Over the bridge

Move over, Manhattan: the borough of Brooklyn is where it’s at. George Epaminondas rambles from Bed-Stuy and Bushwick to Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens in our essential guide to New York’s new capital of cool.

By George Epaminondas
A flock of revellers is buzzing outside a hot spot in New York on a Saturday afternoon. The women are clad in rompers and leather sandals, while the men wear button-down shirts, jeans and suede chukkas. Every few moments, stylish couples are whisked up to the sixth-floor bar of the Wythe Hotel, as though they're in a hipster adaptation of Noah's ark. Up here, the hotel's vast terrace offers jaw-dropping vistas of the skyline, and the animated throng have come to watch the sun set, down a few tequila-laced cocktails and make some Facebook friends. It's the sort of convivial scene that unfolds almost every night of the week in New York, except that the fashionable new eyrie in question is not located in Manhattan - it's in Brooklyn. The borough, just across the East River, is now a vibrant metropolis in its own right. It's Brooklyn's moment in the sun.
Over the years Manhattan's inflated real estate prices have forced the young, the creative and those with children to flee to Brooklyn, only to discover that they actually relish their new home. With ample space and a relaxed energy, the borough has a singular style that is looser and more experimental than its big-city counterpart. Brooklyn is where innovators are setting trends in food, fashion, music, art, literature and design.
Consider the Wythe Hotel in the scenester-filled neighbourhood of Williamsburg. The 72-room inn opened earlier this year in a former textile factory and elevates the borough's industrial aesthetic to dazzling new heights, with meticulously preserved original pine beams, arched windows and cast-iron columns. The loft-like rooms are super comfortable, and the restaurant, Reynard, is top notch.
With Manhattan evolving into a glitzy mall, Brooklyn seems like a more authentic version of New York: warehouses reborn as adult playgrounds, graffiti-painted street corners, and a melting pot of 2.5 million residents. In addition to having a resolute devotion to recycling, Brooklyn is dedicated to artisanal, organic and sustainably sourced food. You name it - chocolate, sausage, Bourbon, mayonnaise - it's made in Brooklyn in small, delicious batches. Many of the borough's leading restaurants share a scruffy-chic and farm-to-table sensibility that now echoes all around the globe.
When it comes to personal style, tattoos, spectacles and plaid abound. And if there is a TV show that has underscored the cultural impact of the borough, it's Girls, which does for Brooklyn what Sex and the City did for Manhattan. It's worth booking your trip to Brooklyn before the Girls-themed tour buses arrive.
While the enormous borough stretches from Greenpoint in the north all the way to the beach resort town of Coney Island in the south, the following pages focus on the neighbourhoods with the most activity. If you're staying in Manhattan, almost everywhere listed here is accessible via subway, taxi or water taxi to the Fulton Ferry Landing. If you're lodging in Brooklyn, cabs are the ideal way to scoot around - most trips are less than $10 - or you could rent your own Zipcar. Don't be afraid to go off the map. One night, while en route to a bar in Bushwick, we found ourselves at an impromptu gig on the rooftop of an apartment building. As the merry band played their weird hybrid of bluegrass and burlesque, and a bearded percussionist banged on a garbage can, I thought to myself, "Welcome to Brooklyn".
WILLIAMSBURG The locus of indie rock, skinny jeans, edgy art, compelling food and sleek bars. Stop by the Williamsburg waterfront: on Saturdays it's Smorgasburg, a food market, while on Sundays it's the Williamsburg branch of the Brooklyn Flea.
Eat Reynard Acclaimed Brooklyn restaurateur Andrew Tarlow - of Marlow & Sons, Diner, and Roman's - has conjured this captivating restaurant at the Wythe Hotel. The menu focuses on hearty cuts of meat and fish, all scrupulously prepared from a woodfired oven and grill. 80 Wythe Ave, +1 718 460 8004
Walden This bucolic restaurant was named after the Henry David Thoreau classic about going back to nature, and serves seasonal dishes such as braised pork shoulder with watermelon and poblano chilli in an inviting space. 502 Lorimer St, +1 347 227 7133
Cafe de la Esquina This jalapeño-hot Mexican restaurant has four dining options: a reservations-only dining room, a more casual diner, an intimate bar and, in the warmer months, an outdoor taquería. 225 Wythe Ave, +1 718 393 5500
Isa A handsome eatery from designer and restaurateur Taavo Somer (who did the carpentry for the rustic interiors himself) with simple Mediterranean-inspired fare. 348 Wythe Ave, +1 347 689 3594
The Meatball Shop Choose from classic beef, spicy pork, chicken, vegetable, or a daily special, with a choice of sauce. Order them naked, on a baguette or smashed on a brioche. 170 Bedford Ave, +1 718 551 0520
Samurai Mama Heavenly udon noodles in a spicy broth and a selection of toppings including Japanese sweet potato, prawn tempura and pork belly. 205 Grand St, +1 718 599 6161
Allswell Chef Nate Smith, formerly of The Spotted Pig, has created a gastropub with a carnivorous bent. The menu changes daily and might include braised rabbit with fennel and carrots, and spaghetti with pork jowl, asparagus and wild mushrooms. 124 Bedford Ave, +1 347 799 2743
Drink Hotel Delmano Of all the faux speakeasies in Brooklyn, this may be the most beguiling, with its curved marble bar, distressed walls and multiple rooms for quaffing libations such as the whiskey-and-eggwhite Rattlesnake. 82 Berry St, +1 718 387 1945
Maison Premiere An oyster house, cocktail den and 19th-century-inspired New Orleans saloon. Order a towering platter of shellfish and oysters and taste the absinthe from their fountain. 298 Bedford Ave, +1 347 335 0446
Dram Some bars have rotating DJs but Dram changes up its mixologists every night. The barkeeps hail from some of the best drinking holes in the city and the ever-evolving cocktail menu is always stellar. 177 South Fourth St, +1 718 486 3726
Nitehawk Cinema Yes, they screen art-house movies but they also have a decent bar on the ground floor serving cocktails inspired by cinema. To wit: The Driver is a homage to Ryan Gosling with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Gosling's Ginger Beer. 136 Metropolitan Ave, +1 718 384 3980
Blue Bottle Coffee A roaster, coffee bar and mad laboratory in one - witness the large Japanese glass brewing systems that resemble a science experiment. Try the New Orleans-style iced coffee, or the drip coffee made one cup at a time. 160 Berry St, +1 718 387 4160
Shop Beautiful Dreamers An enchanting cache of print dresses, vintage textiles, leather pouches and arresting jewellery curated by stylists April Hughes and Marina Burini. Adina Mills's sculptural bijoux, using materials including rope, peacock pyrite and petrified wood, is a standout. 326 Wythe Ave, +1 718 388 4884
Mociun Caitlin Mociun presents her delicate jewellery - she favours gold, silver, diamonds and turquoise - and fabrics alongside baubles, ceramics and homewares by other designers in a tranquil gallery-like space. 224 Wythe Ave, +1 718 387 3731
RePop Mid-century modern design, both American and Danish, plus eclectic collectables including skeletal models, elk taxidermy and vintage gas-station signs. 143 Roebling St, +1 718 260 8032
Mc & Co A high-end homewares store that brings together local and international designers, all of whom subscribe to a clean, graphic and punchy sensibility. 57 North Sixth St, +1 718 388 3551
Pilgrim Surf + Supply You read that correctly. A surf shop in Williamsburg. Stock up on bikinis, boardies, and even a board for hitting the waves in nearby Rockaway Beach. 68 North Third St, +1 718 218 7456
GREENPOINT The northernmost tip of Brooklyn is a traditional Polish enclave with a spillover of hipsters from Williamsburg. The area is served by the G train (the only subway line that doesn't enter Manhattan), which has slowed its development, but there are big changes afoot.
Eat Five Leaves When Heath Ledger died, he left behind plans for a restaurant, which his estate helped realise. The result, Five Leaves, has a cult following - and frequent queues - for its reliable food. 18 Bedford Ave, +1 718 383 5345
Enid's This brunch spot, celebrated for its southern grits and spicy Bloody Marys, turns into a cool singles scene at night. 560 Manhattan Ave, +1 718 349 3859
Topnotch Italian and French dishes with a fresh farmhouse inclination. Even the bread comes in a flower pot. 222 Franklin St, +1 718 389 8102
Drink Pencil Factory Bar The bar's dark wood, exposed brick, tin ceiling and endless pints of Guinness tip a hat to Greenpoint's ship-building past when longshoremen stopped for a beverage. 142 Franklin St, +1 718 609 5858
The Diamond A well-known beer-focused bar where you can play a few rounds of shuffleboard and rubber-ring quoits as you enjoy a tipple. 43 Franklin St, +1 718 383 5030
Shop In God We Trust This store carries mostly women's clothing, such as retro-inspired sundresses, as well as fanciful jewellery and a smattering of menswear, taxidermy and antiques. 70 Greenpoint Ave, +1 718 389 3545
Alter A well-edited women's store with eye-catching dresses by Mink Pink, graphic printed tanks by Uzi and colourful ballerina flats. 140 Franklin St, +1 718 349 0203
Kill Devil Hill Industrial Revolution-era gewgaws, vintage clothing and antique homewares form the basis of this eccentric retail store. 170 Franklin St, +1 347 534 3088
BUSHWICK Revitalisation is slowly upgrading this industrial locale, the hub of Brooklyn's Latin-American community, with a stream of new art galleries leading the way. Creative types from adjacent Williamsburg are flitting to this transitional neighbourhood in search of cheaper rents.
Eat Roberta's Arguably the most revered pizzeria in Brooklyn. The raffish space, with rough-hewn wooden tables, mismatched chairs and humming patio area, is a magnet for both food fans and party animals. Try the Bee Sting brunch pizza with chilli, basil and honey. 261 Moore St, +1 718 417 1118
Blanca Chef Carlo Mirarchi and his partners at Roberta's recently opened this temple of fine dining behind their bustling pizzeria. Minimal seating means snagging a reservation can be near impossible, but those fortunate enough to do so rave about the 25-course tasting menu. 261 Moore St, +1 646 703 2715
Drink Pearl's Social & Billy Club With its old-school tunes, homespun interiors and drinks served in Mason jars, it's little wonder this is one of the neighbourhood's most popular watering holes. 40 St Nicholas Ave, +1 347 627 9985
The Well A music venue, farmers' market and beer garden in one. It honours its history as a brewery with 60 beers on tap and another 250 in bottles. Rapper Cam'ron christened the performance space, called The Wick, in July with its inaugural performance. 272 Meserole St, +1 347 338 3612
Shop Mandate of Heaven Carissa Ackerman skilfully splices vintage fabrics and clothing into sexy, edgy and whimsical one-of-a-kind pieces. Open Saturdays only. 595 Kosciuszko St, +1 347 627 3943
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT Bed-Stuy is to Brooklyn what Harlem is to Manhattan - an African-American cultural mecca. The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Lil' Kim all hail from this 'hood which features landmark 19th-century homes, happening eateries and an appealingly gritty edge.
Do Or Dine
This irreverent restaurant has a mirror ball, graffiti murals and offbeat but delicious culinary noodlings from chefs Justin Warner and George McNeese. Dishes include devilled eggs stuffed with baby octopus and ume, and foie gras and jelly doughnuts. The name is a riff on the way Biggie Smalls (the late rapper also known as The Notorious B.I.G.) described his neighbourhood: "Bed-Stuy, do or die." 1108 Bedford Ave, +1 718 684 2290
This tranquil trattoria with its whitewashed walls, woodfired oven and quaint furniture is known primarily for its pizza but has other excellent dishes too. 435 Halsey St, +1 718 574 0010
Umi Nom
Chef King Phojanakong is the scion of Philippine and Thai parents and explores both sides of his ancestry at this former laundry space. 433 Dekalb Ave, +1 718 789 8806
Black Swan A one-time auto-body shop has been transformed into a gastropub. The craft beers draw the happy-hour crowd, while others come for the signature burger and the fried chicken sandwich. 1048 Bedford Ave, +1 718 783 4744
Drink One Last Shag Perhaps the grooviest bar in Bed-Stuy - certainly it has the cheekiest name - with upbeat tunes and a relaxed tiki-bar vibe. 348 Franklin Ave, +1 718 398 2472
Denim Lounge
Soul fans rejoice. This upscale lounge and live music venue focuses on '80s, hip-hop, R & B and reggae. 1223 Bedford Ave, +1 718 484 3148
Shop Collecther A well-priced vintage clothing store with an emphasis on retro dresses. Owner Shana Jackson is known to greet Sunday shoppers with a Mimosa. 306 Franklin Ave, +1 347 658 7857
casaBAN A mix of contemporary and antique furniture as well as global accent pieces ideal for kitting out a brownstone - or your pad back home. 397 Tompkins Ave, +1 917 607 3838
CLINTON HILL & FORT GREENE These sister neighbourhoods boast majestic homes, a multiculti populace and a slightly arty bent care of the Pratt Institute, a leading design college with the largest sculpture garden in New York City. Among the main attractions are flea markets, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and a score of dining, drinking and shopping options.
Eat Lulu & Po This new arrival, located minutes from BAM, is a welcome addition to the block. It serves a variety of hot and cold small plates as well as a few heartier dishes including iron-pressed firehouse chicken. 154 Carlton Ave, Fort Greene, +1 917 435 3745
Roman's A restaurant with an Italian-inflected menu that changes daily. It's a clamorous scene - possibly because all the patrons seem to know each other. 243 Dekalb Ave, Fort Greene, +1 718 622 5300
Putnam's Putnam's, opened last year by Gerry Rooney, is beloved by locals and it's not hard to see why. The interior looks to prohibition-era America but the food is decidedly modern: devils on horseback - fried oysters on devilled eggs - and grass-fed pork chops. 419 Myrtle Ave, Clinton Hill, +1 347 799 2382
Drink Smooch Aussie ex-pat Basquali (no last name) evidently spent time at the Tropicana in Sydney's Darlinghurst before deciding to open this serene organic café and wine bar with outdoor seating; offerings include a "Melbourne latte" and "Tamarama" toast. 264 Carlton Ave, Fort Greene, +1 718 624 4075
Hot Bird Hot Bird sits on a desolate strip of Atlantic Avenue and borrows its quirky name from a defunct Brooklyn chicken restaurant. But the focus here is on craft beers to be enjoyed in the spacious front garden and airy interior. 546 Clinton Ave (cnr Atlantic Ave), Clinton Hill, +1 718 230 5800
Habana Outpost A delightful gathering place with multicoloured umbrellas, frozen Margaritas, and inexpensive Cuban and Mexican treats such as corn on the cob dipped in Cotija cheese. 757 Fulton St, Fort Greene, +1 718 858 9500
Shop Brooklyn Flea Hundreds of leading purveyors of antique furniture, vintage clothing, and jewellery, arts and food assemble in Fort Greene every Saturday. 176 Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene
Owa Afrikan Market Vibrant printed fabrics, sculptures, beads and bowls from Nigeria and Ghana jostle for space along with African spices at this bazaar. 434 Myrtle Ave, Fort Greene, +1 718 643 8487
RED HOOK With cobblestone streets and fishermen still plying their trade, this is perhaps the most retiring part of Brooklyn, and definitely the trickiest to get to. The F and G lines are nearby, but if you're coming from Manhattan, it might be easier to take a water taxi from South Street Seaport to the Ikea terminal.
Eat Brooklyn Crab A seafood shack with harbour views serving Atlantic Coast seafood, clam chowder, crab cakes, and steam pots filled with piscatorial treats. 24 Reed St, +1 718 643 2722
This sophisticated cocktail bar serves chocolate concoctions from Cacao Prieto, the cacao establishment next door. 220 Conover St, +1 718 797 2297
Shop Erie Basin Worth a visit for the poetic collection of 19th-century and early 20th-century vintage estate jewellery. 388 Van Brunt St, +1 718 554 6147
CARROLL GARDENS, COBBLE HILL & BOERUM HILL This trio of locales, sandwiched between Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, is blessed with tree-lined streets, stellar retail stores, great bars, and a smorgasbord of leading nosheries. You could spend days discovering the countless attractions of Smith Street and Atlantic Avenue.
Eat Cubana Café An exuberant pastel-coloured, jam-packed affair with affordable Cuban cuisine including pulled pork, jicama salad, and poblano chillies stuffed with prawns and calamari. Or you could just visit for the Mojitos. 272 Smith St, Carroll Gardens, +1 718 858 3980
Buttermilk Channel An inviting bistro that tempts for dinner as well as for weekend brunch with the likes of warm lamb and cos salad, and parsley-crusted New England hake. 524 Court St, Carroll Gardens, +1 718 852 8490
Seersucker A childhood in Arkansas and the greenmarket located across the street provide chef Robert Newton with the inspiration for sophisticated Southern fare such as crisp catfish and black-pepper ricotta dumplings. 329 Smith St, Carroll Gardens, +1 718 422 0444
LA VARA This newbie bucks the farm-to-table trend by serving sensational Spanish dishes that evoke the Moorish and Jewish flavours of the Iberian Peninsula. 268 Clinton St, Cobble Hill, + 1 718 422 0065
Battersby Owner-chefs Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern man the kitchen at this small but ambitious restaurant that is one of Brooklyn's leading lights. Go for the heirloom tomato salad with strawberries and wild sorrel, and the linguine with littleneck clams and peekytoe crab. Better yet, submit to one of the sublime tasting menus. 255 Smith St, Cobble Hill, +1 718 852 8321
M.o.B. "Vegetarian food for carnivores" is how French philosopher and restaurateur Cyril Aouizerate describes this recent sunny arrival on Atlantic Avenue. Translation: appetising flatbreads shaped like the Brooklyn Bridge, mushroom burgers and yucca chips. Aouizerate, co-creator of Mama Shelter in Paris, is looking to open a hotel in the area, too. 525 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, +1 718 797 2555
Drink Clover Club Swizzles, punches and royales are among the many options here. You can also drink your vegetables thanks to libations featuring cherry tomatoes and basil or sugarsnap peas as key ingredients. 210 Smith St, Cobble Hill, +1 718 855 7939
The Bourgeois Pig The Brooklyn offshoot of this East Village bar shares the same fin-de-siècle décor - patterned wallpaper, velvet settees and red lighting - and quality drinks. It also has a fine Euro wine list and nibbles to share. 387 Court St, Carroll Gardens, +1 718 858 5483
Building on Bond No matter whether you're in the mood for a macchiato, a Margarita or a malbec, this spacious café and bar is a sure thing. It's also decorated with a unique mix of tchotchkes. 112 Bond St, Boerum Hill, +1 347 853 8687
Shop Mafalda Vintage clothing and accessories impeccably edited by owner Christina Kolbe. Nothing kitschy or over-the-top, just well-made collectables for a lifetime. Spotted: Ossie Clark, YSL and an amazing purple tapestry coat by Fred Leighton who designed frocks before rocks. 360 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, +1 347 987 3470
The Banquet Sporty-sexy women's clothing by Miranda Bennett, vivid jewellery by Pamela Johnston and vintage furniture in one appealing store. 360 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, +1 718 522 6906
Darr The name of this fascinating store translates as "home" in Arabic, and Darr is filled with botanical specimens, anatomical art, taxidermy and distressed furniture, as well as found objects scoured from upstate New York and Pennsylvania. 369 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, +1 718 797 9733
Bird Jennifer Mankins has three Bird boutiques in Brooklyn and this light-filled branch was the second one to open. Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant are among the labels carried, and the merch is always fetchingly arranged. 220 Smith St, Cobble Hill, +1 718 797 3774
Smith & Butler A tempting selection of tough-chic clothing for men and women, natty homewares and vintage motorcycles. 225 Smith St, Carroll Gardens, +1 718 855 4295
PROSPECT HEIGHTS A small yet culturally diverse area with a mix of well-maintained brownstones, less interesting buildings and ample green space in the form of Prospect Park. It's also home to Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Public Library.
Eat Bar Corvo A good-looking Italian restaurant from the proprietors of the well-regarded Al Di Là in Park Slope. Try the semolina gnocchi, fritto misto, and octopus confit with chilli, lemon and mint. 791 Washington Ave, +1 718 230 0940
Cheryl's Global Soul The world is chef Cheryl Smith's oyster. It's also her Moroccan vegetable tagine, Thai coconut-curried mussels and Korean rib-eye. Conveniently located near the Brooklyn Museum. 236 Underhill Ave, +1 347 529 2855
Franny's The Neapolitan-like pies at this pizzeria have a light, heavenly crust. Arrive early because bookings aren't taken and it's typically swamped. Slake your thirst with a Fragola Fizz with gin, lime juice, strawberry purée and soda while you wait for a table. 295 Flatbush Ave, +1 718 230 0221
606 R&D At City Bakery in Chelsea, Ilene Rosen was known as the "salad whisperer" for her impressive medleys. Earlier this year she opened this 30-seat bistro with her business partner Sara Dima. The carrot-parsnip pancakes with sautéed greens and the spicy pork sausage, fennel and herb-bread salad are both outstanding. 606 Vanderbilt Ave, +1 718 230 0125
Glass Shop
Co-owner Francesco Agostino is Australian, which explains the lattes in Duralex glasses, olive oil cake and bucolic backyard. 766 Classon Ave, no phone
Milk Bar For a flat white, an "Australian iced coffee" (a double shot of espresso over vanilla bean ice-cream, topped with milk) and other familiar refreshments, head to this cheery corner café from Melbourne expat Alexander Hall. 620 Vanderbilt Ave, +1 718 230 0844
Weather Up An elegantly kitted-out, dimly lit and suddenly cool bar (it was name-checked in episode two of Girls) with killer cocktails. Try the Roman Highball with Averna, ginger syrup, lime and soda. 589 Vanderbilt Ave
Shop Park Delicatessen Impossibly cool couple Valentine Leung and Michael Sclafani bring together some of their favourite things including cut flowers, skateboards, and tie-dyed clothing. So Brooklyn. 533 Park Pl, +1 718 789 8889
The Garden Shop at Brooklyn Botanic Garden This store, ideal for those with green thumbs, sells garden tools and accessories, home items, and flora-themed jewellery and clothing. 990 Washington Ave, +1 718 622 0963
PARK SLOPE Leafy streets, landmark brownstones and countless strollers - Park Slope is perhaps the breeziest Brooklyn address. Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue are two of its main store-dotted thoroughfares.
Eat Talde Filipino-American chef Dale Talde knocks it out of the Park (Slope) with playful pan-Asian dishes such as Korean fried chicken with kimchi yoghurt and cherries, and perilla leaf with toasted prawn, coconut and bacon-tamarind caramel, which delivers a Willy Wonka thrill. 369 Seventh Ave, +1 347 916 0031
Thistle Hill Tavern This lauded gastropub serves gratifying comfort food with a twist: the mac and cheese comes with Fontina, Grana Padano, smoked provolone and pecorino. 441 Seventh Ave, +1 347 599 1262
Drink Beer Table Go here for the menu of special and rare beers, as well as Scotch, Bourbon and mouth-watering small plates. 427B Seventh Ave, +1 718 965 1196
Brookvin A grown-up bar with a brief but inspired wine list, house-made charcuterie and a cosy design. 381 Seventh Ave,+1 718 768 9463
Shop Guvnor's Vintage A sprawling vintage repository where you can discover dresses from the 1940s to the 1980s, costume jewellery and men's clothing. 178 Fifth Ave, +1 718 230 4887
Homebody Boutique A showcase of handcrafted jewellery, décor and furniture by indie designers. Example: sterling silver and diamond scorpion tail rings by Nancy Edwards. 449 Seventh Ave, +1 718 369 8980
DUMBO This erstwhile grimy warehouse district is now home to some of the most expensive real estate in Brooklyn, and a slew of internet firms and digital agencies that have earned it the name Silicon Beach. Don't miss the enchanting 1922 carousel, enclosed in an acrylic pavilion by French architect Jean Nouvel (, at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Like Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) features staggering views of downtown Manhattan.
Eat Gran Electrica Light streams through the windows of this Mexican restaurant. It opens for lunch and dinner and specialises in hand-pressed tortillas. 5 Front St, +1 718 852 2700
Governor A recent arrival on a mission to shake things up. Star dishes include squash gazpacho with fried zucchini flowers and fried blowfish tails. 15 Main St, +1 718 858 4756
Vinegar Hill House Adjacent to Dumbo and near the Navy Yard is this quaint little restaurant on a cobblestone backstreet. Look beyond the anachronistic interiors to the expertly prepared eats. 72 Hudson Ave, +1 718 522 1018
Drink Galapagos Art Space The kind of esoteric performance venue where you might watch a trapeze artist, chat about the history of punk and swill a few Dirty Martinis. 16 Main St, +1 718 222 8500
Shop The Powerhouse Arena A gallery, boutique, and intriguing bookshop in one that's ideal for browsing. 37 Main St, +1 718 666 3049
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS While not as happening as its groovy neighbours, this affluent locale features rows of picturesque homes, from early 19th-century Federal townhouses to Italianate brownstones. It's conveniently located near downtown Manhattan and has breathtaking vistas of the city along the promenade.
Eat Colonie A wall of herbs, flickering candles and high ceilings set the mood for this superb farmhouse-style restaurant. 127 Atlantic Ave, +1 718 855 7500
Noodle Pudding An Italian institution with a well-priced, full-flavoured menu. If you're in the mood for a bowl of mussels and a tiramisù to finish, this is the place. 38 Henry St, +1 718 625 3737
Drink The Roebling Inn This low-key tavern is named after the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, and located a few blocks from the waterfront. Dark wood panelling and 15 beers on tap set the scene. 97 Atlantic Ave, +1 718 488 0040
Iris Cafe This is an excellent option for tea, coffee or a sandwich after you've toured the architectural wonders of the 'hood. 20 Columbia Pl, +1 718 722 7395
Shop Housing Works Thrift Shop A major purveyor of second-hand clothing, accessories and furniture, with profits directed to HIV/AIDS research. 122 Montague St, +1 718 237 0521
Holler & Squall Antique furniture, industrial lighting, vintage housewares and oddities such as a stuffed peacock. 119 Atlantic Ave, +1 347 223 4685
  • undefined: George Epaminondas