04/28/17 4:07pm
Soak up the sun: Brokelyn's 2016 ultimate guide to Brooklyn outdoor bars!

Soak in the sun all summer long at (clockwise from top left) Bar Chord, Our Wicked Lady, Margarita Island and a bunch more bars in our guide.

Folks, it’s been a tough year and it’s only April. Spring is desperately clawing its way into Brooklyn and we’re all wondering whether we’ll see the sun again, literally and figuratively. But fear not. The overcast days are lessening; the temperature is steadily rising. Soon we’ll throw off the shackles of light coats and layers and sit glistening in the heat of summer.

In anticipation of this bright future, we’ve updated our Outdoor Bars Guide! We’re sad to see a couple of our favorite places close (Boulevard Tavern, Sud, and Backyard), but we’re happy to report there are a slew of new places (Smoking Monkey, Brouwerij Lane, Nowadays) for you to get a tan while getting tanked. Team Brokelyn has compiled a comprehensive list of nearly 175 spirited spots across the borough where you can drink outside. From wine bars to dives to every sidewalk seat in between, we’re passing along our notes on each bar’s vibe and spilling our secrets to navigating the drink menu without spending your summer allowance all in one place.

—Conal Darcy (more…)

04/25/17 1:59pm

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Neither time nor the sea nor a lack of funds will shut down Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook if Tone Balzano Johansen, widow of the late great Sunny Balzano, can help it.

Johansen has been fighting hard to keep the old-school Brooklyn holdout in existence since Superstorm Sandy, and now it’s not the waters that are rising against everybody’s favorite former speakeasy, but a monster downpayment. In hopes of raising $65,000 to get a mortgage, Johansen has been raising cash through a series of events she’s been holding at the bar and other locations. (more…)

04/24/17 4:10pm
Photo via Yelp

Photo via Yelp

Standout borough indie ice cream maker Blue Marble Ice Cream and winner of the 2016 Brokelyn Ice Cream Bracket closed their main brick and mortar location back at the end of January, taking the tail end of winter and most of spring to gut renovate their home of eight years. This weekend, Blue Marble will emerge from their waffle cone chrysalis and begin once again serving scoops to the masses.

Blue Marble’s Events Director Sarah Green told us they “probably will be” offering reopening-related discounts. (more…)

04/21/17 4:43pm
Photo via Twitter

Photo via Twitter

Praise be the gods that deliver onto us cheap booze libations, available through low-cost, high-fun stork: Trader Joe’s. The most recent breaking development in affordable alcohol has arrived in the form of $4 four-packs of canned wine, exclusively available at the Union Square Trader Joe’s Wine Shop (138 E 14th St.).  (more…)

04/20/17 3:41pm
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#neverenoughsauce. Photo via Chick-Fil-A

[Ed note: (Everything is vegetarian) (Everything is gluten-free except the bonus round) (The spicy cream sauce is vegan)]

Depending on the generosity of your local fast food chain, you probably have a fridge drawer full of assorted dipping sauces and condiments. My collection comes from ordering chicken nuggets on my way home from the bar, getting adventurous with the sauce choice, then forgetting entirely about the Sweet Chili while I eat my naked / unsauced nuggets in a sleepy haze. Somehow, I never remember the sauce collection the next time I have a post-bar snack; thus the collection grows.

In terms of sauce-use, I see myself as having three choices:
1) I can throw the packets away, helping destroy the planet almost as much as my nighttime nugget habit and putting (semi) good food in the garbage.
2) I can eat the sauce straight out of the packet, which is fine on occasion, but really not very filling.
3) I can take a long look at the condiments acquired and decide to make my next meal into a spring cleaning effort.

In the spirit of condiment appreciation and innovation, here’s what to do with your 67 ketchups. (more…)

04/13/17 3:21pm
Photo by Sam Howzit / Flickr

Photo by Sam Howzit / Flickr

Break-ups: they happen to us all, and it happens to our besties. So what are we (as good friends) supposed to do? Distract. Nothing really heals a broken heart like time. So while they are counting down the hours to happiness, let’s bring in the fun (with optimal spaces to cry openly in public when needed)! (more…)

04/12/17 11:32am
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Photo via MightySweet.com

In a tiny restaurant with an impossibly small kitchen, two business owners are closing up for the night. The Islands, a neighborhood Caribbean restaurant near the intersection of Washington Ave. and Eastern Parkway, has become a staple of a rapidly changing section of Brooklyn and, in some ways, a reflection of Washington Ave. Yesterday, the doors closed on the famous location to make room for a new condominium. The owners, Marilyn Reid and Shawn Leitchford, plan to reopen a much larger location a few blocks down Washington.

“This street right here is the end of Crown Heights and where Prospect Heights begins. Washington is unlike any other street in the neighborhood.” Marilyn says, when asked about why they stayed on the same street when opening the new location.

For 16 years, Marilyn and Shawn have been cooking sumptuous Jamaican dinners in a restaurant only 220 square feet in total, and that includes a dining area upstairs which seats about 20. During past summers the front have doors remained open and a few tables were placed outside for additional space. The restaurants’ tiny size has, in part, lent to its word of mouth popularity, a factor which helped keep the doors of the establishment open for nearly two decades. I tell Marilyn that when I moved to the neighborhood several years ago The Islands was often listed as one of the primary highlights right behind Prospect Park. (more…)

04/11/17 9:35am

Eating out while gluten-free is one of the most hellish layers of the Inferno. I know I know, Dante doesn’t mention it a whole lot, but trust me, it’s a special kind of torture. Whether your affliction is an intolerance, a dietary choice or you’re full-blown Celiac, you know what it’s like to go out to dinner and be grateful to find even one gluten-free item on a menu! Don’t you wish you could eat out somewhere and have options, as in, plural, more than one, like, options? Well, you’re in luck: at these Brooklyn eateries, you are Free To Be Gluten-Free.

You may have cut out gluten from your life, but you don’t have to give up having great meals in local restaurants. If you’re tired of being relegated to choosing between iffy french fries and a salad sans croutons, make a special trip to one of these places. Your digestive tract will thank you. Go forth and dine. (more…)

04/07/17 9:00am
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Photo by Ruthie Darling

British cuisine seems to have a bad rap in America. When I tell my friends I’m making some traditional English fare for dinner, there tends to be a collective nervous glance around the room followed by, “we could just order pizza.” Britain is really a nation of comfort food eaters. Butter, cheese and meats are the main component of our diet. It’s a miracle the Empire lasted as long as it did considering how sleepy we all must have been after lunch. As an English transplant in Brooklyn, I often find myself craving the traditional foods from home: scones and tea, Marmite on toast, a big old Sunday roast. Also, some of our dishes have fantastic names, such as toad in the hole, spotted dick and Eton mess (don’t worry, I will provide a glossary at the end of this article). In desperate need of a decent cup of tea last week, I began a one woman quest to find the Best of British in Brooklyn. Here are the results. (more…)

04/06/17 4:13pm
Beer Karma owner, Dan Lamonaca is happy to serve you.

Beer Karma owner, Dan Lamonaca is happy to serve you.

How to open a beer bar/shop in Brooklyn:
1. Have a good job.
2. Quit that good job.
3. Drink as much beer as possible.
4. Know a good landlord.

At least, that was the formula for Dan Lamonaca, owner of the brand new Beer Karma, a beer shop and bar located on the corner of Union Ave. and Conselyea St. in Williamsburg. Beer Karma is unusual not only in its goal to show great beer to a mixed crowd of beer geeks and athletes – it also happens to be in a building owned by Lamonaca’s grandmother, Molly, who lives upstairs. (more…)