Sparky's Ale House


481 Court Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11231
United States

// CLOSED //

View: Place Reviews
Reviews by Imbiber:
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Imbiber from New York

4.01/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 5

An excellent selection of unusual and ever-changing beers can generally be found at this dog-friendly, basic beer/wine bar - Sparky is/was an actual dog belonging to one of the partners. The beers often include rarities and things not seen anywhere else in the city; I even held my wedding reception in there a couple of years ago. Gerry, the manager, hails originally from Ireland and is very knowledgeable about beer. The bottle selection is very wide with mainly good imports too.

However, one gripe I have sometimes is that Sparky's is sometimes let down by poor communication of what their tap beers are and where they're from - recently they were selling "Black Sun Stout" (no brewery quoted, but I discovered later by looking it up on this site that it was probably from Three Floyds), the barmaid didn't know who brewed it. What's the point of sourcing rare beers, and then passing them off anonymously like that?

Also, cask beers are hit-and-miss with both availability and sometimes temperature issues.

The bar itself features tap handles, thousands of them, stretching round a long shelf running along the walls. There are a few tables at the front, by the door, opposite which is a bank of four beer engines mounted on the bar top. There is a central pool table (the floor adjacent to which appears to be sinking into the ground!), darts, and old video games at the back. Bring your own food. Opens at 4pm, maybe earlier on weekends. Doesn't usually seem to be as busy as I remember it, probably an effect of the smoking ban.

It may have its odd faults, but Sparky's is still a Brooklyn icon for rare beer in my opinion.

Dec 16, 2003
More User Reviews:
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Weissenheimer from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

There are a bunch of reasons why I'm thrilled to have found out about Sparky's. The most obvious, but perhaps not the most important, are locale and content. It's only one stop on the F, or a 10-15 minute walk, from my apartment. There's an impressive selection of beer on tap which is usually served in an appropriate glass. I even found out recently that they've had Davidson Brothers beer in the past; I can't wait until they get it back.

What I really like about Sparky's are the things that aren't so easy to quantify. Everyone who works there seems welcoming and friendly; there's a kind of quiet, low-key, homey atmosphere to the place. Vibe isn't easy to pin down, but I can tell you that this place has a good one. Sure, I could wish for the TV to go away, but at least it's not played at an ear-splitting volume. The jukebox has a fantastic and eclectic selection. But the real bonus for me is the game room in back. Between the pool table and the pinball game stands a speeded-up version of Ms. Pac Man, which happens to be one of my favorite games of all time. Making friends, feeling at home, listening to some Johnny Cash, and sipping winter ales with one hand while playing Ms. Pac Man with the other. What more could I possibly ask for?

Dec 16, 2003
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The official last stop on the BA NYC Rally, the unofficial one was of course Spuyten Duyvil where most of headed to after here (what animals we are).

I will be honest enough to say that I was ever so “lightly oiled” by the time I got here, yet remember enough of the surroundings to be dangerous enough to write a BeerFly. Bar to the right, traditional looking affair, dark red painted walls, at least 2 Dart Boards (cool – this get special Limey Love points), a funky Pinball Machine, some kind of Space Invader game and a Pool Table (nice but in the way). Oh yeah, and a Statue of a Dog.

Beer range was even more memorable something like 25 Taps in all I think. I did however immediately notice an impressive array of Glassware – that always scores points in my BF book under Quality. The atmosphere here was a little rowdy – bordering on riotous at times I recall, but always under control – somehow. I remember the Maudite on Tap and the Jever Dark, both of which I ordered, but I think I kept putting my glass down somewhere and walking off after only a few mouthfuls, only to forget where I put my Glass later. What a night!!!!

Oh look some Photos: Hmm the Bros. both seem to be staring at a Statue of a Dog with a slice of Pizza on its head, and a drunken Englishman half fallen over and wrapped around its base. Is that me….??

Ah, the official ending of a great NYC BA Rally & PubCrawl.

I must get back here – Sober - and do a BeerFly more befitting of this fine establishment.

Nov 26, 2003
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moon0 from New York

4.66/5  rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Sparky's is one of my favorite bars. Foremost, it's a dog-friendly,
neighborhood bar. It has won NY Press and Citysearch accolades for being so, and on a busy weekend, it's hopping with a real laid-back vibe. It's also an excellent beer bar. It's minimally, but effectively decorated with White Christmas lights weaved around old tap handles. Sparky's always has an interesting selection of beers (a good mix of imports and micros) on tap and in bottles. Beer is taken seriously here as the staff tries to serve your selection in it's appropriate glassware. There's a pool table, a back room with video games and an excellent jukebox with all my favorite Velvets, Stones and Dolls tunes. The best thing about Sparkey's though, is it's owner Gerry who's a great host, and makes all feel welcome. He'll always have time to say hi and chat, no matter how busy he is. Even though my neighborhood (Williamsburg) has a bunch of noteworthy bars,
I don't mind making the trip out -- it's that good.

Oct 29, 2003
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wbthink from New York

4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Sparky's has a great vibe. A "regular/comfortable" local bar feel, great beer selection (bottles and draft), and a friendly staff make this a must. Four-legged friends grace Sparky's from time to time, and add to the local flair. They usually have a cask beer or two up during the cold months. The drafts change constantly, with plenty of surpises to keep you coming back. Make this part of your Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope pub crawl.

Oct 20, 2003
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saltydog from New York

4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Gerry, the owner of Sparky's, is also a great bartender, and the place has become one of the best bars in New York over the last few years. The draft selection is usually very good, sometimes great. Bottle list has been a little erratic in recent times. In addition to being a beer fanatic, I am a dog owner, and I love the fact that my dachshund is welcomed here with open arms. It's a wonderful, comfortable vibe that goes beyond just the beer, to make this an oustanding bar.

Oct 20, 2003
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slander from New York

4/5  rDev -5.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Went there tonight and found less than 1/2 the taps occupied and nothing on cask and no good explanation why, but I'm going to have to attribute it to an off night (most likely the distributors are a little behind on deliveries following our slammin' of recent bad weather). That's right, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt as I've been here a few times before and have never seen this before. On another visit, they had the Brooklyn Monsters 2000, 2001 and 2002 side by side by side and decent cask selections. They've always got quality regional american micros to be found on tap, a good bottled beer selection and some pretty interesting wines and meads.
The place itself is dim and lowly lit. They've got a great jukebox, chock full o' Tom Waits and the like, and a pool table towards the back. And from the back back, you can hear the low hum of woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo from the Ms. Pacman machine.
Sometimes I feel a bit out of place there, like everyone knows everyone else and no one knows me, but that's just because no one knows me (yet). And dog friendly?? There's at least a dog or two on premises at all times (Smithers, release the hounds...).

Feb 24, 2003
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jrancan from New Jersey

3.54/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5

Nice selection of taps and bottles, but after reading the last review, I have to agree that this place must be for 'locals only'. I would have scored it higher for atmosphere because it's one of those old grungy bars and they have a lot of dogs running around, but I felt like I had crashed someone's party. The bartender (great looking, she must have been a model), was so clueless she gave me an Aventinus Eisbock for $2 because she didn't know what it was. That's obviously not a bad thing, but I practically had to spell each beer that I wanted. Huge selection of Belgians and Germans that were in great condition. If your're looking for a place in Brooklyn, go to Mug's or the Waterfront.

Sep 04, 2002
Sparky's Ale House in Brooklyn, NY
Place rating: 4.22 out of 5 with 8 ratings