Battling Park Slope’s busy streets is a challenge this early in the morning. The best cure to the morning blues is the Gorilla Coffee on Bergen Street. Yes, there’s a line. Yes, the coffee is pricey. But the small-batch joe is so tasty — and the beans are roasted locally. Frankly, you could go to Starbucks, if you’re of that conviction, but the coffee quality at Gorilla is quite a few notches above the rest. Don’t hesitate. Just go and wake up.
All the gourmet grub has awoken your culinary aspirations. And that inner stirring can only lead you to Park Slope’s mainstay: Park Slope Food Coop, the nabe’s ultimate organic food club. Today, you follow the lead of many before you (the Coop was founded in 1973!), and you fill out your application to join the foodie cooperative. Definitely worth your time, you’ll get a chance to delight in more than 15,000 fresh, local and carefully chosen products. As a member, you will work once every four weeks in exchange for a 20-40 percent discount on fresh produce that is imported from farms that stretch as far as 500 miles away. It may seem odd at first, but as time goes by, you’ll learn to wear your coop-issue reflective work vest around the neighborhood – as a badge of honor.
Staying active in Park Slope is as easy as it gets in Brooklyn. There’s a more than a pretty decent park just a half mile away (hint: it’s the neighborhood staple – Prospect Park!). Next, the neighborhood is dotted with CitiBike locations. And last but not least, there’s Skate Brooklyn, easily the coolest indoor skateboarding complex in New York City. So you purchase a brand new board in their customized shop, and instantly you take a test spin in a number of their half pipes. Surely not a bad way to blow off some steam.
If it’s culture you seek in Park Slope – you don’t need to look far. The neighborhood is filled with historical landmarks and is littered with celebrities. So, again, don’t be surprised if you run into Laurence Fishburne or Steve Buscemi pushing strollers on the sidewalks. But there’s one landmark that puts the nabe in its rightful historic perspective. The Old Stone House reveals Park Slope’s role in the Revolutionary War. The building, which is only open for tours on the weekends, has been meticulously reproduced, since the original was leveled in demolition after the war. The stone home is still marvel, as it chronicles the Battle of Brooklyn with a number of original artifacts. For a moment, being at the Old Stone House will make you forget you’re in Brooklyn.
The sun has set on your day, reminding you it’s time to play. Care to get transported back in time? Across the Atlantic Ocean? To the Caribbean. The authentic fun abounds at Barbès. Owned and ran by long-time Brooklynites who also happen to be French musicians, the northern French-style music hall brings in the best international and local jazz and soul bands with a distinct flavor. Today you get a chance to see the Romanian brass bands.
You can’t just let your food sit and digest. In Park Slope, you need to keep active, physically and mentally. In that vein, you decide to drag your besties from Manhattan to experience Claustrophobia Escape Room Brooklyn, New York City’s best (and only) escape game place. The city’s newest game trend (move over, laser tag!) encourages teamwork for you to escape the room. Claustrophobia has a list of themes such as House of Ghosts, Vault 13 (nuclear apocalyptic theme) and The Dungeon.
There’s a theme of sorts shaping up for you day: be interactive, play games, be bold. And Union Hall brings all those things together well. The sports bar has become a favorite for Park Slope residents, and outer borough folk (that’s right, Manhattan!) as well. There’s occasionally live music and a DJ. But the star here is the diverse decor. There’s a bocce court in the basement. The main level has cozy fireplaces that complement the floor-to-ceiling library. The idea is clear – welcome to what a bar in an old Park Slope mansion must have felt and looked like. Cheers!