Venturing inside Black Rabbit, you may feel like you’ve been transported to a 19th-century British pub: weathered floorboards lead past a sleek, dark bar, over which a set of chandeliers casts a dim glow. If the fireplace and framed photos of your disapproving great-great-uncle aren’t cozy enough, then it’s a great time to slip past the swinging doors into one of the bar’s private snugs, which New York Magazine describes as “… so private that you’ll need to button-activate a lightbulb to get your waiter’s attention.” While the décor takes one back in time, the pub food stays decidedly modern. The menu includes mini burgers served with a side of Ruffles chips, along with seasonal pickle plates, bratwurst, and Frito pie. And if the bar’s selection of board games or the comedian-hosted bingo night gets to be too much fun, guests can always slip out back to the garden, a shaded-area decked with picnic tables.
Nobody comes to Schnitzel Haus to order a plain hot dog—not when they can instead try a würst sampler that includes wild boar, spicy lamb, rabbit and ginger, venison and cherry, and duck and Armagnac. The restaurant celebrates traditional German cuisine in all of its incarnations, from smoked sausages and sauerkraut to the famous schnitzel that chefs drizzle with creamy mushroom gravy. No German meal would be complete without a frosty stein of beer, and Schnitzel Haus certainly delivers in this regard. There’s also an extensive wine list that features two Rieslings imported from Germany. Meals unfold in a cozy dining room dominated by dark polished woods, which often fills with the sounds of live musicians playing traditional German tunes and guests trying in vain to clink together their leather boots.
Twenty four draft beers—including Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Brewmaster's Reserve—line the Cuban mahogany bar at Kent Ale House. Handcrafted by German cabinetmakers, this altar to suds first entered the word before the Prohibition era, when Americans were still allowed to eat cake. The pub's bottle selection features New York brews but also dabbles in international beers from Belgium and Cheshire.
The interior of Kent Ale House features charming exposed-brick walls throughout. In the back, a separate room with a private entrance shelters parties and a ping-pong table. Exposed wooden rafters and a wood-burning fireplace give the space the feel of a lodge, and this is enhanced by the stuffed elk that hangs on the wall. There's also a 50-seat sidewalk café that grants diners a view of the Manhattan skyline.
The critics can’t agree on which of 12th Street Bar & Grill's offerings steal the show. “Brunch is the draw,” says The New York Times, citing their waffles doused in real maple syrup and scrambled-egg dishes tossed with smoked salmon and goat cheese. New York Magazine, for its part, highlights the evening features that make it ideal for “informally romantic dates.” Crab-cake appetizers come alive with a chipotle aioli, and an espresso-rubbed hanger steak builds on its existing heartiness with a helping of truffled mac ‘n’ cheese. Whatever the hour, guests can sip craft cocktails as they admire the space’s high tin ceilings that hint at its history as a carriage house and sales lot for enormous penny-farthing bicycles.
It's easy to carve out a spot at Margarita Island CI, thanks to its 10,000 square feet of space and 250 seats. Once nestled under an outdoor umbrella or sidled up to the tiki bar, patrons can peruse a menu that features teriyaki-glazed chicken, smokehouse barbecue, and loaded nachos. And as the name implies, margaritas are always flowing, along with other cocktails and specialty drinks from the bar, including a spiked smoothie.
Aside from the comestibles, Margarita Island CI celebrates its Coney Island heritage with beach-themed festivities. On Fridays, fireworks light up the sky and confuse mating lightning bugs, while happy hour is a given on weekday nights. Other events, such as bikini contests and gogo dancing, take the stage sporadically throughout the month.
Boulevard Tavern isn't even a decade old, but it feels well-worn thanks to the historic tavern it calls home. In this restored 80-year old space, wooden booths, wood paneling, and a jumble of books on shelves beside a jukebox lend a homey, comforting vibe that urges visitors to linger. Of course, the menu doesn't hurt either: 12 beers on tap provide a bubbly complement for classic pub dishes such as burgers, hot dogs, paninis, and tater tots. A projection TV regularly displays modern shows and classic films, and a full-size pool table is free to play on Thursdays. But even that might not be enough to keep bar goers from flocking to the rustic brick patio, where heaters ensure the temperature stays comfortable whether it's sunny, chilly, or raining frozen margarita.