9 Unusual Things To Do in Williamsburg

One World Trade Center looms on the horizon in this street scene from Williamsburg
One World Trade Center looms on the horizon in this street scene from Williamsburg | © Paul T Forrest / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor28 June 2019

This list of the most unusual things to do in Williamsburg will show you a different side of Brooklyn’s most happening neighborhood.

Do karaoke in a couple’s apartment

Lion’s Roar Karaoke Lounge is quite literally a lounge. Husband-and-wife duo Roberto Williams and Zaida Soler Williams open up their disco-lit apartment to host rowdy groups every evening until the small hours. Bring your own booze and food and make yourself at home, but don’t take a shower in the apartment’s bathroom. “It should go without saying, but we had somebody do that once,” the Williamses say.

Go bowling in a dive bar

Bar, Pub Grub, American
Tucked down a quiet stretch of North 14th Street is a classic New York dive bar – dark, loud and smelling faintly of spilled beer – that doubles as a bowling alley. Put your name down early at The Gutter (there are eight lanes, and they’re very popular). Then grab a craft brew and some food from nearby Vinnie’s Pizza (they deliver) while you wait for your turn.

Listen to a live reggae band

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Nightclub, Pub Grub, $$$
Looking for an after-dinner activity that’s livelier than a quick nightcap? Velvet Brooklyn on Broadway has a schedule of events every night of the week, including stand-up comedy, jazz and free live reggae on Mondays from 8pm. What better way to kick the week off right than with uplifting Caribbean ambience?

Hop on a creepy trolley tour

Madame Morbid's Trolley Tours in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.
Madame Morbid’s Trolley Tours highlight the darker side of Brooklyn | © Karen Jerzyk

It’s hard to miss the black Victorian trolley chugging down Bedford Avenue five nights a week. Madame Morbid’s tours expose a darker side of Brooklyn, traversing some of the borough’s oldest neighborhoods and uncovering chilling tales of murder, crime and hauntings. If possible, book during a full moon for themed snacks (moon pies), accessories (werewolf fangs) and uninhibited pack howling.

Watch a rebel gospel band

Bar, Pub Grub, American
Vince Anderson at Union Pool, Brooklyn, New York.
People dance the night away with Reverend Vince Anderson at Union Pool | © Mindy Tucker
Monday evenings aren’t normally the most sociable night of the week, but you should make an exception for Reverend Vince Anderson and his Love Band. The ordained minister, who dropped out of Union Theological Seminary to pursue music, has his own unique brand of somewhat irreverent gospel that’s earned him a devoted following that’s willing to hit the dance floor at Union Pool from 10pm until late on a school night.

Take a workshop or class

Space Ninety 8, Brooklyn, New York.
Space Ninety 8 in Brooklyn is part of Urban Outfitters | © Heidi Lee
There’s a huge multi-story Urban Outfitters concept store in Williamsburg, and it regularly hosts interesting lifestyle classes and workshops with local companies and personalities. Past events have included CBD yoga, “floral savagery” arrangement tutorials, adaptogen happy hours, piercing sessions and panels on how to manage your money better. Check the Facebook page to see what’s coming up next.
People participate in the Freakebana Workshop with FDK Florals | © Heidi Lee

Watch indie movies in an old bodega


You won’t get plush seats or table service at the Spectacle Theater, but this indie establishment has charms of its own. Established and run by a staff of cinephile volunteers, and situated in what used to be a neighborhood bodega, it screens quirky, rare and overlooked films not showing at your local AMC.

Break out your salsa moves at Bembe

Bar, Nightclub, Pub Grub, $$$
Known for DJs spinning world music – from afrobeat to dancehall and reggaeton – the atmosphere at Bembe is enough to entice even the most ardent wallflowers onto the dance floor. Order yourself a tropical cocktail and start practicing those salsa steps.

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