A Day in Boerum Hill

Here are a few fun facts about your newest neighborhood that you may not know. Boerum Hill was the setting for Spike Lee’s “Clockers." The neighborhood was also the world that was created in two Jonathan Lethem novels, "Motherless Brooklyn,” and “The Fortress of Solitude.” Boerum Hill was also the home of Heath Ledger (The Joker in The Dark Knight) just before his untimely passing. Facts? Check.

Blue Bottle Coffee

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.


Micro Museum

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.


St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe

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.


Grumpy Bert

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.

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Bien Cuit

Yes, Blue Bottle has small and quick bites like muffins and croissants. But why pass up the chance to visit Bien Cuit at 120 Smith Street? The popular French bakery, which was nominated for a James Beard award in 2016, has all the flavors to fulfill your morning cravings. The best of the bunch is the spinach and pine nut quiche. Then, there are the wonderful house-made breads, muffins and sweets. You choose the Pain Au Raisin Brioche (poached black currants, vanilla pastry cream), and you leave with a smile.


Grandma’s House

You have endless lunch options within a 10-square-block radius. That’s the beauty of living in Brooklyn’s possibly least favorite portmanteau, BoCoCa (short for Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens). Don’t miss a chance to scarf the grub at Grandma’s House. The goal of the day is to make you feel like you’re tasting home-style cooking in your own home. For a moment, you won’t even feel like you’re in Brooklyn. At Grandma’s, there’s a little bit of something for everyone, from lights salads (Ceasar and House) to the hearty ones (Cobb and Grandma’s Brooklyn Salad). The lighter choices are not as plentiful, just like they probably wouldn’t have been at your grandma’s. A slew of mac & cheese options, burger options, sandwiches and the ribs is sure to test your ability to make decisions. The beauty of Grandma’s House? They’re clear cut. No frills. And of course, you’ll feel compelled to clean your plate.


The Brooklyn Circus

For some, the biggest positive of living in Boerum Hill is having prime shopping at your fingertips. Choices are plentiful, from shops like American Apparel, Soula Shoes, women’s shops like Free People, Kaight and Meg. The ultimate in clothing is The Brooklyn Circus. The shop, located at 150 Nevins Street, offers original urban-style clothing for both men and women in the same essence as nearby Kith – from sweaters to t-shirts to vests to jeans. More importantly, the clothing at Brooklyn Circus is a tad bit more affordable than the latter.


Exit 9 Gift Emporium

After your MicroMu experience, you may be feeling a bit quirky, so naturally, your next trip is to the Exit 9 Gift Emporium at 127 Smith Street. This creative novelty shop started off in the East Village and then expanded to Boerum Hill. The shop is a fun change of pace as it offers Brooklyn-themed items like Brooklyn Bridge Tea Towels or Brooklyn Diner Coffee Mug or even a Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders action figure. The place takes it all a step further with gummy bacon, bacon mints and bacon-flavored gum.

A Night in Boerum Hill



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).


Roulette Intermedium

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.


Hank’s Saloon

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.

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Van Leeuwen

After much deliberation, you skipped desserts at Rucola just so you could pay a visit to the Brooklyn institution called Van Leeuwen. Nowadays, there are very many craft ice cream shops all over borough – such as Ample Hills, which has become a national sensation. Still, Van Leeuwen, located at 81 Bergen Street, is pretty darn good. The storefront became a local favorite from its food truck days. They keep their ice cream flavors simple, but you can’t get a better pistachio-flavored ice cream… anywhere.


Hollow Nickel

Time for some relaxing cocktails! Head on over to Hollow Nickel. The rustic, whole-grain bar, located at 494 Atlantic Avenue, focuses on American-style cocktails and grub. The drinks are super tasty. “Not Your Father’s Cocktail,” a combination of rum, Fernet, and Not Your Father’s Root Beer may just delight you. The story behind the bar’s name is its biggest attraction, lent to it by a 1953 case. A Brooklyn Eagle paper boy received a five-cent piece that felt too light to him. It turned out that the coin was hollow and had contained a piece of microfilm that revealed espionage involving the KGB, the U.S. Navy and the atomic bomb.

Words by Arte Vincent

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Erik Serras
Erik Serras
Principal Broker
Residential Division
Office: 718.840.2757
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