The term gentrification has become synonymous with Brooklyn over the past few years, but the home of Jay-Z, Al Capone and ODB (RIP) hasn’t lost its swag. Call them hipsters if you must, but the young professionals keeping BK alive are doing it right, from food to music to fashion.
So if you’re in search of a big city weekend without the tourist traps, here’s how to do NYC like a local.
Start your day off in the borough as you would at home: with brunch. Everyone knows this is a typical New Yorker activity, but Brooklyn seems to have enough variety that you won’t be waiting in line all day for a table.
Check out Roebling Tea Room for a creative menu, classic atmosphere and deliciously strong breakfast cocktails like the Way Too Sunny. And if you’re heading to a mid-day Brooklyn Nets game (to cheer against them, obviously), head up Flatbush Ave to Hungry Ghost for some of America’s finest handheld treats.
Stumptown Coffee and Dough donuts are highly recommended.
Other daytime must-dos include acquiring a Crack Pie addiction at Momofuku’s famous little bakery Milk, and wandering any neighbourhood street where you’ll inevitably stumble upon farmer’s markets selling craft ciders and artisan treats.
Then set your sights on one of the several Brooklyn Flea locations, most of which are open into November and will really make you feel like a local.
A winter/holiday version opens November 8th in Crown Heights, so be sure to add that to your itinerary for steals on vintage goods and artistic gifts.
If day drinking is your thing, we don’t really need to direct you anywhere specific, as options will present themselves at every step. But for delicious cider and an impressive draught beer selection, the newly-opened Sugarburg is a great bet.
As the sun sets on your day, head to the picture-perfect Brooklyn Bridge Park for incredible views of the Manhattan skyline with Lady Liberty off in the distance. You’ll be perfectly situated in the DUMBO area for dinner, no matter what your mood.
When you’ve filled up, the night kicks into high gear over in Williamsburg. If you happen to make it to town on a Thursday night, go straight to Brooklyn Bowl (not be be confused with The Gutter) for a dance floor curated by DJ Questlove of The Roots.
In the vicinity are plenty of smaller bars and clubs for whatever your groove is, which are best concluded with a visit to the Neapolitan Express food truck. Don’t expect a dirty New York slice, but instead, the freshest ingredients your boozy body can handle at this hour.
Alternatively, if dancing isn’t your thing, Brooklyn Night Bazaar is everything a night market should be: a beer garden and bars, local street food, eclectic live music and unique jewelry and apparel – all the delights of a hipster’s dream world.
For a lower-key night out, the Brooklyn crowd also seems to love games with their drinks these days. Mostly located in Williamsburg, you’ll find a bunch of cool bars featuring Skee Ball, arcade games, bocce and the like.
These are perfect spots to head to if you’re the interactive type, as challenging a hottie to a game of ping-pong is way cooler than asking if “they come here often.”
The key to the rest of your time on this side of the bridge is exploring. Unlike Manhattan, the best little places aren’t all overrun by TripAdvisor diehards, so take your chances and you’ll probably discover something great. Whatever your style is.
Cover image from: istock.com/peterspiro