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Royal Palms
514 Union Street, (Third Avenue and Nevins Street), Gowanus,
(347) 223-4410

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What it is: All-things-Florida-themed shuffleboard court with a full bar and rotating food trucks.

Why we love it: For those of us who spent grueling family “vacations” with our grandparents in retirement homes across Florida, the prospect of going to the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Court might sound like a major trigger. Fear not! Going to the spacious Royal Palms is like the real kind of Florida vacation, heretofore depicted in daydreams and vintage postcards: aqua colored everything, flamingo wall paper in the bathrooms, shuffleboard puns and cabanas. This venue is best enjoyed in small groups so you can take advantage of your hour of court time and still have a couple people on your team’s side to chill with. Note that the courts are long and you play next to an opposing team member. It’s a great way to have some flirty competition with a work crush, while literally being on the same team as your conveniently far away boss. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to play, as a staff member will give you a complementary tutorial. Weekly activities range from drag queen bingo to a new monthly Funk & Soul Dance Party (finally, South Brooklyn)! Check their Facebook and Twitter periodically for one-off parties that are usually free. Even if you don’t shuffle, it’s still a great place to bring a pal and escape the cramped and pretentious bars of NYC.

What to order: As you would expect, Royal Palms specializes in fun, fruity cocktails. However, they have several craft beers on tap for your Beer Book pleasure. One of the most unusual and delightful features of this space is that the nosh is provided by a different food truck every day. A member of their delightful waitstaff will serve you drinks, so you’ll never miss a second of the game.

Regular tip: League nights are Monday and Tuesday, so don’t expect to reserve a court! Also, the guy on the scooter is a co-owner, so no snickering.

08/27/15 1:55pm
Two tacos from Chinantla for just five dollars equals the elimination of hunger from your stomach. Photos by David Colon

Two tacos from Chinantla for just five dollars equals the elimination of hunger from your stomach. Photos by David Colon

Has this ever happened to you: You find yourself in Bed-Stuy and you’ve got a rumbling stomach but not a ton of cash? Maybe you live there, maybe you’re just visiting a friend, but either way you need to eat something cheap and fast, before a serious case of hanger gets you in trouble. Well don’t fear, you’ve got this handy list of cheap Bed-Stuy eats that you can get for under $10, guaranteed to leave you feeling full and satisfied. (more…)

08/27/15 1:15pm
I scream, you scream, etc. via flickr user Chun Yip So

I scream, you scream, etc. via flickr user Chun Yip So

The dog days of summer are upon us, where all you want to do is lay out in the sun and eat ice cream. And usually, only one of those two things is free. But today, you can do both without spending a dime, because Van Leeuwen is giving away ice cream tonight! According to Gothamist, the dessert-isans will be offering up gratis scoops of ice cream at their new flagship location in Williamsburg (204 Wythe Avenue).  (more…)

Alchemy Bar

Alchemy Restaurant & Tavern
56 5th Ave. (5th Ave. and Bergen St.), Park Slope

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What it is: A cozy, low-key pub in Park Slope with a rotating set of hard-to-find beers, an extensive cocktail menu, and excellent food.

Why we love it: Alchemy is the perfect place for a date, a casual meal, or enjoying a quiet drink and a book. Its die-hard set of regulars and bartenders who remember your name make it feel like a local pub. You’ll also find secluded tables and booths if you’re looking for a little privacy and a great outdoor patio if you’re looking to chill outside during the summer. Need WiFi? They’ve got that, too.

You won’t find greasy bar food here. Four different menus — breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner — have something for the vegan, the veggie, the foodie, or the guy who just wants a good burger. The chorizo eggs (brunch) is a great way to start a Sunday, while the wild mushroom barley risotto with truffle oil (dinner) is one of the many uncommon treats you can share with a date. And if you do have a hankering for some chicken wings, you can get those, too, during the way affordable weekday happy hour.

What to order: Alchemy’s beers rotate every couple of weeks, but you’ll always find a stout, an IPA, a pilsner, an ale, and special seasonal beers on tap. Pair one with the gooey shells and cheese or the Monday Mussels deal—a dozen mussels for six bucks!

Regular tip: The bar was named Alchemy because at the time the owner was reading up on the ancient art of chrysopoeia, thanks to the Da Vinci Code.

08/21/15 10:16am
Coffee shop or bar? These places, like Greene Grape Annex, are both. Photo by Tim Donnelly

Coffee shop or bar? These places, like Greene Grape Annex, are both. Photo by Tim Donnelly

The Williamsburg Starbucks made news this week by starting to offer beer along with their soy-frappe-cappuccino-whip-drinks. Count us among the unimpressed. Starbucks may be good at cake-pops and pumping out a Pumpkin Spiced Latte in under fourteen seconds, but the borough is filled to the brim with local spots that serve up the coffee/beer combo without sending most of your money back to Seattle. Whether you’re craving a post coffee stout in Park Slope or an IPA with your espresso in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn coffee shops offer you many (better) options than beer from Starbucks.
(more…)

08/19/15 3:59pm
You've got a whole month to get acquianted with Sweet Science's shrimp and grits, for less. via I Don't Do Clubs

You’ve got a whole month to get acquianted with Sweet Science’s shrimp and grits, for less. via I Don’t Do Clubs

If there’s one thing we can get behind without hesitation around here, it’s the city’s many themed restaurant weeks. Well, except for the actual Restaurant Week which has a terrible history of short-changing Brooklyn. However, Caribbean Restaurant Week? Grand Street Restaurant Week? Italian or Russian Weeks? Yes to all of those. Now there’s a new restaurant week in town that’s here to make eating out an affordable experience, except it’s even better than usual because it’s lasting a whole month. Let’s all welcome and throw money at Black-Owned Restaurant Month, which offers $35 three-course meals in September and is looking like the only good thing about summer turning into fall (unless the Mets hold on and make the playoffs). (more…)

The Gate

The Gate
321 Fifth Ave. at 3rd St, Park Slope
718-768-4329

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What is it: Park Slope’s original craft beer pioneer, now in their 19th year. Huge beer selection, specialty bottles, vintage ales.

Why we love it: When you first enter the Gate you wonder where the bartenders went – turns out you couldn’t see them behind the row of beer taps. Their selection is enormous and they have a beer for any craving you may have, whether hoppy, light, malty or stout. The bar is peopled by friendly locals. When the weather’s nice, the spacious outdoor deck is the place to be – if you can find a seat. Wide-open people watching and views of the historic Old Stone House where the Battle of Brooklyn raged 239 years ago.

What to order: The beer selection rotates often and seasonally, but if you’re looking for something special, try the vintage ales in their legendary stock cellar. 

Regular tip: The Gate is definitively a “local” inspired by the owners love of the pubs in Ireland’s Slieve Anieran mountains where the “eternal peat fire” burns.

08/19/15 11:24am
It provides artful photography, but these empty coffee cups belong in the trash. via Flickr user Paul Kelly

It provides artful photography, but these empty coffee cups belong in the trash. via Flickr user Paul Kelly

When the first Starbucks in Williamsburg appeared, plenty of people grumlbed about trash coffee. What they hadn’t counted on was coffee trash being strewn around the neighborhood, although let’s be honest you should always expect more trash in New York City. Sick of seeing it pile up on the streets around her business, the owner of Williamsburg coffee shop The West is offering a discount on their coffee if you bring in a picture of yourself throwing away Starbucks litter. Good troll or great troll? (more…)

08/17/15 9:47am
beercocktails6-reclamation.JPG

Reclamation’s Love Shack Shandy beer cocktail will have you singing after you’ve had a couple.

Beer. Cocktails. Combining the two almost seems crazy, but here at Brokelyn we’re willing to experiment with ways to get a good buzz going. Turns out, when beer cocktails are done right, they’re pretty darn good, and even worth venturing out of your usual for (after enjoying your Brooklyn Beer Book beer on the house, of course).

Rather then send you out just asking the bartender to dump some tequila into a Tecate tallboy, we’ve got 9 bars for you to check out that are perfecting the art of the beer cocktail. Beyond the classics like the michelada, more inventive beer cocktails are being thrown together by booze mad scientsts around Brooklyn, like an award-winning gin-and-saison combo that took home “Best Beer Cocktail in NYC” at Brooklyn Brewery’s beer cocktail competition, to a lemon-infused vodka drink topped off with a Budweiser. (more…)

08/14/15 9:39am
tk. via Bagelsmith

Obviously you’ll miss bagels when you leave, but there’s so much more to miss too. via Bagelsmith

After 4 years of living in Brooklyn, I was excited for a new chapter in New Orleans, but also knew it’d be bittersweet. Having grown up in New York (on Long Island, I’m honest), with most of my adult years in good ol’ BK, missing friends and family was going to be inevitable. I knew that I’d long for the convenience of public transportation and bodegas on every corner. Admittedly, I had preemptive FOMO regarding friends’ parties, the perennial run of free NYC shows and the yet-to-open spots that seemingly appear daily.

One thing I didn’t appropriately account for was food. Lame “I’m gonna miss pizza!” jokes were about as far as I took it, shortly before and after I moved out of Brooklyn. New Orleans, where I now reside, has an awesome culinary scene. It could be a lot worse, but from time-to-time I get the gastronomic blues. No offense to the people I left behind, but you can’t FaceTime with a bagel. Snapchat allows me to hear your voice, but there’s no scratch and and sniff feature when you send over a picture of that legit pastrami sandwich.

Brooklyn ex-pats all could probably give you their own list, but here are the foods that keep me up at night wishing I could have them, and the ones I go out of my way to get when I visit. (more…)