Why I love Red Hook

  • Alma Restaurant

  • Anselmo's pizza

  • Sunny's Bar

  • Jake's BBQ

  • Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies

  • Roberto eating said swingle

  • Brooklyn Collective

  • Botanica El Phoenix

  • General Nightmare

  • Liberty Sunset Enterprises

  • Some goods at Union Max

  • More goods at Union Max

  • Erie Basin Park

  • Water Taxi Pier and Ikea

Alma Restaurant

picture-1"I'm in my early thirties, and I'm already a grumpy old man. I hate Manhattan, and I don't like leaving my neighborhood for things I can get right around the corner," sighs TONY's photo editor Roberto De Luna. "Red Hook is kind of a middle-aged grump like me: old, handsome and resistant to change. If you like wide cobblestone streets and a calm, welcoming place to eat, shop and stroll, check out my 'hood."

Read about the places he loves after the jump.

His favorite bars and restaurants:
Alma 187 Columbia St at DeGraw St (718-643-5400, almarestaurant.com) "Everyone knows that Alma has the best rooftop views in the city, but they also have a pretty decent list of taps in the roomy bar downstairs (for yesteryear's prices). Not to mention all the authentic tortilla chips and salsa you can stuff your face with—just for ordering a single beer! Now that's what I call recession dining!"

Anselmo's 354 Van Brunt St at Sullivan St (718-488-7400) "You probably think pizza in Brooklyn is a dime a dozen, right? Think again! This crunchy coal-fired-brick-oven pizza alone is worth the trip."

Jake's Barbecue Restaurant 189 Columbia St at DeGraw St (718-522-3981) "It's like taking the F train to Knoxville. The portions are heavy-handed and you'll walk out fat and happy. Try the corn bread."

Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies Pier 41, 204 Van Dyke St (718-404-6911) "There is no other key lime pie worth your time. I demand that you order a Swingle ($5), which is a miniature key lime pie on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate and frozen for your eating pleasure. Wash it down with a glass of Key Limeade ($2)."

Sunny's Bar 253 Conover St between Beard and Reed Sts (718-625-8211) "To put it bluntly, this is the best dive in Brooklyn. Strong drinks. Low prices. No jerks."

His favorite shops:
Botanica El Phoenix Columbia St at Union St "Thanks to this new botanica, I don't have to go out of my way to keep my house and yard filled with flickering flames, creepy Virgin Marys and sweet smoke!"

Brooklyn Collective 198 Columbia St between DeGraw and Sackett Sts (718-596-6231) "I'm a guy but I know plenty of girls, and they all have birthdays! This is a terrific place to visit for gifts, home goods and the occasional must-have item. Case in point? The Medium Brown Barf Bag (the most talked about conversation piece in my home). A steal at $25."

General Nightmare 196 Columbia St between DeGraw and Sackett Sts (718-858-8659) "Antiques may sound boring to you, but this store is full of things you'll actually like at prices that are a far cry from Soho. It's also the only place I'd go to get furniture reupholstered!"

Liberty Sunset Enterprises 204 Van Dyke St at Ferris St (718-858-3400) "I have a backyard—a big one with a huge patio, two barbecues and tons of plants, flowers, vines and veggies. Where do I get all my garden goods? Here, of course. You can get a nice tomato and a cilantro plant for your fire escape!"

Union Max 110 Union St between Columbia and Hicks Sts (718-222-1785) "Union Max is a dream for a goofball like me. Tons of '70s, '80s and '90s pop-culture antiques, oodles of beads, plates, glasses and home decor. Pop in for a visit, and I promise you won't leave empty-handed."

His favorite place to relax:
Erie Basin Park and water taxi pier (1 Beard St at Otsego St) "If you hate screaming babies as much as I do, check out this waterfront park on the weekends. It's 110 percent shouting-child-free!"