Like a rehabbed starlet, much-maligned Brooklyn nabe Gowanus has turned its rep around. It’s welcomed an influx of restaurants (Dinosaur BBQ), bakeries (Four & Twenty Blackbirds) and even a shuffleboard club (Royal Palms), and the makeover train (or should we say barge?) is rolling full steam ahead. This winter, the area is gaining seriously unique draws, from a boutique bathhouse to a craft brewery. Who’s up for a soak? (Not in the canal, obviously.)
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Gowanus, Brooklyn
1. Insa: Husband-and-wife team Ben Schneider and Sohui Kim of Red Hook’s the Good Fork will open their second venture on Tuesday 15: a large-scale Korean BBQ joint replete with five private karaoke rooms and a funky, ’70s-inspired cocktail lounge. Insa’s menu will feature traditional marinated meats seared on grills built into the tables, a plethora of banchan items and (since it’s Brooklyn) artisanal soju. 328 Douglass St (718-855-2620)
2. cityWell Boutique Bathhouse: Brooklynites no longer have to trek to Spa Castle for an indulgent bath. The services at cityWell include a steam room, rain shower and massages, as well as 1,500 square feet of outdoor space with hammocks, a fire bowl and a platform for yoga. In 2016, a sauna and whirlpool will join the mix. 496 President St (347-294-0100)
3. Strong Rope Brewery: What’s better than a cold beer after a hot steam? Located down the street from cityWell is home brewer extraordinaire Jason Sahler’s new pro brewery and taproom. Opening sometime before Christmas, the venue will offer 10 seasonal, local drafts as well as classes and tours. For those unfamiliar with Sahler’s suds, start with the signature dark, toasty J.J. Bollerack’s Big Brown Ale. 574A President St.
4. Dirty Precious: A casual cocktail bar slated to open in early spring, Dirty Precious is all about duality (as its name implies). The brainchild of Katipai Richardson Wilson, the bartender at Basik in Williamsburg, the menu will boast upscale and lowbrow booze options, catering to those who get equal enjoyment from a well-crafted cocktail and a beer-and-shot combo. Oh, and there will be sherry on tap. 317 Third Ave