Living in the epicenter and the beating pulse of Brooklyn is a blessing and a curse. For one, you are going to have to deal with lines at the clothing shops. Secondly, you’re going to have to pay dearly for coffee in local coffee shops. But if you are already going to spend top dollar for the best coffee, you have to make it to Blue Bottle Coffee at 85 Dean Street. The small boutique coffee specialist offers possibly the best chicory coffee brew in the borough. Just off the prime section of Smith Street, from here, you’ll have quick access to the prime shopping of Boerum Hill.
Now that you’re here, there are many cultural options within your grasp. There’s the New York Transit Museum, just a handful of blocks away. There’s also the lesser-known Toy Museum just down the road on Smith. If you’re looking for a powerful experience, however, head on over to the Micro Museum. As the name implies, the museum is small. But good things sometimes come in small packages, so you’ll be able to take in some talking furniture and solar-powered kinetic sculptures. Since its opening in 1986, the museum has grown into a major stepping stone for up-and-coming local artists.
When in Brooklyn, don’t miss your chance to savor home-brewed beers, and craft beers. St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe brings it all together. The beer shop is heaven squared… for beer enthusiasts. You could refill your growlers with the nearly 20 beers on tap (with a large selection of Brooklyn brews). Continuous tasting events complement their home-brewing supplies.
Taking yourself for a creative type, another shopping destination you have desperately been trying to visit is Grumpy Bert. The artsy book and stationary store has been omnipresent in the literary world, and has a booth at the famed annual Brooklyn Book Fest. Grumpy Bert’s have so much more than just books. Brooklyn-born items like Boundless Brooklyn models and specialized designer toys like Andrew Bell’s Android Mini Series…. there are too many knickknacks to mention, and very many to peruse.
Again, you have so many culinary gems (like French Louie and Bacchus Bistrot a Vins) that you could easily eat a different place every day for the next four months. Tonight you are finally experiencing the Italian mastery at Rucola. The diner-style Italian restaurant is one of the most highly-rated in the borough and specializes in rustic Northern Italian food from Piedmont. The food is much different than your traditional Italian cuisine. The standouts include the whole roasted Brook trout (prepared with lemon, olives, chili flakes and parsley), the Chatham Cod (charred leeks, potato confit in shellfish brodo) and roasted chicken (over polenta, hen of the woods mushrooms with Marsala jus).
Fort Greene has BAM, and Boerum Hill has Roulette Intermedium. You somehow manage to get tickets to the legendary performing arts center… for a symphony concert. Built in 1928, the arena is steeped in history. It’s only been since the Roulette’s 2011 reopening that musical acts have graced the stage to give the performance hall a name in Brooklyn. No show ever seems to disappoint here, from contemporary jazz to big bands.
Feel like hearing and seeing some more live music? Your best option at this hour is Hank’s Saloon, where the best Boerum Hill bands play. The dive bar has become the prime local spot, with live music, ranging from punk to country, gracing the stage four times a week. The decor is charming, with the ceiling glowing from an abundance (or overkill?) of Christmas lights.