The L train shutdown will take place in April 2019 for 15 months between Bedford Ave and 14th Street/8th Avenue. It’s time to get a head start on some deluxe spots to hideout off the L line before all hell breaks loose next year.
It’s time to look on the bright side. The L train shutdown means less Manhattanites which means that all of North Brooklyn’s dining, shopping and venues are yours for the taking. From bagels to burlesque shows, we give you the ABC’s of bars, restaurants, galleries, venues and shops stop by stop so you can effortlessly fill up your weekend calendars without leaving this side of the L.
Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern
188 Bedford Avenue (Bedford Avenue and North 7th Street)
A place to celebrate all occasions, this old school Williamsburg bar is always done up in lights and decorations for every holiday big or small. What’s not to celebrate when you can get a 32 oz. Bud Light in a styrofoam cup or a mini bottle of wine for $5?
133 Wythe Avenue (between North 7th Street and North 8th Street)
The best part of Mogador is their breakfast and you don’t have to venture to their East Village location for this one. $10 for eggs any style, toast, potatoes, coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice any day of the week.
187 Bedford Avenue (Bedford Avenue and North 5th Street)
On the bustling Bedford Ave. since 2004, the selection of fire oven pizza here is delicious. Try a small pizza and a salad for lunch, the special is $12. Perfect to share with a friend.
Book Thug Nation
100 North 3rd Street (N3rd Street and Berry Street)
Started by four independent books sellers who have all sold on the streets of NYC, Book Thug offers wide selection of used books at low prices. They also hold many community events not limited to movie screenings, lectures and neighborhood meetings.
Yoga to the People
211 North 11th Street (N11th between Driggs Avenueand Roebling Street)
No need to go into the city, this YTTP studio right off of McCarren Park offers several donation based Power Vinyasa Flow classes daily. If you feel like really sweating, they also have hot yoga classes which are $10 a session.
Little Choc Apothecary
141 Havemeyer Street (Havemeyer between South 1st Street and South 2nd Street)
NYC’s first fully vegan creperie and tea room is in Williamsburg. If you dread taking your vitamins in the morning they have a B-12 truffle which, combines vitamins and dessert. A must try is the Super Food Bullet made with homemade clotted cream, raw cherry chia jam, hemp seeds, goji berries and granola, all locally made. You feel healthier just walking in the door.
79 North 11th Street (between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue)
One upside to a lack of Manhattanites pouring out of the Bedford Avenue stop is that you can do some of the more tourist-y stuff you might otherwise skip. Case in point: go for a free tour at the Brooklyn Brewery, which goes on every half hour between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday and 1pm to 4pm on Sundays.
124 South 3rd Street (S3rd and Bedford)
When all of your options are exhausted grab a six pack or a ’40 ounce depending on your budget and go to Spectacle Theater to watch a 70’s sick flick or a killer independent film that’s been lost since the 90’s.
(Bedford and N12th)
It’s starting warm up, and there’s no better place in Williamsburg to enjoy this thing called “warmth” than McCarren Park. There’s baseball field, there’s the public track for running or walking. Or the playground, where ambitious fitness freaks go to town and the benches where I like to sit and watch this all.
566 Lorimer Street (Lorimer Street and Metropolitan Avenue)
Open 24/7. Pop in for a quick schmear when the train deposits you at the Lorimer stop. Don’t worry about them running out our of your favorite cream cheese. The selection is vast and they always have it fully stocked.
486 Metropolitan Avenue (Metropolitan Avenue and Rodney Street)
The L will just dump you off right down the block from this place anyway, but even if it weren’t the end of the line on weekends, this spacious metal bar offering enormous $3 mugs of Budweiser is a destination on its own. Once it warms up, be sure to hang around the backyard, which is nice enough that it manages to make you forget that you’re out there right next to the BQE.
33 Havemeyer Street (between North 7th Street and North 8th Street)
If you haven’t had the white slice yet at this pizzeria that trades Italian tunes for hip-hop classics, go out and get it, because it’s close to Heaven you’re gonna get for just $3.50.
150 Ainslie Street (Ainslie btwn Lorimer and Leonard)
This super quaint, neighborhood oriented Japanese food spot, Okonomi provides a hearty breakfast and lunch off of their traditional Ichiju Sansai set menu. Choose an odd hour to go so that you don’t have to wait in line.
484 Union Avenue (Union Avenue and Meeker Avenue)
A former pool supply store turned neighborhood bar staple with a cheap taco truck in the spacious backyard and a great selection of cheap live music acts .
143 Havemeyer Street (between South 1st and South 2nd Street)
Spend your Sunday playing the silver ball at Jack Bar, which will keep your entertained with their solid craft beer selection you can enjoy between rounds of one of their 9 pinball machines that take up probably half the real estate in the bar.
366 Metropolitan Avenue (Metropolitan Avenue and Havemayer Street)
This might be the best cheap bar food in town items range from $2 to $12. Share a fried chicken plate or nachos with a kitschy frozen cocktail like a piña colada with an amaretto float.
599 Grand Street (Grand and Lorimer)
If you love Canada (or miss it, like I do), go to this dive bar for a Moose Head and a round of air hockey.
Full Circle Bar
318 Grand Street (between Havemeyer Street and Marcy Avenue)
Brooklyn’s first, and still only, bar devoted entirely to Skee-ball, this is just a great place to spend some time rolling for a high score while throwing back $6 Gennessee and whiskey specials.
347 Graham Avenue (Graham and Metropolitan)
Nothing beats a lunch special. $11 for laid-back lunch vibes, a burger, fries and a half pint of draft beer–if you want a full pint it’s two dollars off draft selections for happy hour anyway. Or swap the burger for a veggie burger or catfish sandwich if you feel like it. They also have $2 sweet potato fries for a cheap snack.
Tom and Joan’s
437 Graham Avenue (Graham at Frost)
This whiskey bar was once home to Daddy’s (RIP) but it’s worth stopping by for a drink or two. Daily happy hour specials include $1 off all drinks until 8 pm.
749 Metropolitan Avenue (Metropolitan and Graham)
In a simple no frills atmosphere, Brooklyn Seoul serves up delicious Korean soul food, like tacos, burritos and ramen for cheap.
769 Metropolitan Avenue (Metropolitan btwn Graham and Humboldt)
Here’s a brokester’s dream: A place with a full brunch menu, including a mimosa or bloody Mary and bottomless coffee, for just $13.
20 Meadow Street
A D.I.Y. venue that acts as a recording studio and a practice studio by day and an all ages live venue by night. Tons of local and touring acts pass through Shea, and you can usually catch them for $10 or less. Particularly noteworthy is the Macauly Culkin Show, whose madcap comedy and roster of Brooklyn’s best standups happens once a month on Sundays.
690 Grand Street (Grand and Manhattan)
With Bahia’s authentic El Salvadorian food, it’s like taking a little trip to Central America but it’s just off the Grand L stop. A must try are the pupusas starting at $1.25 a piece.
Grand Morelos Diner and Bakery
727 Grand Street (Grand btwn Graham and Humboldt)
A great neighborhood establishment where you can eat authentic Mexican food on a budget at any hour: it’s open 24/7.
Bushwick Country Club
618 Grand Street (Grand and Leonard)
If you bring in 15 people to celebrate anything to this perfectly named bar (hey, they’ve got a mini-golf course) then you get to drink on the house. Among their six-hole mini-golf course, photo booth and free cheese puffs, BCC offers daily two-for-one draft beer, wine and well cocktails.
197 Meserole Street (Meserole Street between Bushwick Avenue and Humboldt Street)
The old classic vegan spot has moved locations. It’s bigger and more sock hoppy than ever. Enjoy a plethora of faux meat products in style at the new Champs.
168 Johnson Avenue (Johnson Avenue and Graham Avenue)
A vinyl record store specializing in new and used records with a great variety of genres at fair prices with a informative and welcoming staff.
141 Leonard Street (Leonard Street and Scholes Street)
A romantic Italian nook in a mostly residential area, Testo serves delicious house made pastas and nightly specials for excellent prices. A personal favorite is the vegetable lasagna for $8.
222 Montrose Avenue (Montrose Avenue and Bushwick Avenue)
If you haven’t had one of these vegan donuts, you have to fix that. They have over 200 unique flavors which, go perfectly with a nice cup of joe.
161 Montrose Avenue (Montrose Avenue and Graham Avenue)
With a two-for-one daily happy hour on well drinks, Rolling Rock and Narragansett Lager and a dollar off almost everything else, this is a great place to while away a Saturday.
163 Montrose Avenue (Montrose and Graham)
Get tipsy earlier enough in the day at duckduck and it’ll seem like a great idea to pop over to Goose for a quick tattoo. Or if you think long and hard about what you want to get, this is a good place to go too!
151 Meserole Street (Meserole Street and Graham Avenue
Can you go wrong with a a huge craft selection, happy hour from 3pm to 8pm that features $2 off of everything, a snack menu that goes late into the night, dance parties on Saturdays and HBO screenings on Sundays? No, you can’t.
1084 Flushing Avenue (Flushing Avenue and Thames Street)
It’s not often that you can find Ethopian food this traditional and well priced in the heart of Bushwick. A perfect spot for vegans, vegetarians and even meat eaters. It’s recommended you go in during one of their coffee ceremonies to score a free cup with your meal.
Shops at the Loom
1087 Flushing Avenue (Flushing Avenue and Knickerbocker Avenue)
The space consists of twenty diverse shops in the minimally designed artist mall space. Start off at Kave cafe where you can eat and drink and perhaps enjoy some music or do work in the courtyard. If yoga is your thing there is a studio in the loom. There’s also a bike shop and many more stores–my friend adopted her cat here at Bushy Tails Pet Food and Supplies Store.
304 Boerum Street (Boerum Street and McKibbin Street)
The show is right here. Catch your local dancers, choreographers, and performers at this artist run organization.
53 Morgan Avenue (Morgan Avenue and Grattan Street)
A friendly, relaxed atmosphere serving up cheap and delicious ramen. An added plus is that it’s BYOB.
120 Knickerbocker Avenue (Knickerbocker Avenue between Thames Street and Flushing Avenue)
Perfectly priced vintage ware. A vast selection if you’re willing to hunt through the racks, which it’s definitely worth for the $10 denim and $5 tees.
987 Flushing Avenue (Flushing Avenue between Central Avenue and Bogart Street)
An eccentric shop in Bushwick filled with books, fashion and esoterica. It doubles as an event space for readings, workshops, lectures and spiritual rituals.
12 Jefferson Street (Jefferson Street and Myrtle Avenue)
On any given night it will be a pleasant meal in a spacious venue with a full bar or a completely twisted night of debauchery fully equipped with drag queens, freak shows and unforgettable performance art.
25 Bogart Street (Bogart Street and Varet Street)
This rustic neighborhood bar and restaurant is the perfect place to curl up in a booth with a $5 wine and a dozen oysters (a dollar a piece) at happy hour. They also have half off draft beer and well drinks from 4pm-8pm.
1037 Flushing Avenue (Flushing Avenue and Wilson Avenue)
This 1920’s inspired bar serves up great house cocktails and upscale bites late into the night. As warm weather kicks in gear, their backyard is the place to be. For happy hour they have a special of Bud and Jameson or Sol and jalapeno infused tequila for $6.
Pine Box Rock Shop
12 Grattan Street (Grattan Street and Bogart Street)
Another Bushwick warehouse turned bar. This transformed casket factory, acts as a bar and music venue with veg-friendly snacks, cocktails and draft beer. Try their signature Bloody Marys if you’re there early enough and maybe come back on a Thursday for the Kings of Karaoke at 10pm, it’s free. Just try not to get kicked off the stage butchering The Cure.
44 Irving Avenue (Irving and Troutman)
You may remember trying their arepas at Rockaway last summer. Either way, there’s something in their beans and rice ($3.50) that makes them extra tasty. Their arepas are authentic and delicious starting at $5.00.
Mominette French Bistro
221 Knickerbocker Avenue (Knickerbocker Avenue and Troutman Street)
Mominette has a stunning backyard, where patrons can dine amidst a beautiful garden. The quality of the French food and atmosphere is there with out being boastful or pretentious. It is a really wonderful place to enjoy the company of your friends over decently priced escargot or mussels.
Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos
271 Starr Street (Starr between St. Nicholas Avenue and Wyckoff Avenue)
BYOB, killer fresh ingredients and only a few dollars for some great Mexican eats. Florescent lights that make for a dreamy and surreal dining experience amidst heavy tortilla machinery. How often is it that you get to dine inside of a factory for next to nothing? Also if you’re stopping there, why not make a few more stops on the Bushwick taco tour?
50 Wyckoff Avenue (Wyckoff and Willoughby)
This is a great coffee shop to get some work done during the day. If you stay late enough you can grab a $5 PBR and whiskey shot and some of their New Orleans-style Southern food they serve at night.
Pearl’s Social and Billy Club
40 St. Nicholas Avenue (St. Nicholas Avenue and Willoughby Street)
A popular Bushwick drinking hole since 2011, Pearl’s attracts a laid back crowd. The best part is their happy hour, ($2 off draft beer, well drinks, wine) which runs from 2pm and to 8pm. If you’re a fan of the mason jar, look no further, every drink comes in one.
236 Troutman Street (Troutman between Knickerbocker Avenue and Wilson Avenue)
Grab a Creampie Orange Colada (frozen rum, fresh orange, coconut cream, bitter float) and some tacos (their menu doesn’t pass the $12 mark) and kick back and relax. On any given night there’s a a DJ spinning a myriad of cool sounds ranging from Italo disco and beach vibes to funk and freakout heat.
Welcome to the Johnson’s
369 Troutman Street (between Irving Avenue and Wyckoff Avenue)
A little more put together than its Lower East Side counterpart, this Johnson’s still offers cheap booze and free pool tables. $2 cans and $5 cocktails during happy hour.
Secret Project Robot
389 Melrose Street (Melrose Street and Knickerbocker Avenue)
This Bushwick art organization is always profiling veteran Williamsburg musicians– some of them hold practice spaces in the container studios they have in their backyard– among a dynamic range of local artists.
The Bushwick Starr
207 Starr Street (Starr between Irving Avenue and Wyckoff Avenue)
This venue brings an annual season of newly discovered work in theater, dance and puppetry. An extremely artist and community based venue, this neighborhood playhouse works to fulfill Bushwick’s unique artistic needs and impulses.
117 Wilson Avenue (Wilson between Starr Street and Willoughby Avenue)
A carefully curated vintage boutique, from the 1900’s to the 1990’s, that also carries independent designer clothing, accessories and speciality goods. As the owners are musicians and artists themselves, the store also continuously hosts art and music shows.
194 Knickerbocker Avenue (Knickerbocker Avenue and Jefferson Street)
A perfect addition to a street that already boasts many bars, restaurants and cafes. Vinyl Fantasy offers cheap, high quality albums hand-selected outside of New York, comic books and books for sale. They also feature one artist a month in the shop as a free show.
Maria Hernandez Park
(Knickerbocker Avenue, between Starr Street and Suydam Street)
When it’s sunny out and you don’t have any money bring a basketball to Maria Hernandez Park and get ready to make some friends.
770 Hart Street (Hart btwn Knickerbocker and Wilson)
Barter books for coffee or booze at this used book store/cafe. If you have a used book bring it in and you may be able to trade it for your choice of coffee, wine or beer. The books are cheap, prices range from $5 to $8.
L Train Vintage
1377 Dekalb Avenue (Dekalb btwn Central and Wilson)
Atlantis Attic off the Graham stop was forced to close after the spot was sold but it reopened at the Dekalb location as L Train Vintage. Shop for a vintage spring outfit for less than $20.
1546 Dekalb Avenue
If you’re dusting off your bike for the spring season and it needs a tune up this shop offers check-ups for $15 and tune up packages start at $40.
Left Hand Path
89 Wyckoff Avenue (between Suydam Street and Hart Street)
If you want a bar with a backyard and an ever-rotating craft beer selection, look no further than the Left Hand Path. Sure the name conjures up evil, but it’s actually a pretty relaxed place, so keep the Satan talk to your trip to Catland.
226 Wyckoff Avenue (Wyckoff and Menahan)
Around the corner from Planet Fitness stop by Old Stanley’s for a post workout drink. A low key neighborhood bar where you can enjoy free shelled peanuts and a $3 Miller Lite and a hot dog if you feel like it. Might leave you thinking about going back to the gym, but oh well.
308 Bleecker Street (Irving Avenue and Bleecker Street)
One of Bushwick’s newest bars, it’s also already one of Bushwick’s best. A place where both carnivores and vegans can chow down on barbecue, and you can either talk with people or just idly color and stare at the wall full of boobs. What else do you need to do on a slow Saturday or Sunday?
This article has been updated for 2018 and was originally published in 2015.
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