The only unique way to fully wake up in Gowanus is to get yourself up on the wall. This is why you’re starting your day at Brooklyn Boulders. The indoor rock-climbing complex is the gold standard in recreational sports in New York City. Oh boy, this place is huge. You’ll be faced with more than 22,000 square feet of climbing surface to explore. There’s even a yoga program, on ground level, to help you relax once you’ve summited the rock wall peaks.
Once you have calmed down from the morning rush, a trip to Four & Twenty Blackbirds is a must. The chic bakery offers the best selection of gourmet homemade pies in the borough. They offer custard pies like Salty Honey custard pie, Brown Butter Pumpkin and Buttermilk Chess. Also on offer, of course, are chocolate pies like Chocolate Julep (mint, bourbon, chocolate) and Black Bottom Oat.
The canoe boat trip gets sidetracked by the newest foodie hub on the canal. You’re docked by the brand, spanking new Pig Beach location. The BBQ joint meets dive bar is a rugged version of Dinosaur BBQ, located just a quarter mile down the road. Even though Gowanus is saturated with BBQ joints, this waterside restaurant offers a different touch and lends the canal some character. The BBQ is pretty darn good. You’ll get a choice of smoked pork shoulder, burnt tips, and red hot sausage.
Enough time in Gowanus and you’ve tapped into your inner artist. Before you know it, the inspiration rears its head. There’s a slew of art galleries in the area, but the best way to get yourself known to the locals in the very competitive Brooklyn art circuit is at the Gowanus Lofts & Galleries. Exclusively represented by Ideal Properties Group, the former industrial building was fully renovated to accommodate young professionals, musicians and artists with its rustic yet modern appeal. Even just a visit to the lofts is an experience unto itself, as they’re constantly changing and refining the artwork on display.
Since its grand opening nearly 5 years ago, the Whole Foods Market has become the symbol of Gowanus. Though the prices are high and the crowds even bigger, the experience at this supermarket compels you to return regularly. That’s partially probably because of the gigantic greenhouse on the roof of the market that provides a chunk of the fresh produce sold at Whole Foods. There are even tours of the urban farm that will blow your mind.
All the activities and food mongering have you building up a hearty appetite. It’s most fitting that your dinner tonight is a farm-to-table seafood restaurant called Littleneck — as it seemingly sums up your Gowanus experience in every way. The rustic, cozy confines pays homage to the seaside life of yesteryear with its old-school nautical decor. The restaurant sits a block from the canal, and the seafood here is mouthwatering, featuring an array of oysters, clams, mussels and its famed clam roll.
In Gowanus, the old is always new. And that’s why you have made it to The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. The environment at this indoor shuffleboard-inspired bar conjures a certain Miami Beach appeal. In fact, you can even rent a “cabana” here. Regardless, the place is HUGE (there are some 10 shuffleboard courts), and the originality of the bar has continued to attract people by the droves. There are even several food trucks located on premises, just in case you get a bit too tipsy.