Brooklyn sights for grown-up arty types
August 24, 2006 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Weekend trip to Brooklyn in October to hang out. Anything you recommend? Restaurants, galleries, shops, hang-outs, etc.

I think we're staying at a B&B in Park Slope. I'll be 5 months pregnant by then so we won't be bar-hopping but we do want a nice, mellow trip with a focus on the country's fourth-largest pseudo-city. We may go to Manhattan to meet some people for lunch one day but other than that it's all about laughing at hipster costumery, eating great food, and buying local handmade goods/art. (Think in terms of aesthetic.) Please share your secrets.
posted by pomegranate to Travel & Transportation around Brooklyn, NY (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go to Handmade Brooklyn on Smith. They actually have those pink and black bud vases in the second picture. I LOVE that store. You'll have a great trip.

Go to Joya for Thai, also in Cobble Hill (north of the Slope).
posted by sweetkid at 8:27 AM on August 24, 2006

If you can make it down to Bay Ridge, (R train only) I can recommend Casa Pepe for an excellent (although maybe expensive) meal. Great Sangria, although I'm guessing you won't be drinking.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:27 AM on August 24, 2006

I recommend the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
posted by thesiameseffect at 8:28 AM on August 24, 2006

Response by poster: Oh and we also like performance art, puppet shows, ladies with accordions, that kind of thing.
posted by pomegranate at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2006

Greenjeans (7th ave btw 15th and 16th sts) and Cog & Pearl (5th ave and Berkeley pl) are two great Park Slope shops for local handcrafted good/arts. You'll find similar stores near each of them (on 5th and 7th aves). Maybe I just don't notice Park Slope costumery anymore, but I think you really need to go to Williamsburg for the full hipster effect. Which is a pain to get to from Park Slope.
posted by nevers at 8:35 AM on August 24, 2006

posted by pieoverdone at 8:38 AM on August 24, 2006

Go to either 360 or The Good Fork in sceninc Red Hook. You can take the B77 bus from Park Slope, or just take a car service.
posted by jivadravya at 8:41 AM on August 24, 2006

Best answer: Staying in Park Slope? Cafe Steinhof (7th Ave + 15th St) and the Second Street Cafe (7th Ave + 2nd St) offer killer brunches, both of the Austrian and American varieties. Park Slope is also one of the city's greatest eating neighborhoods - far too much to get into here, but make sure to eat at Al Di La and Stone Park Cafe for the highbrow and Christie's Jamaican Bakery (Jamaican beef patties) on Flatbush Ave. and Terrace Bagels on Prospect Park Southwest for the low-brow. It's also a hike, but Madiba in Fort Greene has some truly great South African food.

The Pavillion (at the southwest end of Prospect Park) is an amazing 1930s-vintage movie theatre and the Brooklyn Academy of Music nearby in Fort Greene has plenty of art films, along with a ton of cultural events. The Brooklyn Museum is easy walking distance as well. Try to time your visit for the beginning of the month, the Brooklyn Museum offers DJs, a dancefloor and free admission (!) for First Saturdays.

As for the hipsters, you'll find some along 5th Ave and the strip there around Gorilla Coffee, Southpaw and Beacon's Closet, but for the real fun you will have to go to Williamsburg. Either a $15 cab ride to Bedford & North 7th or a trip on the F train from 7th Avenue to Smith-9th St and a transfer on the G train to Metropolitan Ave (which is 20 minutes as the crow flies, but the G train is, as they say, irregular...).

Hope that helps and don't forget to check out Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island and all the other neighborhoods past the hipster borderline. Enjoy Brooklyn!
posted by huskerdont at 9:13 AM on August 24, 2006

whoops. stray html tag there. damn.
posted by huskerdont at 9:14 AM on August 24, 2006

I can't recommend highly enough a walk along the Brooklyn Heights promenade and then across the Brooklyn Bridge (pix here, not sure they do it justice). By October it won't be too hot, particularly if you go in the late afternoon/early evening, as the lights of lower Manhattan begin to flicker on.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:22 AM on August 24, 2006

Jack the Horse Tavern in Brooklyn Heights (Hicks & Cranberry, a five minute walk from the first A stop in Brooklyn) is fantastic.
posted by gsh at 9:31 AM on August 24, 2006

Peter Luger's Steak House is probably the best steak house in America, and Located right underneath the WIlliamsburg Bridge. Prospect Park is great, and you'll be right there, so that's cool. Honestly, just exploering Seventh Avenue in the area where you'll be staying could take up a nice October weekend.

But definitely do Peter Lugers, though you might want to start trying to make a reservation today.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2006

If you have enough time in your schedule to take the Q train south to Midwood, and if you don't mind scruffy ambiance and a long wait, I will share a Brooklyn secret with you:

DiFara's Pizzeria of Avenue J

Best fookin' slice in all the five boroughs. Right across the street is a branch of The Kosher Bagel Hole. They sell the best bagels in the city -- but NOT at that particular branch. If you want the absolute best, walk west on Avenue J until you get to Coney Island Avenue. Make a left turn and head south on Coney Island Avenue until you see their store at 1431 Coney Island Ave, near Avenue K. These guys (The Kosher Bagel Hole, not DiFara's) are Sabbath observers and you mentioned a weekend trip so you might want to keep that in mind if you decide to pay them a visit.
posted by jason's_planet at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2006

Best answer: You don't have to go out of Park Slope for Thai as the same owners of Joya opened Song, on 5th Ave and 2nd St. Great thai food and cheap.

If you want to play some bocce ball, head over to Union Hall (gets packed on weekend nights, so try going in the early evening) on Union between 5th and 6th Ave.

I second the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (and on Saturdays it's free from 10am until noon). It's right next to the Brooklyn Museum. I just went to see the Corpse Flower (in bloom, but not stinky) and it's quite beautiful. Although if you want to picnic, Prospect Park is a better option.

For high end dining in the Slope, a lot of people are fond of Blue Ribbon and Blue Ribbon Sushi, both on 5th Ave.

On Saturdays & Sundays, there's a swap meet on 7th Ave. and 1st St. in the school parking lot, though the number of vendors depends on the weather.

The Tea Lounge on Union between 6th & 7th Aves is a great place to hang out, it's big with lots of couches. I'm not a huge fan of their coffee (but hey, I like Starbucks Caramel Macciatos, so I can't be trusted), but the atmosphere is good and in the evenings they often have live music.

Hope you have a great time in my neighborhood! Watch out for the Stroller Mafia.
posted by witchstone at 10:35 AM on August 24, 2006

If you do walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and I highly recommend it, make sure you stop into Jacques Torres' Chocolate factory/store at 66 Water Street (Brooklyn end of bridge). If you are lucky, you can watch the chocolate makers at work.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:34 AM on August 24, 2006

Oh, and a couple Brooklyn blogs... EatingforBrooklyn, and DopeOnThe Slope.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2006

Sixpoint Craft Ales in Red Hook.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:06 PM on August 24, 2006

If you want to do some upscalish dining, I suggest checking out The Grocery in Carroll Gardens. It's @ 288 Smith Street, between Union and Sacket. The food and service are both absolutely wonderful. Smith Street is pretty fun to walk around on, with lots of unique little shops and restaurants - it should be right up your alley in terms of what you say you want to do.
posted by discokitty at 1:31 PM on August 24, 2006

Definitely Nest. It's on 7th Ave between 12th and 14th (I'm not sure which block, and they have zero web presence), and it is right along the lines of the design site you listed.

Also the Living stores (Living on 7th, 5th, and Smith) -- same aesthetic, though (seems to be) more mass produced.

If you forgo the 2nd B at your place of lodging, I'd also suggest brunch at Applewood on 11th St. btwn 7th and 8th Aves. It's excellent.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 2:25 PM on August 24, 2006

discokitty is right about The Grocery restaurant, its wonderful.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:34 PM on August 24, 2006

When I lived in Gowanus (Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill-ish), I loved these places:

Grocery, 288 Smith St (upscale New American - check out this NPR story about it)
Zaytoon's, 283 Smith St (BEST babaghanoush I've ever had)
Rosewater, Union St at 6th Ave (Middle Eastern + New American, sort of)
Cafe Luluc, 214 Smith St (kick-ass French brunch)
Tuk Tuk, 204 Smith St (great authentic Thai, better than Joya and less trendy)
Grimaldi's, 19 Old Fulton St (best pizza in NYC)
and my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood: Patois, 255 Smith St (new French)

To do:
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, mentioned above, if you're into plants and flowers.

Prospect Park. Hang out! It's a beautiful place.

The Brooklyn Museum is great, with a really good Near Eastern collection, and other good stuff, especially First Saturdays.

The church where Al Capone was married in 1918, St. Mary's Star of the Sea, is at 487 Court Street.

And I'm surprised nobody has yet mentioned the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg, which gives tours and tastings.

Smith Street is chock-full of boutiques between Atlantic Ave and 4th Street, where most of the above establishments are located. These are the places you're interested in, based on your OP. Have a great time!
posted by The Michael The at 2:41 PM on August 24, 2006

If you do go to Williamsburg in search of hipster central.... Galapagos art space is one of those places. There are more than a few galleries in Williamsburg .... Pierogi2000 being the most established, and a good jumping of point.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:54 PM on August 24, 2006

If you do go to Williamsburg in search of hipster central.... Galapagos art space is/was one of those places. There are more than a few galleries in Williamsburg .... Pierogi2000 being the most established.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:56 PM on August 24, 2006

(whoops ... got distracted and posted twice... sorry)
posted by R. Mutt at 3:57 PM on August 24, 2006

Refinery on Smith Street, has really fantastic handmade bags. If you walk down Smith Street, there's also some cute kids/baby shops.

I'm recommending that you do not go to Joya. The space is great but the food isn't something to rave over and there's much better food to be had in Brooklyn. Instead, I recommend Frankie's 17 Spuntino for dinner or brunch.
posted by hooray at 10:26 PM on August 24, 2006

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