Cocktail bar Botanica in Red Hook
Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier offers great views of the Statue of Liberty and free kayaking sessions in the summer.
Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier
The semioutdoor tented dining room in the back of Pok Pok Ny, is the most atmospheric spot in the restaurant to try chef Andy Ricker's superlative Thai fare.
Red Hook Park during a SummerStage concert
Make sure to drop in to Fort Defiance, the cocktails rank among the best in the borough.
Sunny's Bar, you can't miss it, just look for this car
If the weather's nice, take a drink up to Rocky Sullivan's roof deck.
The Red Hook Pool, you weren't thinking of cooling off in the East River or Gowanus Bay were you?
IKEA Brooklyn, it's why the majority of people come to Red Hook, but escape the labyrinth of reasonably-priced goods and a charming neighborhood awaits.
The Brooklyn Crab seafood shack in Red Hook offers views of the bay and games of mini golf and cornhole in its backyard.
The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge hosts art exhibits, readings, and music, theater and dance performances.
To the southwest of Carroll Gardens, beyond the BQE, the formerly rough-and-tumble industrial locale of Red Hook remains a secluded neighborhood, thanks to the lack of subway stops, which makes it perfect for a day out exploring.
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Despite the arrival of gourmet mega-grocer Fairway and Swedish furniture superstore Ikea, the area is still home to smaller, artisanal businesses and factories, like the Sixpoint brewery. Its time-warp charm is still evident, and its decaying piers make a moody backdrop for massive cranes, empty warehouses and trucks clattering over cobblestone streets.
Red Hook suffered badly during Hurricane Sandy, with buildings flooded out and residents without electricity for weeks on end. Most businesses have reopened by now, although the community is still feeling lingering effects.
To find out more about things to do, see, eat and drink in Brooklyn and discover other neighborhoods in the area, visit our Brooklyn borough guide.
Map of Red Hook and travel information
The waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn runs south west of Hamilton Avenue (which follows the BQE) between the East River and Gowanus Bay. It borders the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Gowanus and Cobble Hill. Public transport options are limited, with the nearest subway stop being Smith-9th Streets—requiring either a 30-minute stroll into the nabe or a transfer to the B61 bus. Your other options are taking the New York Water Taxi or cycling, the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway connects Red Hook, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg via (mostly) protected bike lanes along the East River.Read more
Restaurants in Red Hook
Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson opens this coffee bar inside his Red Hook roastery. Caffeine geeks can select their bean from 30 sustainable options roasted on the premises—you can even pick your preferred brewing method (Chemex, French press, Melitta and more). A small retail area offers coffee gear and whole beans to take home.Read more
If you’re lucky enough to live or work near this legendary Red Hook sandwich shop, you know the secret of its success: massive, old-school Italian heros. Buns are layered with ingredients like ham, provolone, salami, roast beef, mozzarella and fried eggplant. In the Gramercy location, prepared dinners (macaroni with vodka sauce, chicken parmigiana) in microwaveable containers are available to go.Read more
Inspired by the open-air markets of Latin America, Cesar Fuentes (representative of the food vendors at the Red Hook ball fields) has teamed up with others in the neighborhood to convert an empty lot into just such a public space, open weekends for now with some weekdays coming later. Familiar ballfields offerings like pupusas and huaraches will be joined by more global bites, including "Spicy Bitches"—deep fried hot pork wieners from Gridnhaus (a sausage-and-beer bar yet-to-open nearby)—and "Movie Theater" cookies (chocolate chip, popcorn and gummy fish) from FattyCakes NY. A rotating group of artians selling their crafts will also make daily appearances, followed by poetry, music and other performances at night.Read more
Bars in Red Hook
This unassuming wharfside tavern has been passed down in the Balzano family since 1890. On weekends, the bar buzzes with middle-aged and new-generation bohemians (the latter distinguished by their PBR cans), and the odd salty dog (canines, not sailors). Despite the nautical feel, you’re more likely to hear bossa nova or bluegrass than sea chanties warbling from the speakers.Read more
The serious take on tippling offered at Fort Defiance is rare in isolated Red Hook, but the cocktails rank among the best in the borough. The Journalist, made with gin and vermouth, is as clean and crisp as a classic Manhattan. A Prescription Julep is an extra-potent mint julep featuring cognac and rye, poured over hand-crushed ice. If you live in the ’hood, this could be your new local spot (it opens at 7am on weekdays, serving coffee and breakfast). The frontier pricing—most drinks are under $10—helps justify the trek for the rest of us.Read more
Though this Red Hook bar is still a work-in-progress (note the tough-to-spot entrance), the easy vibe and inventive drinks list are, thankfully, fully formed. Fresh fruit can be found in cocktails like the blueberry gimlet (muddled berries, vodka and lime juice), and absinthe makes an appearance along with champagne in the sparkling Death in the Afternoon. As for food, the small-plates program has yet to arrive. Brooklyn Botanica may still be evolving, but the bones are there for a beautiful local bar.Read more
Before gastro fanatics hunkered down for a two-hour wait at Pok Pok Ny or cocktail nerds made the pilgrimage to Fort Defiance in Red Hook, seasonal bar Botanica beckoned Brooklyn locals to a quiet corner in the ’hood for its produce-driven libations and stunning Venetian-inspired room. But though the April-to-October spot gained fans from the borough, it never quite made its way onto the lips of culinary sophisticates. That may soon change (or should, at least): This past spring, one of those local admirers, Michelin-starred chef Saul Bolton—who discovered the Red Hook gem on a trip back from Fairway—rebooted the food and drink menus, with plans to keep the joint open year-round. Bolton, a pioneer of Brooklyn’s now-surging food scene, already had his hands full with his restaurants Saul, the Vanderbilt and (coming this fall) Red Gravy. But he was so charmed with Botanica that he tracked down owner Dan Preston, who also presides over the glass-windowed chocolate factory and distillery Cacao Prieto housed in the same 1846 Dutch building, and convinced Preston to let him take over operations. With Bolton’s own team in the kitchen and behind the bar, the gorgeous spot—easily one of the city’s best-looking watering holes—finally has destination-worthy food and cocktails to match the dreamy setting. DRINK THIS: Bolton installed his head barkeep at Saul, Dan Carlson, behind the stately copper bar at Botanica. Carlson’s breezy nine-drink list hits all the notes of today’s cocktail tRead more
Attractions in Red Hook
Shopping in Red Hook
Between this spacious Red Hook emporium and its smaller Chelsea locale, this plant purveyor has one of the largest selections of greenery in the city. While you’ll find gardening tools such as glossy clay pots ($20–$200) and small Fiskars hand shovels ($4), the bulk of Chelsea Garden Center’s stock is comprised of lush vegetation. Apartment-friendly picks include low-maintenance cacti ($4–$20) and air plants ($10–$20), although gorgeous orchids ($45) that bloom annually are worth the extra effort. Proud New Yorkers may claim that no city tops Gotham, but few would knock the beauty of L.A.’s palm trees. To get the best of both coasts, make room in your pad for bright green dracaenas ($17–$200) or kentia palms ($225–$350) sourced from Hawaii.Read more
After Hurricane Sandy swept through Red Hook, Shannon Lorraine moved her seven-year-old Soho boutique and showroom to help bring business back to one of her favorite neighborhoods. Located in an old furniture factory, the shop hawks seven unique and ecologically sustainable lines of women’s apparel ($88–$650) and accessories ($28–$525). Take in stellar views of the Statue of Liberty while shopping for enchanting pieces from budding designers, including Pol spotted shift dresses ($198), Lambillotte silk draped pants ($259), Flotsam and Jetsam brass-and-silver jewelry ($60–$420) and local favorite Mi Asunta formable layered necklaces ($172–$230). Also be sure to snag avant-garde digitally printed scarves ($36–$59), created by the winners of e-tailer Front Row Society’s (frontrowsociety.com) monthly online design contest.Read more
Appointed with neoclassical furniture and glossy black floors, 26-year-old artist Russell Whitmore’s first boutique—named after a Brooklyn waterway—transports you back in time via its finely honed collection of 19th-century estate jewelry, table accoutrements and other antique-looking objets. Don’t worry about being overwhelmed: Whitmore pares down what’s on tap to a gorgeous handful of works from the likes of RISD-trained designer Philip Crangi; Paul DeBlassie IV, a former assistant to Ted Muehling with a penchant for organic, sculptural shapes; and Victorian-influenced Belgian native Natalia Brilli—all displayed in wood museum cases. There’s a stunning selection of adornments for less than $200.Read more
When owners Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson consolidated their itsy-bitsy lounge, Tini Wine Bar, with its sister home-goods shop, the resulting mash-up became dangerous territory for shopaholics. After downing a glass of pinot grigio ($6), see if you can resist such industrial-looking pieces as a metal-and-reclaimed-wood coffee table ($800) that was handmade by Swenson, an antique medical lamp ($245) and the selection of mercury glass candlesticks ($18–$48) tempting you in the front window display.Read more