When I was relocating from my home in Manhattan’s midtown east neighborhood of Sutton Place, I was eager to be among the young who were absent from my old-timer part of town. And so I looked to Brooklyn—the apparent Logan’s Run of New York City.
It’s not all bowties and handlebar mustaches as the ever popular Williamsburg may have you to believe. There’s also trendy “Grown Up” South Brooklyn. This includes the area from DUMBO south to Red Hook, and Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill east to Park Slope. As gentrification persists the expanse between downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg contracts like a reversed Big Bang.
South Brooklyn is replete with cocktail bars and eateries including the Michelin starred La Vara and Take Root, and emporiums with antiques for the home as well as haberdasheries reminiscent of those on far away Madison Avenue. This part of Brooklyn has the sophistication and glamour of the Upper East Side, charming historic neighborhoods full of old carriage houses and brownstones with a low key, organic-minded Brooklyn sensibility though with slightly more strollers in bars than its Williamsburg counterpart.
Ladies and gents, here is your guide to a weekend through South Brooklyn.
You’ve just ridden the F train all the way across Manhattan to the Bergen Street stop; or you’ve skipped the traffic after work and spent the $23+ taxi right to Atlantic Avenue. Once the Brooklynites convert you from a Manhattanite—you will start to hail cabs much less.
Photo credit: Chez Moi Instagram
Start the evening at Chez Moi, an authentic French restaurant with perfectly dim lighting and the best moule frites this side of the East River. Skip the Bordeaux, or at least postpone it for your second drink, and try one of their well crafted cocktails. Grab stools at the bar to sneak in some people watching, très français.
Walk a few blocks into Boerum Hill for an after dinner drink at the Brooklyn Inn. This gorgeous, high ceilinged German bar from the 1870s was imported and placed on the corner of Bergen and Hoyt. It’s simple bar menu — a great place to switch to your after dinner liquor.
Grab your morning coffee at Ted & Honey and bring it to sit in the quaintest of parks — Cobble Hill Park. Sit among well manicured tulips and a shaded row of green and pink carriage houses or stroll the Warren Place Mews. Or head over to Bien Cuit for freshly made croissant and sit in their alluring backyard.
For brunch, head over to Alma in Columbia Heights and ask for rooftop seating. There are heat lamps setup for the colder months. Take in one of Brooklyn’s most epic views of Manhattan over a delicious Mexican menu with a jalapeño margarita to liven the most important meal of the day. If the francophile in you is still hankering for more, head to Bar Tabac for authentic eggs Norwegian among soccer fans and daytime jazz.
Now that you’ve tasted the delight of being well fed Brooklynite, take a stroll along Smith and Court Streets, the central veins of Cobble Hill. Stop in By Brooklyn for locally made crafts or the familiar and chic Rag & Bone, Steven Alan or Jacadi which have been swiftly dotting the neighborhood. Stroll Atlantic for the many home goods stores or unique shops like Horseman Antiques and Hatchet Outdoor Supply.
Be sure to check the listings at BAM to enjoy a late afternoon performance or indie flick. Or take the 30 minute stroll along the water to Red Hook where lobster, crab beautiful bicycles and key lime pie await.
Now the evening is approaching and you’re likely ready to imbibe a libation and start to thinking about dinner.
Stop for a drink at Congress or June on your walk over to Columbia Heights. Or for a trip to the local watering hole, grab a seat outside or prop up at the bar and watch your favorite team at Strong Place over wine or beer and fried chickpeas. For dinner, grab a table at Petite Crevette for some of the best seafood this side of France.
Before heading back to whereabouts you came, in the afternoon find yourself at Henry Public to listen to live jazz and blues over artisanal cocktail.