4. Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, South Slope

Image by Saskia Kahn courtesy Freddy’s Bar and Backroom Instagram

Though technically a bar, Freddy’s, located on 627 5th Avenue, has a long history of serving as a haven for activism, creativity, and the arts. Originally a private drinking club, it played host to policemen and firefighters, then later morphed into a workingmen’s bar and speakeasy, during which it’s “Backroom” turned into a performance and event space.

After the controversial Barclays Center construction project and a subsequent re-location, Freddy’s opened with renewed vigor and attention to the arts scene. Today, it still serves plenty of alcohol, but it also functions as a music venue and a space for art exhibitions and free events.