"I've lived in two apartments in Clinton Hill, and it's easily my favorite among the (many, many) neighborhoods where I've lived in my New York years," confesses TONY's managing editor Ethan LaCroix. "Walking past the ornate mansions on Clinton Avenue (built by the city's richest folks in the 1880s) make me feel like I'm in another time and place, but I've always got the bustle of DeKalb Avenue, Myrtle Avenue and Fulton Street to snap me right back to the here and now. And where else in northeast Brooklyn will you find marble sidewalks lined on both sides with grass, just like in a fancy suburb? The restaurant/bar meccas in Fort Greene and Prospect Heights are just a couple blocks away in any direction, so really, there's not much need to ever leave. Except to go to work. Rats."
Read about the places he loves after the jump.
HIS FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Zaytoon's(472 Myrtle Ave between Hall St and Washington Ave; 718-623-5522, zaytoonsrestaurant.com) "The chicken pitza ($7.50) at this branch of the Greek chainlet looks like it's big enough to feed two people, but I can easily polish one off by myself. I try to justify the gluttony by telling myself all the veggies piled on it are good for me. Their cucumber yogurt ($4) and fresh, homemade pita bread ($.75) are perfect sides."
Five Spot (459 Myrtle Ave at Washing ton Ave; 718-852-0202, fivespotsoulfood.com) "I loved good mashed potatoes, and this soul food spot has some of the best in town, as well as awesome meatloaf, mac and cheese and other gut-busting fare. The bar next door hosts a variety of popular events, from comedy nights to poetry readings."
Anima(458 Myrtle Ave between Washington and Waverly Aves; 718-422-1122, animabistro.com) "This one's a bit pricey for a neighborhood full of so many good cheap eats, but the food is worth it. I love the boneless beef short ribs ($16). Wine nerds (of which I am not) will probably appreciate the extensive selection, and the knowledgeable staff."
Bagel World(223 Dekalb Ave between Adelphi St and Clermont Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 718-643-2686) "Normally I'm not much of a bagel guy (I know, blasphemy in this city), but getting a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on a plain bagel at this bustling, friendly space has become a Sunday-morning staple for me. On nice days, I scarf it at the chess tables next to the basketball court across the street."
Pratt Coffee Shop(274 Hall St between DeKalb and Willoughby Aves; 718-622-0185) "Sometimes you just want the basics: Pancakes, coffee, BLT, whatever. This place does it just as well as the more famous (and mobbed) Mike's across the street, but without the wait. A walk through the adjacent Pratt campus sculpture garden helps work off the calories."
HIS FAVORITE BARS
Rope(415 Myrtle Ave between Clinton and Vanderbilt Aves; 718-522-2899, myspace.com/ropebar) "This is what every engineered dive in town wishes it was: A mellow mix of longtime locals and artsy new arrivals getting happily sloshed together. Bingo nights, movie screenings, awesome drink specials and a stellar juke box keep things interesting."
Brooklyn Public House(247 DeKalb Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene; 347-227-8976, brooklynpublichouse.com) "This relative newcomer has 16 beers on tap, friendly staff and seemingly endless space to sit and watch the attractive crowd mingle."
HIS FAVORITE SHOPS
Sister's Community Hardware (900 Fulton St at Washington Ave; 718-399-7023, sisterscommunityhardware.com) "Need a broom, a key cut or (heaven forbid) some rat traps? This place has 'em at a good price. The people who work here are happy to help and actually know what they're talking about."
Prospect Drugs(94 Greene Ave at Vanderbilt Ave; 718-783-0890, prospectdrugs.com) "Mom-and-pop drugstores are a dying breed, and ones with workers this nice are especially endangered. A stop in here is the antidote to a horrific Duane Reade experience."
Pioneer(325 Lafayette Ave between Classon Ave and St. James Pl; 718-783-8656, pioneersupermarkets.com) "Clinton Hill has plenty of grocery stores, but this is the one I hike to when I want fresh produce, cheap household stuff and an endless selection of beer! It's a great place to stock up for a picnic in nearby Fort Greene Park."
Brooklyn Flea (Saturdays, Lafayette Ave at Vanderbilt Ave, Fort Greene, brownstoner.com/brooklynflea) "They call this the Fort Greene Flea, but it's technically right on the border (Vanderbilt is the dividing line according to the historic-district signs around the neighborhood). It may be a bit hyped, but for good reason. Even if you never buy anything, it's a unique browsing and people-watching experience."
Apple Art Supplies (321 DeKalb Ave between Hall St and Washington Ave, 718-399-2800) "I'm not very crafty, but every once in a while I get the idea to make something to slap up on my wall. Anyone with even a little creative bug will have a good time browsing this well-stocked (if kind of overpriced) art-supply haven."