Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right New York State icon-chevron-right New York icon-chevron-right The best of Brooklyn: Bloggers' favorite local spots

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

The Gutter
The Gutter

The best of Brooklyn: Bloggers' favorite local spots

We asked a few of our favorite Brooklyn bloggers for their recommendations of the borough’s best restaurants, shops, parks and more.

By Nadia Chaudhury
The Gutter

Robert Lanham, founding editor of FREEwilliamsburg

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn

“When I first moved to Brooklyn in 1996, I was two blocks away from the pier at India Street, which at the time was an abandoned lot with the best view you could possibly imagine of the New York skyline. I used to go there to write, because—besides the occasional homeless person or junkie—I’d have the view all to myself. At night, the pier at India Street has a similar view, and is generally just as empty. It makes me nostalgic for an era when North Brooklyn wasn’t a conveyer belt for the Sunday Styles section stories.” India St at Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

“I’m a horrible bowler and roll with a ball that would be too light for a sickly eight-year-old, but the Gutter is a tourist-free, reasonably priced gem of an alley that always makes me feel like I’m in the heart of Milwaukee. The ambience and beer selection is so fantastic, I sometimes go there just to have a drink.” The Gutter, 200 N 14th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-3585,

“Whoever did the location scouting for Francis Ford Coppola on his Godfather films made a major fuck-up by overlooking this classic Italian pasta joint, Bamonte’s. Despite the Sinatra music—I’ll never understand the appeal—Bamonte’s never fails to transport me to an era when the aforementioned crooner was king. Old-timers will even tell you he ate there a few times.” Bamonte’s, 32 Withers St between Lorimer St and Union Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-8831)

“There’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon than people-watching on the boardwalk [at Brighton Beach] at any of the classic Russian cafés, drinking eastern European beers and sampling whatever they recommend that’s pickled. I like to go shopping at the Eastern European markets too, where I always find regional candies and bizarre canned meats that looked like they were packaged in the Stalin era.”

“My favorite craft pizza in all of New York is served in a dining room that looks like the inside of a barn you’d stumble upon on some idyllic country road in Vermont. The owner, Paulie, always stops by to ask me how my meal is, which is a nice touch, even if he doesn’t recognize me on my 174th visit.” Paulie Gee’s, 60 Greenpoint Ave between Franklin and West Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-987-3747,
Maple Lanes

Brian Hedden, publisher of Bay Ridge Odyssey

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn

“Maple Lanes is one of the last old-school bowling alleys in Brooklyn. It isn’t where you go to get your drink on or hear your favorite band play a show; Maple Lanes is where you go when you want to bowl. It’s a great melting pot, too—The New York Timesprofiled a bunch of WASPy old-timers not too long ago, but at any given time, you’re just as likely to see Orthodox Jewish families and Muslim teens in the lanes.” Maple Lanes, 1570 60th St at 16th Aves, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-331-9000,

“Ho’Brah Tacos is my new favorite place for Mexican food that replaces all my other favorite Mexican restaurants. Sorry, Papacitos. I usually pass on restaurant tacos, preferring to go for burritos or the like, but the Ho’Brah tacos are simply too delicious to pass up. And I like being able to take my son to a place where he can get his favorite food and I can get my favorite drink, which would be margaritas.” Ho’Brah Tacos, 8618 Third Ave between 86th and 87th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-680-8226,

“Alpine Cinemas doesn’t have the latest and greatest in amenities, like stadium seating or football-field–size screens, but it still has everything I need in a moviegoing experience and has one huge advantage over the super-modern googleplexes: cost. I still have money left over after I go there—a particular concern for people with families like me. And sometimes I’ll grab a snack from Nablus Sweets & Pastries (6812 Fifth Ave between 68th and 69th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; 718-748-1214) from across the street and bring it into the theater, which is a little more interesting than smuggling in some Junior Mints from any generic Walgreens.” Alpine Cinemas, 6817 Fifth Ave between 68th and 69th Sts, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (718-748-4200, $9.


Joe Teutonico, senior writer at Bay Ridge Odyssey

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn“


“I remember when the city first cleaned up the Gerritsen [Creek] Nature Trail and started maintaining the trails. I was about six years old. A few years later, my friends and I would hike through the weeds—or ‘the creek,’ as we called the salt marsh. It wasn’t the deep woods of the Northwest, but it was our own slice of untouched wilderness—like a miniature Walden right here in Brooklyn. Even though I’m older now, I still use the gravel paths for pretty much the same thing I did then—clearing my head and letting my imagination run wild. With the reintroduction of native plant species by the Army Corps of Engineers the last few years, it’s easier to visualize how wild Brooklyn must have seemed to Dutch settlers in the 1600s when Hugh Gerritsen built a tidal mill—a mill that would later grind the corn that fed British soldiers during the Revolutionary War; that is, until his millstones went ‘missing.’ Whether read in a book or experienced, it’s unique personal and historic memories like these—and the potential for more—that keep me coming back.” Gerritsen Creek Nature Trail, Marine Park, Ave U between Flatbush and Gerritsen Aves, Marine Park, Brooklyn (

“Ever since I was old enough to ride a bike, one of my favorite places to do so was on the Ocean Parkway bike path. It was great, because when I would approach the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Avenue T, I had the choice of either turning north toward the wooded blacktop drive of Prospect Park or south toward the wooden planks of Coney Island’s Riegelmann Boardwalk. I would often take one of these two routes in the springtime as my first long bike ride of the season, resulting in a sore behind but a memorable local journey. I can’t help but admire the understated, and often overlooked, elegance of Ocean Parkway—which was designed by Fredrick Olmstead as Brooklyn’s answer to the Champs-Élysées. The trees, benches with old men playing chess, and separate pedestrian and walking paths never fails to impress out-of-town guests. Nearly its entire length is dotted with green pedestrian malls, large Spanish-tiled single-family homes and impressive apartment buildings.”


Daniel Cavanagh, editor of Gerritsen Beach

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“Brennan & Carr has the most amazing roast beef sandwich you ever had. It’s just dripping with gravy and cheese.” Brennan & Carr, 3432 Nostrand Ave at Ave U, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-646-9559)

“Roll-n-Roaster has excellent food [and it’s] open really late. It’s a great place to bring family and friends.” Roll-n-Roaster, 2901 Emmons Ave between Nostrand Ave and E 29th St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-769-6000,

“Wheeler’s is a great place to go for bar food. You know what to expect from this place. Wheeler’s is truly the bar where everyone knows your name.” Wheeler’s, 1705 Sheepshead Bay Rd at Voorhies Ave, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-646-9320)

“The largest bar that I have ever seen is Tamaqua. The bar is built in the round and located right off the water, with dock space. They throw parties and fund-raisers all the time that benefit the community.” Tamaqua Bar & Marina, 84 Ebony Ct between Bijou and Channel Aves, Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn (718-646-9212,

“Gather Inn Again is a new family startup with an old name—hence the ‘Again.’ It’s a great place to walk in and grab some delicious eats with a comfortable atmosphere. The Gather Inn Again, 2718 Gerritsen Ave between Everett and Florence Aves (718-513-6245)

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Emily Nonko, reporter for Brownstoner

 RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn

“My grandpa has been taking me and my family to [L&B] Spumoni Gardens for years. Forget the hipster pizza joints, the two-hour waits, the restaurants that brag about their wood-burning ovens—Spumoni Gardens is it. They perfected the art of the Sicilian slice: cheese on bottom, sauce on top and a heavenly doughy crust. You finish with a scoop of the house-made spumoni, which has a consistency between ice cream and a snow cone. The huge outdoor patio and the quick service are perks, but the pizza is worth your left arm—or at least the long subway trip.” L&B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th St between W 10th and W 11th Sts, Gravesend, Brooklyn (718-449-6921,

“Strange, wonderful things always happen at Montero’s. It’s just one of those bars that surprises you. The beers are cheap, the mixed drinks are strong, and the bartenders are friendly. It’s also the very last remnant of Atlantic Avenue as a place where sailors hung out after their shifts on the dock, and the bar is full of old shipping paraphernalia. It’s not really the decor that makes Montero’s special, though: If you stay drinking late enough, you’re bound to make friends, or find yourself belting karaoke or combing through the history plastered on the walls.” Montero’s, 73 Atlantic Ave between Columbia and Hicks Sts, Brooklyn Heights (646-729-4129)

“Nowhere else in Brooklyn do I feel entirely outside of Brooklyn than in Green-Wood Cemetery. It carries with it a peacefulness unlike anywhere else in the city. I like to wander far enough into the cemetery where there are no other people besides myself (believe me, it isn’t hard to do), and just sit and enjoy the scenery. The gravestones range from fantastic works of art to simple headstones marking Civil War soldiers. You can take guided tours here every weekend, but I prefer solo wandering, just because I stumble upon something new every time.” Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th St at Fifth Ave, Sunset Park, Brooklyn (718-768-7300,

“My first apartment in Brooklyn was tiny and infested with all the things that scare you away from New York City forever. Without Red Horse Café nearby, I doubt I would have survived. Red Horse is super cozy without feeling tiny. There are comfy leather couches toward the back of the café, and this unspoken camaraderie between all patrons on said couches. They also occasionally feature really good live music. As for the baristas, I’ll never forget when I stopped by on Valentine’s Day and they were creating hearts in the latte foam. ‘I’m so sorry,’ my barista told me. ‘This looks a lot more like a fetus than a heart.’ So in love.” Red Horse Café, 497 Sixth Ave at 12th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-4973)

“I’m including Broken Angel, not only because it’s one of the best pieces of outsider architecture in New York, but because it may not survive for much longer. The story is really sad: An artist couple, Arthur and Cynthia Wood, bought this Clinton Hill building in the ’70s and turned it into an artists’ enclave. They built up the building with whatever materials they could get their hands on. After a fire, the city forced the couple to move out and ultimately remove some of the building’s structure. Then Cynthia Wood was diagnosed with cancer and eventually passed away. Only her husband Arthur remains in the building now. (You can say hello by pulling the large rope outside the door.) After a long foreclosure battle, the bank now owns the building, and its future is up in the air. I recommend visiting this site by bike: go north on Classon Avenue from Crown Heights, and take a left onto Downing. The bland-looking, quiet block curves into a kind of cul-de-sac, with this spectacle waiting at the end.”Broken Angel House, 4-6 Downing St at Quincy St, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Erica Reitman, founder and editor of Fucked in Park Slope

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn

“I thought I knew what frozen yogurt was until I tried Culture. They’re a certified NYC dairy and make their own yogurt daily in their shop in all sorts of amazing flavors. They have crazy, special toppings like apple pie or cinnamon buns. It’s healthy and delicious, and completely and utterly addictive.” Culture: An American Yogurt Company, 331 Fifth Ave between 3rd and 4th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-499-0207,

“[Two Lovers] is curated by someone with some seriously fab taste. Everything is separated by color, so in addition to wanting to buy most things in the store, I’m always entranced by how pretty it all looks hanging on the rack. You can also sell your old clothes there, which is way less of a hassle than a stoop sale, and way better than dealing with my idea of hell on earth: interacting with the nasty chicks at Beacon’s Closet.” Two Lovers, 227 Fifth Ave between President and Union Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-783-5683,

“Before there were Target and Walmart, there were stores like Save on Fifth. This place sells virtually everything under the sun related to your apartment: cleaning supplies, storage items, ice cube trays, you name it—it’s like a 99¢ store and a hardware store got married and had a baby. I always go with the intention of buying one thing, but come back with eight other random things that I may or may not have needed in the first place.” Save on Fifth, 421 Fifth Ave at 8th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-965-2040)

“Gone are my days of chasing around all the hottest NYC eyebrow artists, now that I’ve found Sabina at Venelle Salon. This woman is a magician, and always makes me look like I paid way more than I actually did for my fabulously shaped and tinted eyebrows. Don’t all go booking her at once though.… If I can’t get an appointment, I’m coming after you all.” Venelle Salon and Spa, 62 Seventh Ave between Berkeley and Lincoln Pls, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-989-9855,

“Talde has fast become my favorite new restaurant in Park Slope. Anyone who comes up with the idea of combining pretzels with dumplings or bacon with pad thai is pretty much the ultimate genius in my mind. So props to former Top Chef contestant Dale Talde. They don’t take reservations unless you’re a party of six or more, so either find five friends or prepare to wait for a table.… But trust me, it’s worth it.” Talde, 369 Seventh Ave at 11th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-916-0031,

Faye Penn, founder of Brokelyn

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn

“Nobody in North Brooklyn has heard of Fox’s, which is fine with me. It’s like a smaller, more out-of-the-way version of Century 21, loaded with off-price designer clothes, [with] both labels you’ve heard of—Alice + Olivia, Rebecca Taylor and Marc Jacobs—and newer ones. The prices are fantastic, and it’s at least as reliable as any of the other discount stores. Plus, the other shoppers tend to be Orthodox Jews or have more of a dressy Brighton Beach vibe, so a lot of good stuff gets left behind. But don’t make the mistake I did and bring your four-year-old son, because they have those open-style collective dressing rooms. He was actually pretty psyched, but nobody else was.” Fox’s, 911-927 Kings Hwy at E 10th St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-645-3620,

“With most Brooklyn kids’ concerts and the like geared toward the under-five set, it’s hard to figure out where to take an older kid. My nine-year-old would move into Brooklyn Strategist if he could: all of his favorite board games—think Munchkin, Dungeons & Dragons and the Settlers of Catan—and four hours of pickup play for $10. Plus, Wi-Fi for me. There’s no better rainy-day hang, and Jon, the owner, is officially the nicest guy in Brooklyn.” The Brooklyn Strategist, 333 Court St between Sackett and Union Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-576-3035,

“If Salon Takeover’s Tabatha ever sets foot in Anton’s Hair Design, she should be maced with AquaNet. This is not your Jean-Michel-whatever corporate salon, and that’s the whole point. Don’t even look for the sign; you’ll know you’re at the right townhouse when you see a Greek sculpture garden and a silver Mercedes in the driveway. Inside is a third-floor salon where mom-and-daughter bombshells Rosemary and Colette beautify a clientele as lively as they are, even if nobody can touch them in the looks department. Come for extensions, linger for the gossip. Getting your hair done here is like Sunday sauce with foil highlights.” Anton’s Hair and Makeup, 327 Ocean Pkwy near Ave C, Kensington, Brooklyn (718-871-2512/718-541-0529,

“You know all those well-intended corporate escapees who open coffee shops but really should have kept their accounting jobs? Their places never quite work, but Lark Café does. Kari Browne, a former BBC journalist, is that rare coffee-shop newcomer who did everything right—from the branding to the decor (modern grown-up but family-friendly) to the Stumptown coffee and whipped ricotta with honey. Divine. Wear cleats, because the Parade Ground crowd will be beating a path to this Church Avenue pioneer come soccer season.” Lark Café, 1007 Church Ave between E 10th and E 11th Sts, Kensington, Brooklyn (718-469-0140,

“I lived in Carroll Gardens when the only decent food places were the Italian bakeries and butchers. Not that it was grounds for complaint; I was addicted to Monteleone’s sesame cookies. Fast forward none-of-your-business years, and now they have this really talented baker whose cakes look like hamburgers, artichokes and ladybugs—all for around $25. That burger is a genius party trick.” F. Monteleone & Cammareri Bakery, 355 Court St between President and Union Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-852-5600)
Newtown Creek
Photograph: Donald Yip

Heather Letzkus, founder of New York Shitty

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“As far as old-school Italian restaurants in North Brooklyn go, Bamonte’s gets the lion’s share of the attention. While certainly well-deserved (their blueberry cream pie is absolutely amazing), I think Frost deserves its moment in the spotlight. It is located a bit off the beaten path, but the fare and service make up for it. Best of all: While its purported specialty is seafood (and this they do very well), Frost is also very vegetarian-friendly. Tips: (1) Order the house salad. Their homemade Italian dressing is wonderful. (2) They gladly accommodate orders ‘off the menu.’ So ask! Added bonus: the decor has been untouched since (probably) the late 1960s or 1970s. I hope it stays that way.” Frost Restaurant, 193 Frost St at Humboldt St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-389-3347/718-389-7190,

“If one were to ask people to name a park in North Brooklyn, I’d hazard to guess most would respond as follows: McCarren (or specifically, its pool). It has certainly been the subject of a great deal of attention (and Caddyshack jokes, for that matter). Inasmuch I enjoy the film Caddyshack (and I really do), I think this is a shame, as there are a number of other lovely parks here. The newly opened WNYC Transmitter Park is one. Grand Ferry Park is another—[it’s]located on the former site of the Grand Street Ferry (which gets serious history-geek points from yours truly). I have a soft spot for this peaceful if petite piece of public space. On any given day, one will see a variety of Williamsburgers—be they old-timers or newcomers, young or old—enjoying it. Grand Ferry is truly a public park. A warning orcaveat: Some work is being conducted here presently, so it is looking a bit barren in parts.” Grand Ferry Park, Grand St at the East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (

“I am of Polish and Lithuanian descent, with a surname—replete with tongue-twisting consonants—to show for it. Nonetheless, I grew up in the Southwest: I prefer peppers to pierogi (although I do enjoy the latter on occasion). Unfortunately, ‘Little Poland’ is not exactly teeming with establishments which sell spicy foodstuffs. Thus, I have to venture a little further afield to get my fix. This I do at La Marqueta. Not only do they have all manner and variety of wonderful produce, including habanero peppers and culantro (think cilantro on steroids), but it is to be had very cheaply. Best of all, you’re supporting small businesses to boot. The adjacent shopping district on Graham Avenue is definitely worth a visit as well.” Moore Street Market, 110 Moore St at Humboldt St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-1371)

“If there is one requirement to residing in the Garden Spot, it is a healthy appreciation of the absurd, and this can be found a five-minute walk from my home. It is called the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment [Plant], on whose premises can be found a ‘Nature Walk’ that abuts a national Superfund site, a visitor’s center [with] a fountain designed by world-renowned artist Vito Acconci and a variety of educational material. Not only are we No. 1 at processing New York City’s No. 2, but there are plenty of activities for the kids—including a mildly sinister-sounding Newtown Creek Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt! And of course the new defining feature of our skyline: an octet of anthropomorphic protuberances called ‘digester eggs.’ These are better known hereabouts as the ‘Shit Tits.’ The only thing this facility is lacking (in my humble opinion) is a gift shop. In the hope of getting this proverbial ball rolling, I have embarked upon creating souvenirs that pay homage to this Greenpoint landmark—including snow globes, cards and posters.” Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Visitor Center, 329 Greenpoint Ave at Humboldt St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-595-6600,

“What does one do with a parking lot in the shadow of the Shit Tits? The ladies of Domestic Construction asked themselves this very question and decided a garden was in order. To this end, they asked the community to help make Design.Plot happen. Guess what: We did! Not only was their fund-raising goal on Kickstarter reached, but it was surpassed. Not only was it wonderful to see people of all stripes rally behind this cause, but some much-needed ‘green’ has been put back in Greenpoint.” Design.Plot, 216 India St between McGuinness Blvd and Provost St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (

Photograph: Elyssa Goodman

Hideyoshi, founder of Dumbo NYC

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“[Though] I blog about Dumbo, I love walking around Vinegar Hill, especially just after sunrise—the lighting, the solitude in a city of million[s]. People, especially photographers, talk about Vinegar Hill and Dumbo having a magical light during sunrise and sunset. The light seems to bounce off the buildings in a dreamy haze. That is, until you see a lot of others walking around.”

“If I had some free time, I could spend half of it at ZAKKA Bookstore, this independent retailer of art, photography, design, architecture and graphic-design books. It’s a place for creative people to get inspired.” ZAKKA, 155 Plymouth St between Jay and Pearl Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-801-8037,

“Not only does Brooklyn Roasting Company have the best espresso in Brooklyn, they’re involved in the Dumbo (and Brooklyn) community. They love their coffee, and it shows when you taste their brews.” Brooklyn Roasting Company, 25 Jay St between John and Plymouth Sts, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-522-2664,

“With one of the largest collections of antique Japanese cabinetry and furniture in America, it’s hard not to browse for a while in Shibui Japanese antiques’ huge warehouse. Ask proprietor Dane Owen about any of the pieces, and he will tell you the history behind each one. Because Shibui is located in an out-of-the-way location, they were struggling for visitors for a while. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s worth a visit to Vinegar Hill. Shibui, 306 Water St between Gold St and Hudson Ave, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-875-1119,

“The newer areas of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Piers 1 through 6, get all the attention, but I still love the Main Street section of the park under the Manhattan Bridge. Even with the subways running above you, there’s a calm air about the area.” Brooklyn Bridge Park, 1 Main St at Plymouth St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-802-0603,

Photograph: courtesy the Gate

Louise Crawford, founder and publisher of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“The Gate, a bar with a wonderful patio, is a fun place to be on Sunday nights at 10pm, when the bartender turns the TV to Breaking Bad. An interesting and random assortment of mostly young, mostly male locals are glued to the tube. Rumor has it the Gate is going to show seasons one through four of Breaking Bad on Sunday nights, which sounds like a great idea.” The Gate, 321 Fifth Ave at 3rd St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-768-4329,

“Prospect Park is my perennial favorite place: for running the three-mile loop, for watching my kids play on the Third Street Playground, for biking, Celebrate Brooklyn! and long loop walks with girlfriends.” Prospect Park, enter at Prospect Park West at 5th St, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-965-8900,

“I was blown away by my birthday dinner at Bar Corvo. Al di Là’s sister restaurant in Crown Heights is a little more casual, a little cheaper and just as delicious. Plus, there’s a backyard for alfresco dining.” Bar Corvo, 791 Washington Ave between Lincoln and St. Johns Pls, Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-230-0940,

“I love the Old Stone House, where I run Brooklyn Reading Works, a monthly thematic reading series. It’s a historical site. The largest, conflict—the Battle of Brooklyn—engulfed areas in Brooklyn, including the site of the Old Stone House.” The Old Stone House, 336 3rd St between Fourth and Fifth Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-768-3195,

“Every Saturday morning my twin sister and I meet for coffee and chitchat at Sweet Melissa, a charming bakery-restaurant on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. My sister always has the oatmeal; I have the yogurt and fruit, or a currant scone. It’s quiet, easygoing and a pretty, feminine place to be.” Sweet Melissa Patisserie, 175 Seventh Ave between 1st and 2nd Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-788-2700,

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

Nicole Davis, founder and publisher of Brooklyn Based

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“I’ve spent most of my time in Brooklyn in Clinton Hill, and the Pratt Sculpture Garden Park is one of my favorite places in the neighborhood. It feels like such an escape, and the art is always in flux. Even if a sculpture has been there for years, one day it might just disappear to make way for new work. So far they haven’t taken away my favorite piece—it’s by Takashi Soga, a steel beam that appears to move up and down on its own.” Pratt Institute, 200 Willoughby Ave between Classon Ave and Hall St, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (718-636-3600,

“After 11 years in Clinton Hill I’ve moved to Greenpoint, and I am loving this part of town. I’m a fan of the new farmers’ market at McGolrick Park (Russell St between Nassau and Driggs Aves,, the brand-new WNYC Transmitter Park (West St between Greenpoint Ave and Kent St,, breakfasts at Coffee Friends (1035 Manhattan Ave between Green and Freeman Sts, 718-349-0033)—the name helps—chiles rellenos at Vamos Al Tequila (162 Franklin St between India and Java Sts, 718-383-0808), the Lobster Claw Bloody Mary at the Lobster Joint (1073 Manhattan Ave between Dupont and Eagle Sts, 718-389-8990,, treats at Ovenly (31 Greenpoint Ave at West St, 347-689-3608, and shop-within-a-shack the Perfect Nothing Catalog (216 India St between McGuinness Blvd and Provost St; 218-240-9350,”

“Seeing movies out feels like a treat now, because it seems so ludicrous to pay for a sitter and pay to see a movie when you can rent one for far less on your couch. But Nitehawk is the perfect rebuttal to Netflix. You get good food and cocktails delivered to you while watching a first-run film in an intimate theater. I also love that they screen short films and clips that are tailored for each movie, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.” Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-3980,

“I love the feel of Manhattan Inn, especially in winter. The interior is classy in an 1890s-Brooklyn way, and they have a piano in back that Joe McGinty of the Psychedelic Furs and Loser’s Lounge plays most Tuesdays during live-piano karaoke. The singers are mostly great, the song list is select (no Journey here!) and after a few stiff old-Fashioneds, I feel brave enough to attempt Joni Mitchell or Madonna. Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Ave between Bedford and Nassau Aves, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-383-0885,

The Pencil Factory
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nels

Annaliese Griffin, senior editor of Brooklyn Based

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“It’s cash-only, has a terrible wine list and no bar snacks you want, but I love the Pencil Factory. My husband and I made out there on our first date. They serve 20-ounce bottles of Magners cider for $7. Sitting outside at the intersection of Franklin Street and Greenpoint Avenue is like taking the neighborhood’s pulse—everyone walks by with their baby or dog, or both. Men in Sunday-best suits carry flower girls in sparkly dresses home after a wedding at the catering hall up the street. Old drunks stop to bum cigarettes from the younger, better-off drunks sitting on the corner. I’ve been going there for years now, and the neighborhood has changed a lot, but I still love whiling away the afternoon watching Brooklyn go by.” The Pencil Factory, 142 Franklin St at Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-609-5858,

Photograph: Brooklyn Historical Society

John Loscalzo, founder of Brooklyn Heights Blog

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“What I love about Brooklyn Heights is being this close to NYC, but being totally transported somewhere else. On the corner of tree-lined Cranberry and Hicks Streets is my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Jack the Horse. Walking toward the restaurant up Cranberry Street, you can see views of the lower Manhattan skyline. But then you duck into Jack the Horse and you’re met by Ryan, one of their friendly staffers, and the inviting wood bar, where my wife and I often opt to eat. The restaurant has a casual vibe, with food that’s well done. Chef-owner-local Tim Oltmans has done a great job with not only the food and vibe, but the staff, who bend over backwards to get to know their patrons. Don’t even get me started on their cheeseburger.” Jack the Horse Tavern, 66 Hicks St at Cranberry St, Brooklyn Heights (718-852-5084,

Awesome is an overused word that’s practically lost its meaning, but it would be correct to use it to describe the view from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. On one side are some of the most beautiful historic homes in the world, and on the other is the great East River and the iconic Manhattan skyline. The skyscrapers, not to mention the Statue of Liberty, are fixed landmarks in the background, and in the foreground is the ever-changing view of the river. At any given moment, water taxis, tug boats and tall ships are all going by. Go at sunset, check out our local Christmas tree in December—whenever. It’s kind of a ‘pinch-me-I-live here’ moment every time you walk the Promenade. It’s a great place to people-watch, too. I became a dad two years ago, and I love taking my daughter on walks there. Even at this young age, she loves it—the boats, the dogs, etc.” Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Columbia Heights between Orange and Remsen Sts, Brooklyn Heights (

“Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is also not to be missed if you have kids. The water park is world class. And for the folks? Bark Hot Dogs and, well, beer. While we’re talking piers and kids in Brooklyn Heights, the pop-up pool at Pier 2 was my little girl’s favorite spot to see and be seen this summer by the in-the-know toddler set.” Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6, Atlantic Ave and Furman St (

“The Brooklyn Historical Society is always a great visit. One past exhibit had profound influence—it featured Otis Pearsall’s handmade map of historic homes in the neighborhood. That map served as a key piece in the successful effort to landmark the area in 1965. They also have some great flea markets, and this summer, hosted a beer garden.” Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St at Clinton St, Brooklyn Heights (718-222-4111,

“I could go on and on; and as a matter of fact, I do, during my Homer Fink’s Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour ( The next one is October 6—come on out! No beer, sorry—but you can always stop off and see our favorite neighborhood bartender, Lee, at Henry Street Ale House afterward. It’s bound to be one of your favorite things about Brooklyn Heights.” Henry Street Ale House, 62 Henry St between Cranberry and Orange Sts, Brooklyn Heights (718-522-4801,

Manhattan Beach

Ned Berke, editor of Sheepshead Bites

RECOMMENDED: What's new and what's best in Brooklyn


“The best thing about living in Sheepshead Bay is easily the access to the waterfront, be it the bay itself (or “the canal,” as our Eastern European neighbors call it), or the short walk to all three South Brooklyn beaches. But I love eating while I watch the water, and South Brooklyn’s got a shortage of places that really take advantage of waterfront property. Il Fornetto on Emmons Avenue, though, is this gorgeous restaurant built right over the water. I like to have my dinner as close to the window as possible and look out over the remnants of the old pier—watch the birds, the swans, the horny horseshoe crabs—with the backdrop of Manhattan Beach and Kingsborough Community College. It’s easy to forget you’re in Brooklyn, and it’s definitely one the best places Brooklyn has to offer.” Il Fornetto, 2902 Emmons Ave at E 29th St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-332-8494,

“Despite living in this neighborhood for nearly 30 years and reporting on it for nearly five, I had never been sailing until last summer. I was invited by Miramar Yacht Club, one of several in the area, and got to go out on the water with my camera. Our captain took us around the marsh islands, underneath the Gil Hodges Bridge, back through the Rockaway Inlet and out to the Verrazano. Now I’ve gone several times, and on a good clear day, it’s become one my favorite things to do. No cell phone contact, a couple of beers, laying on the deck with the vast ocean behind you and the beaches of Coney Island in front of you… I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Freedom Tower framed by the Parachute Jump on one side and the Cyclone on the other. Sailing in Jamaica Bay just can’t be beat. Miramar Yacht Club, 3050 Emmons Ave at Haring St, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-646-9436,

You might also like
See more in Things to Do


    You may also like