The Brazen Head

The Brazen HeadThe Brazen Head
The Brazen HeadThe Brazen Head
Bar, Beer-to-go

228 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, New York, 11201-5730
United States

(718) 488-0430 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 34 | Ratings: 38 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

After a few samplers at the Brooklyn Brewery & a rather marvelous session in the superb Mug’s Ale House & the Spuyten Duyvil, it was time to head out to the Brazen Head. I ended up sharing a Cab with fellow BA saltydog, which in turn resulted in the netting of an Old Salty 2000 Barleywine – which in turn, was donated to, & well earned may I add, by my dearest friend Carmen for looking after me after on the NYC Crawl. They’ll put anything on yer head in NYC when you catch a quick nap you know!... & no-one messes with Carmen, so I was in good hands.

The Brazen Head is quite strange, it’s a juxta-pose “jumble” of a building, the designer must have been on LSD when he came up with this one – it’s all wrong, wonky & crooked, like something from Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory meets Doctor Who’s TARDIS - where do all the angles come from? It looks normal from outside, but once inside, you feel as though you are filtered & funneled into the bottom of a PoolTable Triangle as you enter deeper into the shrinking bar.

To your left is a reasonable sized countered bar, with a even more reasonable selection, about 12 taps, some regular stuff but also some great beers, I remember the Victory Storm King Stout. Of course, by the time I arrived, the place was “heaving” with BA’s of all names, sex, race, size & political persuasion; yet they were all happily discussing the one thing that really matters in life – Beer.

As soon as I entered, I got chance to have a brief meeting with “Mr. Alex”, Third Lord of the Imbiber & Cask Staff Sergeant. Bloody Limeys get everywhere! However, I could forgive his transgression from the Mother Land, for here, to the back righthandside of the Pub, or the pointy bit of the triangle as I politely explained to one fellow quaffer, was a twin deck set of stillaged Firkins. The range was quite phenomenal. The casks were well looked after & the beer was in tip-top condition, as I can attest to, after having tried several of the beers here.

Overall, the strange shape of Pub makes it feel weird, & the buzzing atmosphere on my visit, whilst great, meant that I had to remain awake at all times, which was a real draw-back. Oh well, guess I could grab a nap a Sparky’s later on.

Cheers to Alex & the Brazen Head though, I actually got to caress a real Firkin, something I have not done in a long time. But you know what, wet towels placed on the Casks really are the best way to keep them cool – its all about the Thermodynamics you know > no-one believes me!

Nov 25, 2003
More User Reviews:
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jjboesen from Maryland

4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Located on bustling Atlantic Avenue, a few blocks from the former Waterfront Ale House, Brazen Head is a classic dive bar, that is a friendly atmospheric hole where one can relax over a few well-poured pints. This is no-frills territory: no food, no table service and no pretensions. It is a single room with high tin-ceiling and hardwood floors that is centered around a long weather beaten bar. Excellent selection of local crafts. Decent background music helps out. It is hard to leave once you've sunken in.

They also offer events as well. Another reason why Brooklyn is becoming a great beer town - or borough, anyway.

Update: Stopped by again in January 2016; still a great place to chill with great beer and FREE chicken wings.

Jan 21, 2015
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elamb106 from New York

3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Dec 30, 2014
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MMarkMelly from Connecticut

4/5  rDev +2.3%

Oldschool. Cute Bartenders.

Sep 11, 2014
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HoppyBeerSista from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +16.6%

Sep 06, 2014
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charlienyc from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Jan 08, 2014
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mtullius from Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

A great spot to try out some local NY brews. My bartender was extremely knowledgeable and friendly (after briefly chatting about beer, he offered to buy my 2nd round!). Beer list is not huge, but changes regularly. The list provides lots of info on when the beer went on, ABV, etc. At least one cask offered all the time. Pretzels free at the bar. Beer was heavy on the local stuff (a major plus), with a good selection of national micros too (Stone, Goose Island), and some imports too. Offers half pints and smaller glasses as well as pints. Recommended if you're in the Brooklyn Heights area.

Oct 12, 2010
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Waltwvu from Pennsylvania

3.19/5  rDev -18.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4

Know the bartender. There was only one bartender when i went after work on a Monday. Normally this is not an issue with the amount of people that were there. However, because i was not friends with or know the bartender my beers came rather slowly compared to the rest of patrons. There was another group who appeared to not know the bartender and they were served slow as well. While they did have a pretty decent tap list of both NY brews and other micros as well as 2 casks. It would be good with a small group of people looking for good beer, i was just a little let down with service. I am not asking for the bartender to chat me up the whole night, I would just like to be served a bit quicker when there are less than a dozen patrons.

Jan 26, 2010
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semihobo from Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Went on a Monday night, I guess that's never really hopping, but did they need to have the lights up and the music quiet? Hung out in the tiny garden in the back until it closed at 11.

Beer list was alright, I had a Cascazilla and some of a raspberry ale that was on special for $5 a pint, as opposed to $6 for most others. Definitely would go back for scotch over beer, the liquor lineup on chalkboards was pretty impressive.

Service was nice, got some waters offered and brought when we were clearly done with beer for the night (this was the last stop). Bartender was nice about shutting down the garden.

Above average bar but not worth a pilgrimage. Hit it if you're near Atlantic Chip Shop.

Aug 20, 2009
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RichThatchr from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Having just returned from a successful bar crawl through NYC and Brooklyn yesterday, The Brazen Head was an interesting local bar in its community, which we made a special detour to visit. It seemed to have a lot of hip patrons in their 20's to 30's drinking retro beers (PBR) at the bar and its small back yard area as the crowd was growing for an oyster special going on. I noted quite a few craft ales, but nothing that really got me going, though the cask selection was good. I made a note to myself to return another day before commenting further because I clearly wasn't seeing the special nature of the place.

Apr 19, 2009
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bonbini26 from New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Stopped in for a beer around lunch time. Again went here when it 1st opened so cant really comment on the crowd or vibe here. As far as the beers go, mostly local stuff (brooklyn, chelsea, sixpoint, kelso, blue point) Old speckled hen. The kelso was on special @$4.75, most beers were around $6. 2 cask lines, with Victory hop devil and chelsea's ipa. They also had a large scotch selection if thats ur fancy. Downside is that they do not have a kitchen, but they do serve cheese during happy hour during the week. Overall it seems like a pretty chill local beer bar with no frills. Not nearly the selection of the downtown bar & grill but they do focus more on the local stuff which is nice to see

Oct 09, 2008
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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I've been to the Brazen Head for a few cask events and a few times on a normal day. The setup is good with lots of dark wood and lots of taps. The selection isn't overly stellar, but you shouldn't have trouble finding something you'll like. And they to have casks on too. Service is attentive, but I don't think there's a mass of beer knowledge at your disposalvia the bartenders. All the girls that work there are nice enough, but really: soap operas on the tv? Uh. Ca do without that. Overall a decent spot.

Aug 21, 2008
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jwc215 from Arizona

3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Narrow entrance-way on Atlantic Ave. Pretty dark/medium lighting, with a long, narrow bar. Not much room to stand behind the stools. Small outside area in the back.

Service was friendly and pretty quick for the amount of people there.

Reasonably priced with beers at $4 a half-pint and about $6 (depending on the beer) for a pint.

There were fourteen beers on tap and two more on-cask (other than the cask beers for the cask festival). Good selection - all craft with one import (Stella) - and a cider, including some rarer ones.

Certainly worth a visit if you are in the area!

Nov 04, 2007
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tempest from New York

4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped by while visiting a friend in Brooklyn. Seems like a pretty nice neighborhood bar. About 15 taps, almost entirely craft with locals plus a couple casks of local beer. It was a slow Friday night, just a some folks hanging out (one guy had his pug), and a few drunks cheering for the Yankees game.

The bartender was friendly and fast, not that there was much for him to do, but he did it well. I have to give them props for their draft list. They had presumably the date of the keg tapping next to each beer. There was also a special on Chelsea's stout.

Nice atmosphere, good times had by all.

Sep 15, 2007
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voidmyrules from New York

4.3/5  rDev +10%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This is my default beer bar in my new neighborhood. I used to live in the east village and dug the Hop Devil Grill, still do in fact and hit that place up when I visit my old roommates

IThe Brazen Head is an unpretentious, divey type place with a friendly staff who know their beer and their customers as well.

They have a nice number of taps, 15, with 2 casks and they change out their selection every couple of weeks, favoring northeast brews.

A nice place to have a beer, even when its crowded.

Their bi annual cask fests are a good time...

Apr 15, 2007
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plaid75 from New York

4.58/5  rDev +17.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Located on Atlantic Avenue, east of Court Street. Narrow storefront with an outside beer garden.

The draft list included Chelsea Black Hole Stout, Ramstein Belgian Double on cask, Guinness, Boddington's, Sierra Nevada Schwarzbier, Captain Lawrence Pale Ale, Southampton Double White, Stella Artois, Yuengling, Kelso Hop Lager, Woodchuck Cider, Jever, Wolavers IPA, Avery IPA, Brooklyn Lager, Goose Island Honker's Ale and Blue Point Cherry Chocolate Stout on cask.

The interior was quaint with a good amount of seating and old breweriana on the wall.

Greg was an excellent bartender who knows his beer and his music. Super nice guy to boot.

Mar 16, 2007
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86sportster883 from Maryland

4/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

And the Oscar for the Best Cask Beer selection goes to...

My neighbor George and I drove into Brooklyn on Oscar Sunday to catch the tail end of the 11th Tri-annual Cask Ale Festival at the Brazen Head. The place was practically empty at 1pm when we arrived but by 4pm, when we left, the bar was mostly full.

The Brazen Head is a wedge shaped bar in downtown Brooklyn, right on Atlantic Ave. It's an old place with a painted tin ceiling and brick walls adorned with old beer signs and baseball memorabilia (mostly Ebbets Field and Brooklyn Dodgers related).

The bar itself runs the better part of the length of one wall, and two large wooden booths provide additional seating by the Brazen Head's front windows. The crowd is very local, and comprised primarily of repeat customers from earlier in the weekend. Two of the bar's three TV's carried Duke vs. St. John’s game (sound off) as the music morphed from an old-timer's Jazz selection to classic vinyl rock.

A single female bartender handled the bar and its two hand pumps, while two jovial gentlemen handled the gravity fed casks set up in the back. The service was very friendly, and the beers did indeed justify the trip from central NJ. Pours were $5/pint, $3/half pint and we had a choice of six of the festival's remaining casks. Naturally, we tried them all:

1. Chelsea Hop Angel - An American IPA that I thought was a little thin bodied, but otherwise a very nice IPA,
2. Hooker Irish Red - probably my favorite of the day,
3. Brooklyn Winter Ale - not my favorite style, but I found this one to be very drinkable. Much better than what I remembered of the tap version,
4. Northampton Daniel Shay's Best Bitter - This was George’s favorite of the day, I wasn’t as crazy about it, but would certainly agree that it was a good bitter,
5. Butternut Moo Thunder Stout - A milk stout with a great nose but otherwise unmemorable, and
6. Six Point Black Market Porter - A good porter with a very nice chocolate & roast malt nose.

We were there for the cask beer, but the Brazen Head also offered an impressive selection of over two dozen tap beers that included offerings from Ithaca, Southampton, Chelsea, Abita, Long Trail, and, of course, the Brooklyn Brewery (among others). There was no real food being offered, but they didn't seem to mind if you ordered food into the bar. We asked for a recommendation on where to eat and one of the owner's(?) didn't hesitate to send us to the Waterfront Ale House, just a block or so away. We took his advice and the food was excellent.

Feb 27, 2007
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jdoherty from New York

4.14/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I did not see any of the poor service or surly staff that everyone has been talking about in the past few months. This may be clouded by the fact that it was during the Cask Ale Festival and everyone seemed to be in high spirits. And besides,after a couple strong cask ales you really cant tell if theyre telling you to go to hell or complimenting you on your looks.

Anyway, this is a small beer bar which gets smaller as you go further back. The spread out front is the best place to hang out since there is more room. We got tickets to be served from the casks in the back. But it seemed like the bartenders were serving everyone quickly and nicely. The walls were adorned with old beer ads and the dark walls gave it a quaint feel. The selection was awesome from the casks, but the bar had tons of good brews. All very inexpensive compared to Manhattan prices.

Nov 20, 2006
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Buildscharacter from Georgia

2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

I didn't find this bar to be anything special. Apparently they have some good stuff going on there and are active in the beer community, so that's a great thing, but I wasn't impressed with the bar itself. It's kind of out of the way and, while being close to Beourm Hill and Brooklyn Heights, it doesn't really warrent a trip out there. It's close to the Waterfront Ale House, so at least there is some choice for later on in the night.

As for the beer on tap, it was similar fare to the other bars in the area and in Brooklyn, which isn't bad, but nothing out of the ordinary for the area. Maybe I just had a bad night out when i was there, but this bar failed to impress me for all the hype.

Aug 29, 2006
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schwillmaster from Oregon

2.2/5  rDev -43.7%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 3

I hate to say it, but as a regular patron of this bar for over a year, I will never return here again. While the Brazen Head used to be a solid choice for a night out with a friend, it has spoiled itself with incredibly rude, and even hostile, service.

What was once a pleasant neighborhood location for some average-to-good microbrews has become tainted by bartenders that not only have no interest or education in the beers they are serving, but also act like complete snots to their customers. Even more infuriating is the management's refusal to acknowledge this growing problem and take necessary measures against this kind of behavior.

As one of this bar's most frequent defenders, I feel like my loyalty has been betrayed. I've noticed that over the past few times I've visited, one particularly arrogant bartender is fond of playing the music at ear-shattering levels, ignoring customers, and even screaming at them if he disagrees with something they say. When I pointed this out to the owner, he surprised me by taking the side of his bartender, and said (I kid you not) that his staff were of more importance to him than his customers. Needless to say, the fun has run dry at this formerly good beer bar.

If you're lucky, you might stumble in when the service isn't ludicrous, but considering that you could find superior beer at any number of other great spots (Mug's, Barcade, Spuyten Duyvil and Hop Devil all spring to mind) why take the chance? I certainly won't.

May 02, 2006
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Nutleybeer from New Jersey

3.14/5  rDev -19.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

Was in the city, decided to stop over and do a beer visit to Brooklyn. Had been to the Waterfront Ale House before, loved it, so we figured let's give Brazen Head a try. I think I expected too much, by comparing the 2. Brazen Head is small and dark...many of the taps had a piece of paper taped over them with the styles handwritten. It was a Saturday afternoon when we went and the only food served was a stew; buffet style. That is fine, we didn't go for the food, just to check this place out which we heard a lot about.
The crowd was fine, low key, the bartender was nice looks like a cool local bar, great to hang out in...any place that takes their beers seriously should be respected. They only had 10 or so on tap. The Chelsea Blonde, though, was a nice surprise. The rest were nothing too unusual or unique.
Cool enough place, but from the countless ads and such I have read in the beer publications, I guess I expected more. Most of the crowd we saw there ended up at the Waterfront Ale House with us.
Bottom line, a decent enough place...located in a very nice, trendy area, worth popping into, but not worth seeking out on its own.

Apr 23, 2006
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atozymurgy from Maine

4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Checked this place out a few weeks ago with a friend who lives a couple blocks away. It perfectly fits my image of a great neighborhood bar. Small, with seats for about 15 at the bar and then some tables around the edges. I'll bet it's great in nice weather when the patio's open in back. We were there around 3 pm, with maybe 10 other folks, all of whom seemed to know each other and the bartenders. The bartender ran us a tab without us even asking. Very nice.

The beer selection's what makes this great though. They have about 15 good micros on draft and two in casks. The selection definitely had a local focus, with most beers coming from NY, PA, NJ, CT. There's a handy board telling you all the offerings, with the excellent feature of dates the cask was tapped. (There's also an equally exciting board with all the scotches to be had!) I tried a Penn St. Nik's, which was good, and a Brooklyn Bitter, perfectly served from the cask, which was fantastic. Nothing like real ale served within blocks of the brewery. My friend had SN Celebration, which probably equalled my two beers' cumulative bigness.

If you're in the area, you should definitely check this out. If I lived in Brooklyn I'd be here every day. And reading the latest posts about the cask fest, I think I know when I'll be back...

Mar 01, 2006
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johnniemarg from New York

4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

The Brazen Head cask fest was prime attraction that led me to one of the best days of beer drinking (and great food) fun I've ever had. Met friends at Heartland Union Square then took the 4 train to Brooklyn and had lunch at Waterfront Ale house, then went to the cask fest for a while, then took a cab to Barcade, then went back into Manhattan for a BBQ dinner at Blue Smoke (washed down with their house ale) and then finished off the night at my usual haunt, David Copperfield's. Awesome day. Anyway, The Brazen Head is a cool little bar.

It's oddly shaped as everyone notes, widest in the front but the place is triangular and narrows towards the rear. Bar on the left, with an exposed brick wall behind it. Really old looking tin advertisements on the walls. On the right are the bathrooms. There's a little nook on the right in the rear of the bar where they set up the casks for the cask festival. Also, there's a small outdoor area in back.

The taps are on the bar (again, I think taps belong on the wall) and there are about 15 of them and 2 cask engines. There is a chalkboard detailing the scoth and beer selection. The chalkboard also notes the date each keg was tapped - a very nice touch that suggests a focus on quality. The beers on tap weren't really all that special compared to some other NYC beer bars. I went to so many places that I can't remember each place's selection all that well, I need to start taking photos with my cell phone so I can give better explanations of why I don't think a place's selection isn't all that special.

The service was great. Everyone who worked there was really friendly and made me feel at home. Imbiber was serving up the cask ales and chatting with the folks.

They don't serve food on a regular basis, but I guess they serve cheese on some nights and they apparently were offering food for the cask fest.

The cask fest, hosted by Imbiber, is the big draw for this place. I had four cask ales while I was there: Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, Sixpoint Black Soul Porter, Blue Point Poor Richard's Ale and the Heartland (Greenpoint) Scotch Ale. There were 20 or so casks. Awesome. I can't wait for the next one and I'm tempted to jump back on the train and have a few more.

This place is worth a visit if you're in the area, but the cask fest is a must.

Feb 26, 2006
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I am always intrigued by this place when I walk in. My college buddy lived nearby at one point and was flabbergasted when I asked him to take me here for the first time several years ago.

Entering through a pair of doors and a pseudo-vestibule, one encounters a unique situation: a long bar to the left and a series of tables and chairs to the right. Standard, no? Ah, but there's the hidden vig - the right-hand wall, which features advertising (vintage and otherwise), photographs, and local artwork, also serves as the foundation for the men's and women's heads. As such, the space narrows like a funnel heading aft. All of the way aft is a pair of doors, side by side, that lead into the Bier Garten, a favorite hang-out for smokers. The left-hand wall, including the bar, is exposed brickwork, which always jumpstarts yours truly. They also feature a LOT of vintage tin and steel advertising (be still, my beating heart) as well as fifteen (15) taps and two (2) beer engines! Heaven.

The uninitiated may not realize it, but my PA privileges have been revoked after years of abuse, hence my desire to travel. When I come here, it is comforting to see my picture prominently displayed, ala every post office nationwide. Kidding. In all seriousness, I am always well received by Lou, Sasha, and Kendra. This is like home. I love this place! They know beer, they know hospitality, and they know their constituency. Okay, now I'm drooling ... Gotta go, but first, props to Imbiber for hosting their semi-annual Cask Head Fest.

Nov 09, 2005
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GreatPondBrewer from California

3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

I really like the feel of the Head. The wood floors the somewhat cramped feel and the obvious fact that it is a UK transplant is very cool. In addition it is really easy to get to by train and is on a cool little block. Everyone working was pretty laid back and the vibe of the patrons was definitely more sophisticated and a tad older than I. Nevertheless a wonderful place.

As for the beer he is what I can say: The two handengines allow for some pretty cool stuff to come through, but besides that the selection is pretty meh as far as a beerbar goes, however the Cask Festival is absolutely awesome. There were some great beers to be had. The Righteous from SixPoint was incredible on cask and the selection was overwhelmingly superior to most things I have seem in the city. Too bad every day couldn't be like that.

Regardless, when around the Bourough Hall area be sure to stop in.

Nov 05, 2005
The Brazen Head in Brooklyn, NY
Place rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 38 ratings