05/25/17 10:50am

It’s that time of year again, when you want to drink your favorite cocktail, spritzer or beer outside. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite places in Brooklyn (and a couple in Queens) for sips in the sunshine.

Coming Soon

Parklife in progress: the brand-new bar and restaurant will be open year-round with indoor seating for 20 and a 4,000-square-foot lot for outdoor eating and drinking. Photo: Parklife

Parklife
Coming soon to 636 Degraw St.
Gowanus
When Julie Kim and Scott Koshnoodi were forced to relocate their beloved Gowanus venue Littlefield because the landlord wouldn’t renew its lease, they not only found a great warehouse around the corner, they got a lot of open space to work with—4,000 square feet to be precise, directly in back of the new Littlefield. When it opens in June, Parklife will become a year-round bar and restaurant featuring Mexican food from the geniuses working the kitchen at El Atoradero in Prospect Heights. Parklife will be most pleasant, of course, in summer, seated at one of the 12 communal tables outside or on a lawn chair, sipping one of their new signature cocktails like a mezcal, jalapeno syrup and citrus blend called Summer Friends or the Fake It Till Ya Make it—a frozen spin on the classic Penicillin cocktail with blended scotch whiskey, lemon ginger honey syrup and a single-malt scotch. The anticipated opening of the new Littlefield is next week, Parklife should follow the second week of June. –Nicole Davis


Rooftops

Rooftop Reds
Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building #275
Open Wednesday through Sunday

Take a friend, or a date, to Rooftop Reds in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and your cred for knowing the most interesting places for a drink will go through the roof–pretty literally. This rooftop spot is a little walk into the Navy Yard, up a few flights of stairs, to a heavenly roof topped with grape vines, hammocks and tables for drinking wine. (That is one caveat to this experience, if you don’t like wine, there’s not a lot here for you, other than the spectacular view of the river and Manhattan.) Order a flight of rosé and then continue with a bottle of whichever one you liked the most. New this year they’ve started a reservation service–you can do it online, even just minutes before you show up, so that when you go through the security booth at the Sand and Navy St. entrance, your name will pop right up and you can enter with zero hassle. –Annaliese Griffin

The view from the Westlight. Photo: @thewilliamvale

Westlight at William Vale
111 N. 12th St. 
Williamsburg

Yes, Westlight was featured in the new season of Master of None, so you know it’s hip. But beyond that, the cocktails are large and stiff, the small plates (under the auspices of Chef Andrew Carmellini) yummy and the views incomparable. Located on top of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, this spot is the tallest in the area. –Georgia Kral


(more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/24/17 7:49pm

A carpet of bluebells is blooming at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo: BBG

Memorial Day weekend is nigh, and if you are jetting off the Hamptons, the Catskills, the Shore, or somewhere even more exotic, well, good for you, lucky duck! The rest of us will be here holding down the fort, but don’t feel too bad for us because there is–as always–a lot to do around these parts over the course of the next week. On Friday night, lace up your skates and get ready to do the hustle at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco, which is doing Saturday Night Fever-themed version of its popular skate night at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park from 7:30-10pm. After selling out a Friday night show at King’s Theater, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have added a second night on Saturday and there are still tickets available. If you happened to catch them when they performed at Celebrate Brooklyn! a few years back, you know that it’s worth the effort.

Although we’re officially in Fleet Week and there are bound to be lots of NYC noobs out and about, in general it is always nice to capitalize upon a holiday weekend when lots of peeps are out of town to check out the touristy areas you usually avoid like the plague. Wanna finally make the trip up to the Cloisters? Or to see the Whitney Biennial or the carpet of bluebells on display as far as the eye can see in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens? Now is definitely the time to do it. And you can use the time to plan ahead for future fun like the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s June 24 Epic Ride or July 22 Brooklyn Bike Rave. And if you do bump into a sailor, there’s no better time than Memorial Day to express your gratitude for his or her service. 

Check out our other ideas for your entertainment and enjoyment in this final Ideal Week of May, and no matter where you are this weekend, be safe and take care of yourself. Until next week! (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/18/17 10:22am

Before there was a shitty Warrant song called “Cherry Pie” there was Twin Peaks, but literally just by a few months, April 8, 1990 was the first air date of Twin Peaks. “Cherry Pie” was released in September of 1990. I never owned the Warrant cassette tape, but I did watch Twin Peaks. I had two jobs and was in high school, so Friday was my night off. I used to buy a six pack of beer and stay home on Fridays to watch it. Cheers was the most watched show at the time, so nothing could be as far away as Twin Peaks, geographically, thematically and visually. I still remember how freaked out I was when Bob appeared and crawled over the sofa, at the screen, at me. David Lynch’s strange dream translated so well to television.

In 2001 I lived in Portland, Oregon, a short-lived west coast experiment. Two things happened there that impressed me. I understood Twin Peaks, set and filmed in Washington State, and the film River’s Edge, set and filmed in Northern California, more deeply. The infinite importance of location, that Northwest isolation and mist, revealed itself.

I also taught myself how to make pies. Because I had time on my hands, and hell, if Twin Peaks and River’s Edge taught me anything it was that idle hands were the devil’s playthings. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/17/17 3:03pm

At Sycamore’s 8th Annual Crawfish Boil on Saturday, you can dig into the traditional Louisiana fixins and benefit the Billion Oyster Project at the same time. Photo: Sycamore

In no way do I want to discourage you from any of the fantastic events we’ve selected for this Ideal Week. And certainly, the most astounding drama of our time is unfolding in front of our eyes in the White House in ways pretty much no one could have ever imagined. However, I do feel like I need to point out just how much excellent television is on offer right now. Like, really an insane amount of good stuff. Are you watching The Americans? How great is this new season of Master of None and how mesmerizing/terrifying is The Handmaid’s Tale?  I haven’t even had the time to watch I Love Dick or the new season Bosch on Amazon. And man, after the burn of Arrested Development 2.0 I’m trying not to get my heart set on the new Twin Peaks being the show I’ve dreamed of watching since I binged the original one August weekend in 1998, but boy am I looking forward to it.

In news that is happening here in the physical world and not on a screen or in the Black Lodge,  Littlefield is in the last day of its Kickstarter to raise money for its new space, which includes brand-new bar and restaurant, Parklife, that will be a part of our Total Gowanus Immersion this summer. They’re so close to their goal, help them reach it before midnight on Thursday. One of our favorite local institutions, the Brooklyn Historical Society, opens a new space in DUMBO this week. The first show is called Shifting Perspectives, and it’s a group show of photography depicting the Brooklyn waterfront, opening May 19 (though there is a private event at the gallery on Friday evening). Admission is free all weekend long. 

Go forth, or hang on the couch with some popcorn and cherry pie, either way, have an ideal week! (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/15/17 9:15pm

Photo: Georgia Kral

We sat closely together at a round table, tucked into the corner of the restaurant on a blustery fall evening. I don’t recall what we talked about, but I know what we ate: burrata, all luscious, creamy and oozing out onto the accompanying pane carasau–Sardinian flatbread–basil and tomato; pappardelle intermingling with mushrooms, garlic and Parmigiano; thick-cut lasagna, its shape more rectangular than square.

I do remember when he pulled out a small box. It contained the ring we’d designed together some months earlier; my sapphire engagement ring, a symbol of our commitment, as delightful and unique as the plates we were devouring.

Yes, this is a story about love and pasta, and a romance oft rekindled at this special restaurant. It’s called River Deli.

Located on one of the most idyllic corners in New York City, the Sardinian restaurant isn’t a deli at all. It’s a trattoria styled for families and lovers, friends and acquaintances. The food is better than good and it’s extremely affordable. You won’t find anything like it in Brooklyn Heights or anywhere else in the city for that matter. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/11/17 11:16am

All photos by Regina Mogilevskaya

Getting a word in with Emma Straub, author and one part of the duo behind Books Are Magic, is nearly impossible while there are customers streaming through the door. And although the Cobble Hill bookstore just opened its doors a few weeks ago, throngs of overjoyed well-wishers are already filling the store in a steady flow. “We’re definitely busy from the moment we open our doors in the morning to the moment we close them at night,” she says.

When BookCourt, the neighborhood’s beloved indie bookstore, announced they were closing, Straub and her husband Michael Fusco-Straub jumped to action immediately. They acquired the Books Are Magic space in October, but Straub says it was the election that really cemented their efforts. “We realized it was so much bigger than just a bookstore,” Straub says. “We needed an open space where people could gather, where families can feel welcome, can get informed.” Thanks to Straub’s established connections with local bookstores (she worked at both BookCourt and at Word in Greenpoint), publishers, and sales reps, the couple pulled off an impressive feat in record time.

The Fusco-Straubs obviously love books and design, and their lovely welcoming space is our new favorite word lair. From the books on the shelves to the sunlit kids room in the back, every swift detail of Books Are Magic takes inspiration from the community in which it blooms. Tulips from neighborhood florists decorate the store’s nooks, while the works of local authors are displayed proudly on recycled BookCourt shelves.

“I’m starting to explore collaborations with other places in the neighborhood, too,” Straub says. “Warby Parker reached out and we’re planning a reading series in their backyard.” In addition to being full of local goodness, the shop is wonderfully spacious, with exposed beams and brick and plenty of sunlight. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel good the second you step through the arched doorway.

Books Are Magic joins an impressive collection of indie bookstores around Brooklyn. Here are a few of our favorites for reading, listening, lounging and browsing. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/10/17 4:43pm

This photo was the main story in the official White House email today. Really.

Oh man, now what? Will we get an independent investigation? Are the impeachment gods finally smiling down upon us or are we one step closer to totalitarianism? Has anyone been seriously looking into the NYC secession option? Why are these the choices anyway? The sudden and indecorous firing of FBI Director James Comey yesterday has prompted a new cacophony of questions and speculation, and amidst it all it seems that Trump and the gang are genuinely SHOCKED that people are skeptical about the motives precipitating the move. And decided that promoting the Instagram of Marlon Bundo, the Pence family rabbit, was the most pressing piece of White House news they could share on the official White House email this morning.

The idea that Dems would cheer Comey’s ouster, regardless of the circumstances, simply because they didn’t like the way he handled the HRC email investigation, presupposes that we all have the mentality of a six-year-old, and that we can’t think beyond an all-encompassing, never-ending pursuit of praise and-or revenge. Hmm, sounds familiar, right? Let’s just hope the more rational people in power understand how deep into utter shitshow territory we have ventured and start to pull in the reins a bit.

While we’re all obsessing about politics for the next several days (what else is new?), we’ve got a pretty nice stretch of cool but dry (and sometimes sunny) weather to close out the work week. Saturday looks like the Netflix binge day of the week, with 100% precipitation expected, so I will recommend Dear White People, which I fired through last week, or of course the new season of Master of None, which drops on Friday. And after Mother’s Day festivities on Sunday, you might want to take a trip out to Ridgewood’s outdoor oasis, Nowadays, for the Mister Sunday Season Opener. While you’re making plans in advance, grab a ticket to see one of the Night Train shows at Littlefield over the next three Mondays–Giulia Rozzi and David Cross will be guest-hosting and tickets are only $5.

In the meantime, though, check out our other ideas below for how you can live your best Ideal Week, but not before you text 50409 to send your reps a note asking them to fight for an independent investigation into Trump’s Russia ties via Resistbot. It’s really easy! Have an awesome week, everyone, and we’ll see you back here next time! (more…)

05/03/17 4:14pm

The Brooklyn Derby at Greenwood Park has become the borough’s biggest Derby Day fete. Photo: Steve McFarland Photography

Happy May! The sun is out, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and those of us with seasonal allergies are sneezing through it, just happy to be part of this awesome season of rebirth and renewal. I am headed upstate this weekend with a group a friends for a birthday extravaganza, and I must say that although I am really excited for a spring getaway, I’m a little bummed that I won’t be around to watch the Kentucky Derby at one of several fun parties happening around Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon.

As in years past, the Brooklyn Derby, which seems the fanciest option, will draw bluegrass bands and hundreds of be-seersuckered and be-fascinatored revelers to Greenwood Park from 4pm on to cheer on the horses. The $95 ticket price covers four-hours of open bar (including mint juleps, natch), a variety of Southern snacks, live music, a hat-making station and more. Another alternative is the Derby Party at Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, which costs $80 but includes food, drinks, a bluegrass jam, contests, and prizes, and has the added edge of being a fundraiser to help the beloved bar meet is goal of raising $65K by mid-summer in order to stay in business. Of course, if you’re not looking to break the bank on a several-minute long horse race, you can head to Northern Territory, which is hosting a free party with pay-as-you-go drinks and prizes for best Derby attire, from 3-7pm.

Not into the Derby at all? The Wythe Hotel is hosting the sixth annual Greenpoint Film Festival, which is a series of panels and screenings of carefully selected shorts and feature-length films taking place Thursday through Sunday, and there are still tickets available. Read on for more ideas about what to do with yourself for the next seven days, and enjoy the sunny Ideal Week ahead. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/02/17 12:13pm

This obelisk is full of secrets. Photo: Creative Time

While standing in line in Green-Wood Cemetery last weekend, I overheard a group of friends joking nervously about confessing to murders and kidnappings before admitting that yes, they really did need to unburden their true secrets to a stranger. It was a superlative spring day for confession, and for enjoying the verdant charms of one of Brooklyn’s greenest places.

A cemetery is an excellent place to store secrets. After all, barring gossipy ghosts, the inhabitants are generally quiet and trustworthy. Starting last weekend and continuing through 2042, French conceptual artist Sophie Calle will be collecting the secrets from visitors in a public art installation called Here Lie the Secrets. Calle herself was accepting secrets on opening weekend, but the project, in collaboration with the public art organization Creative Time, will be in place for 25 years, during which visitors can write their innermost thoughts on a slip of paper and insert it into a slot at the bottom of a marble obelisk nestled on Green-Wood’s Bay Grove Hill. Your confessions, incidentally, will have one of the best, and least visited skyline views. (more…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

05/01/17 2:38pm

It’s finally spring! The flowers are blooming in the window boxes and the sidewalk cafe seats are being hosed down. When your umbrella isn’t flying down the street ready to impale someone on a broken spoke, you can actually enjoy the weather. Here are 10 ways to make the most of the month, including a few inspired ways to celebrate Mother’s Day.

This new neighborhood bookstore has a great children’s section, with secret nooks for reading, and knowledgeable staff full of recommendations. Photo: Books Are Magic

  1. GO: Support The Magic. There’s no better way to celebrate May Day than with a good book. Today, May 1st, Books Are Magic officially opens for business. Annaliese Griffin wrote about it in tour May Culture Essentials, but it’s so exciting, I’m including here too. We’ve been chomping at the bit, peering in their windows and stalking them on Instagram, so we know they will have an amazing kids section complete with tiny nooks to curl up with a good book. Also, on May 16th from 4-5pm, celebrate all things tacos with Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri and their new book Dragons Love Tacos 2. Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St, Cobble Hill 

    This play is Brooklyn Based suggested, Albert Einstein approved. Photo: Miller Theatre


(more…)