01/10/17 11:48am
Via @starbucksnorth7th on Instagram.

Via @starbucksnorth7th on Instagram.

It’s hack to get upset about Starbucks these days since the omnipresent, if not eternally boring, chain has become such a part of the background of NYC, like many banks, Vitamin Worlds and other things that pass through our vision like reused backdrops in old cartoons. So when the Starbuckses (Starsbuck?) arrived in Williamsburg in 2015, it was met with a sigh of inevitability: the neighborhood well on its way to being little Soho was of course a natural home to the coffee giant and its copy-and-paste coffee house furniture, soundtrack and food.

The problem with Starbucks is that it’s so unnecessary in a neighborhood like Williamsburg, which has long been filled to the brim with a bounty of coffee places surfing riding that coffee third wave. That means the only reason you’d choose to go to Starbucks is that you: A) don’t know about the other spots in the neighborhood or B) genuinely prefer it to a local shop (A is slightly more offensive than B to me for many reasons).

But shortly after opening, things got a little more intense in the Brooklyn coffee wars: The Starbucks off Bedford Avenue started selling beer and wine to attract the nighttime caffeinated drinker crowd, which put them in direct competition with many of the bars and coffee shops in the neighborhood. And guess what just happened? Starbucks lost.  (more…)

12/22/16 12:27pm
The Pour House of Bay Ridge has teachers bartend on Fridays; learn a thing or two. via FB

The Pour House of Bay Ridge has teachers bartend on Fridays. We give their bar game an A. via Facebook

This article appears as part of Brokelyn’s “Year in Review” series, which will continue throughout the week. 

Drinking has gone from habit to necessity in the year 2016, and Brooklyn’s bars have undoubtedly reaped the fruits of our misery. We certainly don’t fault them for being on the come-up in the wake of America’s comeuppance. We’re just glad to have a constantly revolving door of solid places to drown our sorrows, revel in what’s left of our hopes and dreams, and occasionally get our taxes done in the process.

In that spirit (never gets old), we present to you: This Year in Bars, in the form of beer and shot specials you might find at any of our borough’s fine watering holes. Which one of our specials/bar roundups suits your tastes and qualities best? Read on to gain that liquid knowledge, my friend, and here’s hoping our livers survive the next four years.  (more…)

12/20/16 4:41pm
Screamer's Pizza set about dominating the city with vegan pizza this year. Via Facebook.

Screamer’s Pizza set about dominating the city with vegan pizza this year. Via Facebook.

This article appears as part of Brokelyn’s “Year in Review” series, which will continue throughout the week. 

Here’s a joke for you! Why did the meat eater cross the road? Because they saw a vegan minding their own business on the other side and were FURIOUS. Bam! Roasted like a squash! Sam and I have published an all-time high #vegancontent on Brokelyn this year and have dealt with the occasional snide anti-vegan comment, because the personal decisions about what you eat definitely are anyone else’s business.

But dumb jokes aside, after many years of New York’s culinary scene fetishizing putting meat on every part of the plate (and charging a lot for it, too), vegan food is finally on the come-up. And it’s come a long way from the elder years of granola-peddling hippies and soy-based chicken substitutes — vegan food went punk, high class and down-home all in one year. And since we’re a budget-minded blog, we like to gently remind you the cost your dietary decisions have on the planet. Here’s the best of Brooklyn’s vegan food this year: (more…)

12/08/16 1:35pm
Anti-capitalism lives on with a cash-optional coffee shop opening in Williamsburg

Just some of the miscellany you’ll find in this coffee shop/art project space. via IG user @stefpix2

It’s no secret that your coffee addiction runs you a hefty annual tab. And with third-wave shops in almost every BK neighborhood these days, you may end up dropping $4-6 on drip because it’s French Press, or pourover, or just plain pretentious. But thankfully, there are still a few caffeine-addicted artists kicking around Brooklyn who actively oppose capitalism, and are making a powerful statement about just what “coffee culture” should really mean by creating a cash-optional café in Williamsburg.

Created by artist Fran Illich and freelance curator Juliana Cope, the AridoAmérica Winter Plan will serve as a café and gathering space where patrons can forgo the monetary cost of their coffee and opt instead to barter goods or services in exchange for a cup. Illich told the Brooklyn Paper that he was seeing a lot of people in New York “looking for a shelter, a safe space to talk, to drink some coffee, eat, cry,” and was inspired to run the alternative coffee shop as a “four month art project” to show people that there are “things more important than money.”

So, starting tomorrow (Dec. 9) through March 30, you can skip your regular morning coffee spot and head over to El Museo De Los Sures gallery (120 S. 1st St.) in Williamsburg, where a cup of coffee is only as valuable as you believe it to be. Sounds a little like most other art, doesn’t it? (more…)

11/21/16 2:01pm
via Flickr user randar.

via Flickr user randar.

Some campaign promises may still come true even though Hillary Clinton lost the electoral vote. From Bloomberg today:

In the presidential election, food carts became a symbol of immigrant rights after Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, warned on MSNBC that a win by Democrat Hillary Clinton would lead to “taco trucks on every corner,” a threat some Mexican food lovers took as good news.

City lawmakers now bet that increasing the number of cart permits will curb the illegal market. The price would jump to $1,000. The measures also would establish an agency to conduct sanitary inspections and ensure the vendors don’t encroach upon the community.

(more…)

11/16/16 1:21pm
Where to comfort-binge on the 8 best nachos in Brooklyn

Mmm. Nachos. Photo by Erin Phillips / Brokelyn

I love nachos. But honestly, who doesn’t? An order of nachos is a plate of joy placed right in front of you and is sure to bring happiness with each gooey, yummy bite. Nachos are also served en masse and are usually just sliiightly too expensive for someone to afford alone, thus inviting friendship and camaraderie. New to the area or want to make more friends? Order some nachos and watch your friend count rise.

For the last couple of years I’ve been on a quest to find the best nachos but I also recognize that rankings may vary depending on what mood you’re in. Some nachos are better for the melancholy post-election binge, while others suit the humbug seeking a taste of ‘Old Brooklyn.’ Here’s a roundup of the best nachos in Brooklyn, sorted to fit whatever mood you find yourself in on the night you indulge. You’re welcome. (more…)

11/07/16 1:24pm
Luke's Diner doesn't even serve this flavor. Via Ample HIlls.

Luke’s Diner doesn’t even serve this flavor. Via Ample HIlls.

Perhaps you are a diehard Gilmore Girls fan who is counting down the days until you reunite with your Stars Hollow friends over Thanksgiving weekend. Or maybe, hypothetically, your girlfriend and friends are so obsessed with the show they are throwing a Stars Hollow-themed party this weekend that has its own website and comes with mandatory cosplay requirements (hypothetically). Either way, Brooklyn’s Ample Hills just released the perfect ice cream to add to a junk food binge that would make Rory and Lorelai proud: The ice cream, called They Scoop Gilmores, Don’t They?, is available now and, naturally, it’s coffee flavored. (more…)

11/01/16 2:41pm
Bar Velo, a vegan cyclist's paradise.

Bar Velo, a vegan cyclist’s paradise. All photos by Sam Corbin/Brokelyn.

On the same unassuming Broadway corner under the subway tracks in South Williamsburg where the former Café Moto used to welcome patrons for new American fare and live jazz, now sits Bar Velo. On the outside, the trappings are the same: rusted metal front door with a kitchen-style keyhole window; neat chalkboard font promising live music inside; in place of a “BAR” sign, a cruiser bike, hanging about eight feet overhead and jutting out onto the sidewalk on the South side of Broadway.

On the inside, a flatiron layout pinches the space toward the entrance. Tour de France art and cycling paraphernalia lines the walls. Decorative taps sit next to real ones, and sprigs of fresh herbs poke out of glasses at the bar.

Does it get anymore Williamsburg than this? (Spoiler: It does.)

We got to chow down on an all-vegan snack menu, decidedly the standout feature of the bar (as per Brokelyn’s vegan-heavy editorial staff). $9 for lentil paté may seem steep — let’s be honest, it is — but with a dearth of cheap all-vegan bar menus in the borough, Bar Velo has pretty much “cornered” the market (get it? Because they’re on a corner).

Since Brokelyn is also your premier source for all things two-wheel friendly, this caught our eye. And in honor of World Vegan Day (a real thing), it ought to catch yours, too.  (more…)

10/21/16 1:31pm
Drink and eat all you want and just pay by the hour at Glass Hour. Via Facebook.

Drink and eat all you want and just pay by the hour at Glass Hour. Via Facebook.

Loitering has been a problem for coffee shop owners for so long that we’ve gone through several cycles of addressing it in New York City. First came limiting laptop hours and eliminating outlets, then things like timed wifi. Britcom hit Fleabag skewered the annoying laptop camper in its inaugural season this summer, which means it’s far from just an American thing. It’s a tough balance for businesses to strike between enabling the long, languorous cafe afternoons that can be good for productivity and community while also limiting the freeloaders who just want your wifi and free coffee refills while they turn a table into their personal office space.

But what if a cafe embraced lingerers instead of chasing them out? That’s the premise of Glass Hour, a new “anti-cafe” and “new-age working space” that opened in Williamsburg on Aug. 26, where customers can eat, drink and play their games as much as they want; they pay by the hour they spend there, not by what they consume. It’s a hybrid of a coworking space and a coffee shop. But will it work?  (more…)

10/12/16 9:57am
Mom knows what you want.

Mom knows what you want.

Get on a Slack channel with Santa or send a Yahoo email to your mom because there’s a brand-new hot toy in town just in time for the holiday season: Seamless and Grubhub just started offering gift cards for the first time. Consumerist reports the delivery services, which are part of the same company, announced the arrival of gift cards last week as a way to gift your friends and family with the magic of food that you order by touch without having to talk to another living human.

They’re only available online, not in physical form (which, be honest, you would lose anyway), though you can print them out if you want. You can personalize them for any occasion, including adding your own photo, and buy them in any amount between $10 and $1,000 (General Tso’s tofu for dayyyyyyyyyyys). And there’s no expiration date. (more…)