With $3 drafts and afternoon-long happy hours, Prospect Heights is a small sliver of Brooklyn where the drinks alone should be a cheapskate draw. But with some mouth-watering daytime fare, sale racks that overfloweth and well-stocked knick-knackeries, the neighborhood isn’t a find only for the pocket-change imbiber. Desperate, hungry shoppers, read on too. Here are my Prospect Heights picks from beer glass to last-minute stocking-stuffer.
FIRST, THE DRINKS Why are there so many places to drink in Prospect Heights? Maybe it’s the wide selection from plain and simple to ultra fancy that keeps all the neighborhood bar stools warm. For every delicate Aviation or Rye Cobbler cocktail ($11 each at Weather Up, 589 Vanderbilt Ave. between Bergen and Dean), there’s a $3 Green Flash IPA at Washington Commons (748 Washington Ave. at Park)—at least during their exhaustingly long happy hour (3 to 8 p.m). I also like Sharlene’s (353 Flatbush Ave. between Sterling and Park Pl.), which inhabits the Guinness-soaked premises of the former Mooney’s Irish Pub and also serves $3 draft beers, in this case til 7.
NEXT MORNING’S FARE When it comes to breakfast in Prospect Heights, Upstairs, Downstairs is an easy game to play. At Blue Marble Ice Cream (186 Underhill Ave. between Sterling and St. Johns), the delicious Bergen Bagel with butter and a cup of free-trade coffee will set you back $4.25. But travel a few northeasterly blocks, and a lower-brow version of the same is only $1.50 at Washington Bagel Café (621 Washington Ave. between Dean and Bergen). Or break your fast, and treat your local self, at Café Shane (794 Washington Ave. between Sterling and St. Johns), where neighborhood businesses, seniors, teachers and students get a 10 percent discount. Ask for mango or chocolate chips in your Belgian waffles for an extra $1.25.
But the prize for best breakfast/brunch in the neighborhood may go to Le Gamin (556 Vanderbilt Ave. between Bergen and Dean). Their crepes and moules are killer, and the prix fixe is a true bargain: Monday through Thursday, it’s just $23 for three courses and a drink.
A HAPPY-HOUR BURGER SPECIAL On to the later end of the meal spectrum, there’s James (605 Carlton Ave. at St. Marks), where the grass-fed burger is half price ($7.50 with cheddar and fries) if you can find a stool somewhere along their dark, beautiful bar between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
CLOTHING SALES GALORE On your feet now, fashion forward: The sale racks are overflowing this month at Red Beri (319 Flatbush Ave. between Park and Prospect) and at Pieces (671 Vanderbilt Ave. at Park Place). Both shops carry women’s dresses, denim, warm things and accessories. Pieces has men’s and boy’s clothes too—and this week, they’ll wrap your gifts in colorful fabrics recycled from old clothes (no, you don’t have to buy the gift at their store) for $3 to $10, depending on the size. The Pieces web site has 15 percent off everything, and Red Beri is about to start selling old stock online too, for as much as 80 percent off.
HOLIDAY ANTIQUE SALE Find that last-minute whatever at The Forest Floor (659 Vanderbilt Ave. between Park and Prospect), a rare gem of a knick-knacky antique shop that goes all-out this time of year with sparkly decorations and oversized candles. They’re taking 20 percent off all holiday-related gear. Check your list twice if you think you don’t need a pair of three-foot-tall, full-color wooden nutcrackers, because they’re just $40 apiece.