About ten years ago, when young people could no longer afford Manhattan rents, they reluctantly moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Now, you can hardly walk down Bedford Avenue what with the twentysomethings, hip boutiques, hot restaurants and cafés, not to mention the 20+ art galleries.
Here are some suggestions, but you don't need a set itinerary. Half the fun is just wandering around discovering places on your own. The neighborhood is safe and the locals are friendly.
Getting There: L train to Bedford Avenue (one stop from Manhattan).
There are so many galleries to visit, to help you sort through the choices, pick up a copy of Wagmag (www.wagmag.org), a free monthly brochure with maps and gallery information, and RAW Mag (www.rawmag.org), a free yearly publication that can be downloaded. Both are available at the galleries.
Causey Contemporary, formerly Ch'i, (92 Wythe Ave., at N. 11th St.; tel. 718/218-8939; www.causeycontemporary.com) is my personal favorite.
Other Good Galleries: Art 101 (101 Grand St.; tel. 718/302-2242; www.art101brooklyn.com); Figureworks (168 N. 6th St.; tel. 718/486-7021; www.figureworks.com); Like the Spice (224 Roebling St.; tel. 718/388-5388; www.likethespice.com); Parker's Box (193 Grand St.; tel. 718/388-2882; www.parkersbox.com); Pierogi's The Boiler (191 N. 14th St.; tel. 718/599-2144; www.pierogi2000.com); Sideshow (319 Bedford Ave.; tel. 718/486-8180; www.sideshowgallery.com); Slate Gallery (136 Wythe Ave.; tel. 718/387-3921; www.slategallery.com).
Every 2nd Friday: On the second Friday of every month (Sept-June), galleries stay open late (6pm-9pm); some offer free wine, others have special events. Then, there's an Afterparty at an area music venue. Find out more from the Williamsburg Gallery Association (tel. 847/903-5360; www.wgabrooklyn.org).
Art Gallery Tours: With a map from Wagmag or RAW, it's easy to find your way around. But, if you'd like to learn more about the artwork, consider a tour. Contact the Williamsburg Gallery Association for upcoming gallery walks.
Context Travel(tel. 800/691-6036; www.contexttravel.com), known worldwide for using art scholars and historians as tour guides, offers a three-hour, Williamsburg galleries tour (Cost: $300 for 1-6 people).
Part of the Williamsburg "scene" is dining at the hot, trendy restaurants where you can see and be seen and also enjoy some great eats. Two good online guides to the area eateries list locations and phone numbers: Williamsburg Eats (www.williamsburgeats.com) and The Williamsburg, Brooklyn Restaurant Guide (www.freewilliamsburg.com/restaurants/index.html). Some recommendations:
Trendy Dining Spots: Diner (85 Broadway; tel. 718/486-3077; www.dinernyc.com) hip diner; Dressler (149 Broadway; tel. 718/384-6343; www.dresslernyc.com) American Nouveau; Marlow & Sons (81 Broadway; tel. 718/384-1441; www.marlowandsons.com) raw bar & more; Moto (349 Broadway; tel. 718/599-6895; www.circa1938.com) French; Rye (247 S. 1st St.; tel. 718/218-8047; www.ryerestaurant.com) American speakeasy; Walter Foods (253 Grand St.; tel. 718/387-8783; www.walterfoods.com) seafood/raw bar.
Other Popular Spots: Fette Sau (354 Metropolitan Ave.; tel. 718/963-3404) German BBQ; La Superior (295 Berry St.; tel. 718/388-5988; www.lasuperiornyc.com) Mexican; Sweetwater (105 N. 6th St.; tel. 718/963-0608; www.sweetwaterny.com) American Nouveau.
Stop and Shop
In addition to art galleries and restaurants, Williamsburg has lots of trendy boutiques for off-beat clothing, books, home décor, and more. This online guide lists all kinds of stores with locations and phone numbers: Billburg (www.billburg.com/shops-and-services).
Some Special Stores: Abode New York (179 Grand St.; tel. 718/388-5383; www.abode-newyork.com) home décor; About Glamour (103 N. 3rd St.; tel. 718/599-3044; www.aboutglamour.net) clothing & design; Artists & Fleas (129 N. 6th St.; www.artistsandfleas.com) indoor flea market; Fitzgerald Jewelry (174 N. 11th St.; tel. 718/387-6200; www.fitzgeraldjewelry.com) unique baubles; Mine Metal Art (177 Grand St.; tel. 718/963-1184; www.minemetalart.com) metalwork & furniture; Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers (218 Bedford Ave.; tel. 718/387-7322; www.spoonbillbooks.com) art and design books.
After gallery hopping and shopping, you might want to relax over a coffee, a nice glass of wine or a beer.
Cafés: Atlas Café (116 Havemeyer St.; tel. 718/782-7470); Blackbird Parlour (197 Bedford Ave.; tel. 718/599-2707); The Rabbithole (352 Bedford Ave.; tel. 718/782-0910).
Bars: Cornishon (251 Grand St.; tel. 718/599-3840; www.cafecornichon.com) French wine bar; D.O.C. Wine Bar (83 N. 7th St.; tel. 718/963-1925) Italian; Hotel Delmano (82 Berry St.; tel. 718/387-1945) hip hangout; Radegast Hall (113 N. 3rd St.; tel. 718/963-3973; www.radegasthall.com) German beer garden; Spuyten Duyvil (359 Metropolitan Ave.; tel. 718/963-4140; www.spuytenduyvilnyc.com) beer and jukebox.
A Little Night Music
As night falls, you can find all kinds of entertainment in Williamsburg from dive bar bands to rock venues to Brazilian bossa nova. Metromix (www.newyork.metromix.com) has good music listings.
Music Venues: Glasslands Gallery (289 Kent Ave.; tel. 718/599-1450; www.glasslands.com) indie bands; Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave; tel. 347/529-6696; www.knittingfactory.com) rock, pop and punk; Miss Favela (7 S. 5th St.; tel. 718/230-4040; www.missfavela.com) Brazilian, live concerts better than the food; Music Hall of Williamsburg (66 N. 6th St.; www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com) alternative, indie, rock; Rose Live Music (345 Grand St.; tel. 718/599-0069; www.liveatrose.com) soul, funk, Latin; Spike Hill (184 Bedford Ave.; tel. 718/218-9737; www.spikehill.com) bar bands, indie, Irish, open mike; Zebulon (258 Wythe Ave.; tel. 718/218-6934; www.zebuloncafeconcert.com) jazz and world music.
This is just to get you started. For more general information, check out Brooklyn Tourism (tel. 718/802-3846; www.visitbrooklyn.org) and BrooklynNow Guide (www.brooklynnow.com/brooklynnow/willpoint).
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