The hip and thirsty flock to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for its never-ending supply of rustic-chic watering holes, many of which are owned by proud expats slinging nostalgia and drinks from their homelands. Don’t wait for the next World Cup to toast other countries. Let’s spin the globe and drink like the Cubans, French, Japanese, Germans, and Scottish do—all steps from the Bedford Ave L train stop. Gather up your friends and your drinking courage before you embark on this epic Williamsburg bar crawl.
Isle of Skye
(Scottish) Start strong with a selection from the giant book of whiskies, which are arranged by region. Get a recommendation, perhaps a Glenlivet 15-Yr from Speyside ($14) or a Dalmore 12-Yr from the Highlands ($12), from the fiery owner (if you can hear through his brogue). From your seat on one of the black velvet couches, you can catch a bit of premier league football and some Brit-pop tunes while filling up on fortifying bar snacks like the tasty curry pie. 488 Driggs Ave.; isleofskyepub.com
(French) Spirited yet? Keep up that buzz at this friendly bistro where the cocktails (and the hipsters) are infused with a touch of joie de vivre. Try the French 75 (gin, sparkling wine, lemon, and sugar, $10) or the Sazerac (rye whiskey, absinthe, bitters, and sugar, $12). For beer, you can’t go wrong with the house draft, Juliette Lager ($7). 135 N. 5th St.; juliettewilliamsburg.com
(Japanese) A few blocks away and you are drinking in a new continent. Sake and shochu (Japanese vodka) are the featured spirits at this sexy slice of a bar with dark wood walls, garden features, and a vaulted skylight ceiling. Pair your zen-soused cocktail with small plates of oysters or curry-spiced shrimp popcorn tempura. 77 N. 6th St.; akariba.com
(Cuban) A kick of Jazz-age Havana livens up this subdued reclaimed warehouse. Get a boost from the salsa beat and a dose of rum—key components of Cuban life. A good choice for a lighter drink is the refreshing Social Mojito (3-yr rum, muddled mint, lime, and ginger syrup, $10). For the die-hard, order the prohibition style concoction, El Presidente (7-yr rum, spiced grenadine, vermouth and cointreau, $12). 70 N. 6th St.; cubanasocial.com
Radegast Hall & Biergarten
(Austro-Hungarian) A bar crawl is not the time to slug down a huge stein of hearty Hofbrau Original Lager, so go for a pint ($7) or a beer cocktail, like the Shandy-Gaff (Pilsner, Lemon, Ginger, $8). Squeeze yourself into a spot on one of the long wooden picnic benches in the airy indoor garden space, where you can order a kielbasa or a soft pretzel and join a crowded festival vibe. 113 N. 3rd St.; radegasthall.com
(Mexican) A visit to this cozy spot with low light, red walls, and a glistening chandelier, will have you feeling like a guest at a dinner party. Get to know your friendly hosts as you sip a superior margarita or the Tequila Martini. If you’re ready for a meal, stay where you are. Stave off your hangover with a decadently-rich guacamole and chips or the Enchiladas de Mole Chocolate. 58 N. 3rd St.; cantinaroyal.com.