The Coolest Things to Do in the Coolest Neighbourhood in New York
Creativity, cafes, arts, music and boutiques, Williamsburg is the most hipster of all the hipster spots in New York right now. Thanks to Girls, 24 and 2 Broke Girl$ it's becoming ridiculously expensive to exist there and residents have become ever more resourceful to make sure they can survive - from supporting pop up bars to second hand clothes stalls, they just serve to make it even cooler.
All these painters who don't paint any pictures, all these musicians who don't write any songs; let's relocate them to ghettos in the city, the Starbucks will pop out before long. Oh you old-time tenant, pack your bags: the rents are gonna rise too high for you.
Musician Dan Melchior in 'Williamsburg, Brooklyn'
Day time fun
The Brooklyn Bowl is a big thing in Williamsburg. It’s not just for the bowling though – the lanes are also a 600-person performance venue with food located right on the waterfront. Huge international acts are known to play here, and you can warm up with a game of bowling to get you in the mood. DJ Uncle Mike spins the tunes every Saturday at 4pm – before you get on to the good stuff make sure to check out the milkshake menu, I spy a Bourbon St Shake with Nutella.
Single handedly revolutionising the beer industry in Brooklyn the Brooklyn Brewery and beer gardens has survived above all other major brewers in the area. Tours are free and you get a tasting too.
Beacon’s Closet is the most popular of the lot on Grand Street, thanks to the ease of the pickings. But once you’ve exhausted the thousands of metres of floor space check out these little beauts too.
- Vice Versa – packed full of vintage clothes at affordable prices.
- Monk’s – second hand and older vintage pieces. Known for its great selection for men.
- Stella Dallas – perfect for vintage aficionados and a good range of prices.
AuH20 is an awesome little thrift store – if you find the likes of Beacon’s Closet a tad too overwhelming. Almost everything is under $20 too.
10 ft Single by Stella Dallas is another bohemian bazaar worth checking out for the flannel shirts, Almost Famous style attire, and fur hats and slips from the 1940s. Need an iconic concert tee? This is your place.
Chill out (and save money) at the parks
McCarren Park has baseball fields, basketball courts and running tracks, while East River State Park has incredible Manhattan views. If you’re around from April to October make the most of the weekend Smorgasburg market – a tasty outdoor food festival in the park. You can also enjoy free outdoor movies in the summer, just keep an eye on the listings for details.
Eating in Williamsburg
At Roberta’s the beer and wine are served in jam jars and as well as tasty pizzas, they also serve dishes such as pickled pig’s tongue and mackerel with braised lemon jelly for the more discerning clientele. If you’re somewhere in between you can choose from nearly two dozen toppings to create a revolutionary pizza for your tastebuds. Roberta’s is located in an old garage in the Bushwick area of Williamsburg, and it’s cool as fuck.
Fette Sau – means ‘Fat Pig’ in German. The gas and wood fired smoker in the former auto body shop is capable of cooking 500 pounds of meat at a time. Patrons can choose from pork, beef ribs, pigs’ tails, flank steak, leg of lamb, pork belly, and pastrami all sold my weight and served on butcher’s paper with sauce on the side. The drinks menu includes bourbons, whiskys and ten tap beers, some custom brewed in the area. This is not a place for vegetarians.
Acapulco Deli and Restaurant is amazingly good value. Check out the Heuvos Rancheros for breakfast at just $6, and all day burritos for only $8. You can also sink your teeth into a whole range of fajitas, tacos and tortas too. My mouth is literally watering at the thought of it.
- Mable’s Smokehouse and Banquet Hall – southern cooking at a better price than Fette Sau, but for whatever reason, isn’t quite as popular.
- Brisket Town – more smoked meat, but this time the restaurant is BYOB – perfect for budget backpackers.
- Mesa Coyoacan – a more upmarket Mexican than Acapulco – obvious by the decor and the price. Definitely well worth splashing out though.
- Diner – another meat-led American food style offering, but this time it’s on a snug metal dining car from 1927. Awesome.
- Sweet Chick – every dish can be served with waffles. What more could you want?
- Paulie Gee’s – sexy pizza enjoyed in a cabin-bar esque location that’s as rustic as it is cosy.
- El Almacen – once you’ve had enough of Southern-style meat get your chops round some Argentinean style.
Drinking in Williamsburg
Skinny Dennis is a honky tonk and country bar offering free peanuts and local draft beers for $5 or less. Well worth a go if you want to get your crazy on in the midst of crazy Williamsburg.
Extra Fancy – inventive bar popular with the ‘fashion-forward populace of counter-culture renegades that value indie art, subtle creativity, thick-rimmed glasses and above all else, irony’. Spotted by Locals.
Barcade – a bar filled with old skool arcade games that get harder the more you drink. You can get any food delivered, just ask the barman, or you can pop out to Fette Sau (see restaurants above).
Music in Williamsburg
Watch where you step in Williamsburg, you might just find out you've joined a band.
The Music Hall, Public Assembly and Glasslands Gallery are among the most popular. Pete’s Candy Store is a great venue for live music. Every night there’s some sort of performance, whether it’s a gin party, poetry reading, a quiz off or open mic. The Brooklyn Bowl has been known to host some excellent artists too.
The Brick has some pretty avant garde performances going on so be sure to check out their calendar of events if you’re in the area.
Recovering in Williamsburg
The Nitehawk Cinema is another awesome option if you need some personal time to sort your head out after the night before. There are three screens playing a range of films from classics to today’s big releases. The menu is tailored to suit the film and you can have it delivered direct to your seat. The perfect way to top off a brilliant trip to Williamsburg.
Get yourself to New York
So now you want to go to New York, right? Well, this New York to Chicago tour will show you around and a ton more. You'll get to see the Niagara Falls, ride the Maid of the Mist and explore the beautiful waterfront of the Windy City!
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