Unless you’ve been hiding under a cultural rock the last ten years, you’ll know that Brooklyn doesn’t play second best to Manhattan any longer. It’s its own bonafide borough, filled with more incredible restaurants, stores, and coffee shops than you can shake a stick at. If you need more proof, here’s some: Williamsburg’s famed Smorgasburg food market is opening up shop in Soho. Talk about turning tides. Below, we’ve explored one of Brooklyn’s most accessible neighborhoods, starting at its main drag Bedford Ave. and working our way around. It’s all just one stop under the East River on the L, making venturing over there—if you haven’t done so already—practically inexcusable. Herewith, some of the best.
Bedford Cheese Shop
Bedford Cheese Shop, until recently, occupied a charming little corner store on Bedford Ave. Due to popular demand, it’s moved to a larger–though arguably less charming–space up the street. Don’t let its less inspired exterior fool you; within, you’ll find some of the stinkiest and yummiest fromage around.
265 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers
Williamsburg’s answer, albeit a smaller one, to The Strand in Union Square. Spoonbill & Sugartown has been in the neighborhood since 1999, long before the Whole Foods and the Apple store set up shop. Reward their longevity with your patronage. Their speciality is new, used, rare, and out of print books on contemporary art, architecture, and design.
218 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
If you’re looking to spoil yourself (or spoil someone else) Catbird is the place. This teeny tiny space gets packed to the gills on weekends with people pursuing their excellent selection of independently designed jewelry. Everything here feels special and one-of-a-kind.
219 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Occupying the preferred part of Bedford Ave., where the crowd begins to thin out and you can breathe again, Allswell is a cherished local bar and restaurant that serves up elegant takes on pub fare. There’s four different burgers to choose from (Cali, Kraut, Pioneer, Classic) and the brunch here is worth a trip from Manhattan.
124 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
One trip to Bakeri and your only regret will be having not found it sooner. The European-style bakery, which also has a location further north in Greenpoint and another in the East Village closer to SIXTY LES, makes the carb-laden stuff dreams are made of. Avocado tartines, biscuit and eggs, smoked salmon on brioche. And we haven’t even gotten to the sweets yet.
150 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Back before it seemed every bar and restaurant was designed to look throwback-Americana, with old floors and cracks in the walls, Hotel Delmano was all that and more–and just doing its thing. It remains one of the best bars in Brooklyn, perfect for friends and lovers alike. The cocktails here are just as winning as the space itself.
82 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Pilgrim Surf + Supply
Against all odds, New York City has managed to become at least partially synonymous with surf culture. And Pilgrim Surf + Supply has the goods to keep it all happening. They sell men’s and women’s wares, as well as surfboards. Suit up here and then take the recently-launched ferry to the Rockaways.
68 N 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
First came the buttercup-colored trucks, then the quaint Manhattan Ave. storefront, then the world. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream has been slowly conquering the ice cream market, city by city, with more stores seemingly popping up by the day. And for good reason. Flavors rotate with the seasons. Their ice cream is made from scratch using only milk, cream, cane sugar, and egg yolks. Simply delicious.
204 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Blue Bottle Coffee
Lines might be out the door for Toby’s Estate down the road, but the coffee at Blue Bottle is arguably better–and stronger. The New Orleans and Kyoto cold brews are enough to send you buzzing for four days straight, and their pastry case is packed full of peculiar flavors that have become de rigueur. Cardamom biscotti, anyone?
160 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11249