firemen, and blue collar workers, and on St. Patrick’s Day, revelers spill out onto the sidewalk. Don’t expect any frills, but you can order your Budweiser in three sizes: from a dainty five-ounce glass on up to a 32-ounce bucket. (Your only other beer choice is Bud Light. We did say no frills!)


Shenanigans-brooklynShenanigans | Bryan Winter via Brokelyn

Shenanigans (Kensington)
They are notorious for the karaoke Saturdays that last into the wee hours, but you’ll come back throughout the week for the cheap beer and the old-­fashioned Irish grit. It’s a bit dark, but the paper shamrocks and the neighborhood camaraderie will brighten the night.


irenes-place-brooklyn-dive-barIrene’s Place | Maureen M. via Foursquare

Irene’s Place (Greenpoint)
Here’s a neighborhood joint that has resolutely remained the same despite the changing neighborhood. The denizens of Irene’s are mostly middle-­aged Polish men, so expect an awful lot of Polish tunes being played on the jukebox while you get to know the locals.


soda-bar-brooklyn-dive-barSoda Bar | Nicole A. via Foursquare

Soda Bar (Prospect Heights)
Soda Bar is a place to start your day­ drinking and stay into the evening, with the bonus of a small food menu. There is something for every customer, be it the candlelit tables in the front room, the cushy sofas and chairs in the back, or the patio. Friday and Saturday nights feature a DJ, and it’s a great local hangout every night of the week.


lone-wolf-brooklyn-dive-barLone Wolf | Robert M. via Foursquare

Lone Wolf (Bushwick)
If it’s a dimly lit bar you’re after, you can’t do better than Lone Wolf. Once you grope your way to the bar, you can enjoy a wide selection of canned and bottled beer — there’s not much on tap). Plus there’s a bar fight–­themed pinball game, and you can’t argue with that.


tip-top-bar-grill-brooklyn-dive-barTip Top | Elin J. via Yelp

Tip ­Top Bar & Grill (Bed­-Stuy)
The word is that Tip­ Top puts the dive back in dive bar. Regulars will feel at home in the simple decor and spacious backyard. Along with an ever­-changing array of food choices, the bartenders serve up $4 beers and $5 well drinks. Can you dive any lower?


rosemarys-greenpoint-tavern-brooklynRosemary’s | Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr

Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern (Williamsburg)
Rosemary still lives upstairs and comes to visit this family-­owned Williamsburg staple. With all happy hour drinks four bucks or under, you might as well settle in. And what says dive bar better than “styrofoam cups”?

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