1208 Surf Ave.
Named for the Coney Island Circus Sideshow next door, this bar serves a variety of beer and you can often catch a glimpse of some of the freaky performers while they’re on break. Feel like a local and order a Coney Island Lager from New York’s own Shmaltz Brewing Co. and strike up a chat with a sword swallower or a bearded lady.
Ruby’s Bar and Grill
1213 Riegelmanns Boardwalk
Ruby’s has been endangered for the past few years, and this summer is expected to be its last on the boardwalk. The remaining family-owned bar at Coney Island, complete with surly bartenders, Ruby’s is the quintessential beachside dive. Come for a $5 beer and fried seafood, stay for the people-watching.
3070 Stillwell Ave.
Directly on the beach and offering a variety of beer as well as wine, Beer Island is something of an adult oasis at Coney Island. Find shelter under a beach umbrella and imagine you are on an island much further south. Rumor has it that Beer Island may also be on the chopping block after this season due to the continued redevelopment of the amusement park, so enjoy its charms while you can.
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Selena Ricks-Good writes about drinks and produces events as The Dizzy Fizz.