The Charleston

Bands / Beer / Budget-friendly / Casual / Crowded / Dive / Dive Bar / Early 30s / Eclectic / Grungy / Happy Hour / High Energy / Hipster / Historic Bar / Jeans / Jukebox / Laid back / Live Band / Live Music / Live Music Venue / Locals / Metal / Mid 20s / Pizza / Punk / Punks / Ripped Fishnets / Rock / Rowdy / Shots / T-shirts / TVs / Theme Nights / Yupster
The Charleston The Charleston in Williamsburg is a longstanding New York dive with cheap booze, free pizza, & loud music. Get your punk on in NYC with Party Earth! New York United States 40.718165 -73.9576809
3.49 7
The Charleston - Dive Bar | Historic Bar | Live Music Venue in New York.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review In the heart of Williamsburg’s ongoing transformation (de-evolution?) from grungy to chic, The Charleston remains proudly on the grungy side. Old chandeliers cast a dim glow over this rough-around-the-edges dive, creating... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    L: Bedford Avenue / North 7 Street

  • Phone:

    718-599-9599

  • Hours:

    Daily noon–4am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Charleston Review

The Scene

The Charleston in Williamsburg is a longstanding New York dive with cheap booze, free pizza, & loud music. Get your punk on in NYC with Party Earth!

In the heart of Williamsburg’s ongoing transformation (de-evolution?) from grungy to chic, The Charleston remains proudly on the grungy side.

Old chandeliers cast a dim glow over this rough-around-the-edges dive, creating soft shadows that hide the nicks in the ratty tables and checkered floor that have probably been there since the place opened in 1933.

A mirror-backed bar dominates the front area, with a few booths to one side and a propped-up flat-screen perpetually tuned to Netflix selections.

Like the décor, the prices are also a throwback, attracting tatted wild ones, metalheads, adventurous hipsters, and reformed yuppies, who slouch in to siphon $5 beer and shot combos and reminisce over the hardcore punk blasting on the stereo.

Further back, next to a set of classroom desks slathered in graffiti, the kitchen dishes out cheese pizzas, which are free during the impressive noon-to-8pm Happy Hour and cost only a measly buck after that.

More tables and open floor space unfold further back, where local bands used to thrash out music on random nights, though now they are more likely to set up in the unkempt bomb shelter of a basement.

Routinely packed on Fridays and Saturdays, the place draws a good crowd for Tuesday Trivia as well, while the rest of the week promises a mellow spot – save for the pulsing juke – to get hosed.

No one dresses up for The Charleston, but anyone who likes rowdy vibes and cheap drinks will want to dance over right now.

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Tip from Jonah:

Though the schedule can be sporadic, ask the bartender for info on any upcoming shows. The energy and craziness of seeing a live gig in the basement is a worthwhile experience.

  • Crowd

    Grungy crust punks, metalheads, carelessly stylish Williamsburg hipsters, and yuppies remembering their glory days, mid-20s to early 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Flat-screen tuned to assortment of Netflix selections.

    Local bands play on random nights from 8pm. Call venue for schedule.

    Jukebox stocked with punk and rock and more punk.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Free personal cheese pizza (toppings extra) available noon to 8pm. Happy Hour daily noon–8pm.

  • Prices

    Pizza $1, free before 8pm with $5+ drink purchase, extra toppings $1/each. Beer $3–$6, cocktails and wells $5–$13, beer and shot combos $5.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to grungy: t-shirts, jeans, plaid, torn band tees, patched-up pants, ripped fishnets, midriff-bearing tops.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Tuesdays for the popular trivia night, Friday and Saturday nights for a packed and raucous house, or random nights to check out an eclectic local band.

  • Close By

    Just down the block is Spike Hill (184-186 Bedford Avenue), a longtime favorite music venue featuring nightly concerts and a divey lounge that opens early and offers a full bar and a full menu of greasy grub.

The Charleston User Reviews

Average rating:
It's dark. It's crowded. It's loud. It's cheap. It's everything you want in a Williamsburg watering hole.
Alexandre P. Jun 11, 2013
Located prominently on Bedford Ave, right off the L, The Charleston is considered by many locals to be a mainstay of the Williamsburg bar scene. And with good reason. Open every day from noon to 4am, with indoor and outdoor seating, good cocktails, an fine draft selection (15 beers on tap), and a happy hour that runs from open to 8pm and includes a free pizza with every drink, this is a spot for any time of the day or night. Casual meet-ups, post-work drinks, and serious binging all accommodated and indeed encouraged. All sorts frequent this place. Plus they have a deal where you can get a shot and a beer for $5. The bartenders are congenial, the service prompt, the prices are reasonable (for the area), and they take credit cards. The bathrooms are clean enough, as is the place on the whole, allowing you to enjoy the loud and rowdy dive bar atmosphere without the proliferous bouquet of dive bar odor. Enjoy games? Play some Skeeball. Yes, you read correctly. Skeeball. Or Big Buck Hunter if you're feeling murderous, and in the hustle and bustle of the modern day, let's be honest, who isn't? Did I mention the free pizza? It's not just free, it's actually GOOD. All in all, as fine a bar as any in Hipster Mecca, and a better one than many.
Fun for Trivia
Allison F. Feb 11, 2013
The Charleston is fine, it has the never ending appeal of a free pizza with your drink. I generally only go for trivia, so I can't speak for The Charleston on weekends, but trivia there is always fun, with a good crowd (not too crowded! a major plus) some attractive characters playing pool, and some very sweet bartenders.
A great loss
Chris K. Nov 13, 2012
The Charleston was, for the longest time, the best place in Brooklyn to see or play an awesome underground metal show. I remember Landmine Marathon tearing the basement apart with an epic performance full of roiling headbangers. Unfortunately, the bar has closed down its basement space to bands, and now acts as simply another divey Williamsburg joint, albeit one with pizza for a dollar. If you need a place to booze up along Bedford, by all means stop into the Charleston. But those desiring a rocking good time should look elsewhere--this once-great well of brutality and chaos has run dry.
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