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Image Courtesy of The Way Station
Image Courtesy of The Way Station

A Local’s Guide To Brooklyn: 10 Insider Tips

Picture of Tom Krantz
Tom Krantz
Updated: 9 February 2017
Brooklyn is the place where originality meets innovation, old school meets new school, where ‘what was’ collides with ‘what is.’ Boasting an eclectic cocktail of venues, activities, and events, Brooklyn continues to attract tourists and locals alike who are in search of something off-the-beaten path. Be it food and beverage, a trip to the movies, or just your local Saturday market, Brooklyn has the ability of taking the seemingly ordinary, putting a twist on it, and selling it with a beer-shot combo for five dollars. Here are just a few local favorites to check out.

 

Smorgasburg Dumbo (4/14/2013) | © dumbonyc/Flickr

Smorgasburg Dumbo (4/14/2013) | © dumbonyc/Flickr

Smorgasburg

Branded ‘The Woodstock of Eating’ by the New York TimesSmorgasburg is a culinary oasis for anyone who enjoys some seriously decent eats. Launched in 2011, Smorgasburg is a spin-off of the popular Brooklyn Flea Market, and showcases 100+ food vendors and purveyors specializing in the savory, the sweet, and everything in-between. Spend the day blending eccentric flavors, from kimchi burritos to refreshingly healthy sodas. And though its outdoor venues in Williamsburg and Prospect Park are closed for the season, its indoor winter location is still going strong every Saturday and Sunday, from 10am-6pm, in Sunset Park.

 

Artists and Fleas

While you’re in the market for Saturday markets, be sure to check out the Artists and Fleas market in Williamsburg. Established in 2003, founders Amy and Ronen had set out to unite artists, indie designers, and vintage enthusiasts under one industrial roof. 11 years, and thousands of artists and vendors later, Artists and Fleas market has become a communal nucleus for anyone looking to display, discover, or simply enjoy this hip, modern-day bazaar. Featuring new vendors, new artists, guest entertainers, and DJs spinning every week, Artists and Flea market is perfect for any given Saturday or Sunday, from 10am-7pm.

Artists and Fleas, 70 North 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 917 488 4208

Theater One | Image Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema

Theater One | Image Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema

This takes the classic date night (dinner, movie, drinks) to a whole other level by fusing all three under one roof. In 2011, the Nitehawk set a historical precedent by overturning the NY state liquor law that prohibited alcohol in any motion picture theater. Please note that this is not a dinky spot to grab a Tecate and small popcorn (although they serve both). Their drink menu consists of beer, wine, and signature cocktails, and their full menu offers up delectable appetizers, small plates, entrees, as well as desserts.

Nitehawk Cinema, 136 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 782 8370

 

Nitehawk Cinema Exterior | Image Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema Exterior | Image Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket

Just in case there wasn’t enough competing for your Saturday, The Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket meets every week from 8am-4pm, just steps away from the northeast entrance to Prospect Park (also steps from the Brooklyn Public Library, the museum, and botanical gardens). Founded in 1976, residents from nearby neighborhoods like Park Slope and Prospect Heights have been flocking to this farmers market to enjoy its communal atmosphere and farm fresh produce. Shopping at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket supports local farmers and local food sourcing (plus the fresh and healthy produce doesn’t hurt).

Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY, USA + 1 212 788 7900 

 

Juliana’s

Be warned, tourists: utter the word ‘pizza’, and you’ll be swarmed with people who swear Grimaldi’s is the best you can get. However, Brooklyn locals know that the true heart and soul of Grimaldi’s is located right next door at Dumbo’s own Juliana’s. Quick history: more than a decade after pizza legend Patsy Grimaldi (original Grimaldi’s owner) had sold his restaurant (and name), he and his wife were coaxed into opening up another pizzeria, this time honoring Patsy’s mother, Juliana. Locals, tourists, and anyone who has tasted the difference will tell you that Juliana’s is Dumbo’s premiere pizza joint.

Juliana’s 19 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 596 6700

Diner

If you’re looking for an authentic diner in a retro Kullman car from the twenties underneath the Williamsburg Bridge, boy, is this the place for you. Since 1999, Diner has been serving up classics with a modern day approach. Diner features a local menu that changes daily, and boasts seasonal options. Always fresh, always innovative, customers will tell you that Diner lives up to (some would say exceeds) the seemingly grungy, mobile home atmosphere it’s created. If you’re looking to surprise someone in a big way, Diner is your destination.

Diner, 85 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY, USA, +1 718 486 3077

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Since 2007, Music Hall of Williamsburg has been providing Indie-rock fans with some of the best acts to come through Brooklyn. Whether you’re a fan of high voltage rock, soft acoustic sets, or experimental trip hop, this venue provides listeners with an intimate setting and incredible acoustics. Not only does the venue feature three floors, with three bars, and free water, but the downstairs area provides fans with a relaxed environment to talk before and after the shows. Pair that with a tasty drink menu and you’re in for a good time with good music.

Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 486 5400

 

Brooklyn Bowl sign at The Linq | © Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Brooklyn Bowl sign at The Linq | © Daniel Ramirez/Flickr

Brooklyn Bowl

If a restaurant/bar/movie theater doesn’t impress you, you might want to consider Brooklyn Bowl, Williamsburg’s premiere restaurant/bar/bowling alley/music venue. Some might think that having a concert hall next to a bowling alley would be too hectic, and yet, they work in perfect harmony. Brooklyn Bowl offers up 16 lanes, a full food and drink menu, and features musically themed nights like Drake vs. Kanye (all originals, no tributes). They also host Hip Hop Karaoke for any local or tourist brave enough to melt the microphone like its plastic.

Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 963 3369

Image Courtesy of The Way Station

Image Courtesy of The Way Station

The Way Station

The Way Station offers up music five nights a week and features all genres, from R&B to Alt-Indian. However it gains its fame as being Brooklyn’s exclusive Dr. Who-themed bar. The TARDIS bathroom (which is bigger than it looks), Dr. Who themed cocktails (like the sonic screwdriver), and regular Dr. Who screenings makes this the perfect nerd bar for fans, locals, and tourists alike. They also have a teacher’s appreciation happy hour on Fridays from 4-8pm, and all the funds from their ‘Douche Jar’ (for disruptive public drunks) goes toward an emergency teacher fund.

The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 347 627 4949

Blueprint

If you’re looking to get away from the madness that is Barclays Center, but don’t feel like paying $20 dollars for a craft beer, be sure to check out Blueprint. This quiet, upscale establishment provides Park Slope patrons with a speakeasy ambiance that invites intimate conversation with just the right amount of lighting. Not only are their cocktails delicious, and surprisingly affordable, but the small and cozy space exudes class (and hints of mahogany). Blueprint is the place to go when you’re wrapping up a day of markets, movies, music, and bowling.

Blueprint, 196 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 622 6644