The beauty of Brooklyn is characterized by its people. Their creative energy and cultural diversity made way for a spirited food scene, buzzy nightlife and semi-good NBA team. Experience Brooklyn like a local with Alexander-Julian Gibbson's guide.Less
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a lush waterfront park made up of six piers. If it’s views you’re in search of, Pier 1 is the place to be. The first pier in the park has the most panoramic view of Manhattan you’ll find anywhere in BK. Pier 1 also has a playground and a ferry to the city.
Prospect Park, home to a wildlife center, horseback riding trails, baseball fields, tennis courts, ice skating rinks and more, is the epicenter of Brooklyn living. Best of all, the Prospect Park programming committee is undefeated in hosting free and low-cost events — such as yoga in the park or performances at the Bandshell — that manage to bring together the borough and capture the livelihood of Brooklyn.
Many would say you didn’t do Brooklyn right if you weren’t on somebody’s roof at some point. With that sentiment in mind, check out Rooftop Films. The Brooklyn-based nonprofit group hosts free and low-cost rooftop and outdoor film screenings around the borough and provides a platform to amazing independent films. The group has temporarily shifted to a drive-in concept. Check their website for locations and times.
Sweet Chick is the mecca of chicken and waffles in Brooklyn and a beloved brunch spot here. The Southern brunch staples, like shrimp and grits and mac and cheese, are made with Brooklyn love, and the brunch-only biscuits and gravy are so good you’ll want to slap your mama, or some other cliche physical expression of flavor-motivated joy. Less carnivorous brunch companions have been known to rave about the vegetarian chicken and waffle dish.
With its perfectly toasted “soft on the inside, crisp on the outside” bagels and old New York decor, this nine-year-old shop wins the hearts of true Brooklyn bagel-eaters. Franky Assad, the born-and-raised Brooklynite who owns the shop, has packed out his menu with sandwiches named after his favorite neighborhoods in the borough, from Red Hook to Sunset Park.
At the corner of Bedford and North 11th, facing off the neighborhood’s beloved McCarren Park, the Bedford is a quintessentially Williamsburg dining experience. Appropriately described as offering “upscale pub cuisine,” the restaurant has an eclectic lunch menu with a comprehensive wine list for the “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” crowd. The gastropub dishes out a crispy pickleback chicken sandwich and a very Instagram-worthy “mac n cheese burger.”
Black Nile, a restaurant self-described as “a river that feeds the soul,” is the home of flavor-packed, itis-inducing soul food cooked by Brooklyn native Fanerra Dupree and her husband, Hasson. You’ll be served perfectly seasoned seafood with Southern comfort recipes like hot-honey catfish, seafood cornbread and Cajun pasta. If seafood isn’t your thing, thankfully pretty much everything on the menu is phenomenal.
Fancy Nancy is, by all means, a true neighborhood joint. Right on the corner of Bedford and Lafayette avenues, in the middle of Bed-Stuy, the restaurant has been serving the block only since 2015 but has become the go-to spot for locals thanks to its refreshing take on classics. Dishes like homemade potato chips with a Middle Eastern labneh dipping sauce and roasted chicken with kale fried rice and ginger-scallion dim sum dressing carry the spirit of the neighborhood's diversity.
Win Son looks like your average neighborhood Chinese restaurant, but it takes its “not necessarily fusion” Taiwanese-American fare seriously. The menu is an inventive spin on genuine Taiwanese classics that will tempt you to order everything. Trigg Brown and Josh Ku, the duo who opened the restaurant in 2016, put together a menu meant to pack a punch, and a bit of spice, in every bite.
Emmy Squared may not be the pizza Brooklyn is known for, but this Detroit-style spot in Williamsburg is still beloved. They serve traditional thick, red pies like the Classic or the Roni Supreme, creative whites like the Broccoli Bob with broccoli, bacon and cheddar, and even a Nashville Hot Chicken pizza. You’ll also find fancier-than-a-pizza-place cocktails like frozen palomas.