I spy, with my little eye, a nondescript building with no visible signage. If I look a little harder, I can see a beam of neon light seeping out from under a graffiti covered door. Do I walk in? Is this place legal? Maybe it’s just not the kind of place for me. But my new years resolution was to try new things and if I die, at least I’ll have lived. Well here goes nothing….. If you’ve never walked through that door, then now is your chance. I’ve rounded up some of Brooklyn’s best secret bars, restaurants, and gardens to sate your curiosity. Some are underground, others tucked behind imitation storefronts, and some, like chameleons, are just hiding in plain sight. Let’s check them out:
Le Boudoir, Brooklyn Heights
If Marie Antoinette were a time traveler seeking refuge in modern day Brooklyn, this place would assuredly fit the bill. Come here to escape the masses who wish to behead you and stay for a classy cocktail or two. Lounge in a red velvet booth, gaze longingly at neoclassical nudes on the walls, and pretend you’re hiding out in a jazz-filled cavern for the night. To enter, make your way to Chez Moi, a french bistro on Atlantic Ave, find the bookshelf in the back and push.
Weather Up, Prospect Heights
From the outside you might think this bar was some kind of decommissioned public restroom, white tiling and all. And without a neon sign beckoning thirsty onlookers, many would assume the latter and keep on keepin’ on. But open the door and you’ll find yourself in a cozy candle-lit cocktail bar. Drinks are on the pricey side but the quality over quantity motto definitely applies here. And If you’re lucky enough to snag a table in the back garden, you can enjoy your libations under the night sky. Queue the Sade…
Cobble Hill Park, Cobble Hill
Often overshadowed by nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park, Cobble Hill Park gives off real Secret Garden vibes. Its off the beaten path location, historic surroundings, and quaint gardens make it all the more picturesque. It’s where I imagine a homesick English person would go to feel complete again. In the mood for a glass of wine and some tasty seafood? Pop into Saint Julivert, perfectly located on the park’s edge.
Mekelburg’s , Clinton Hill
On a quiet street in Clinton Hill, you’ll find Mekelburg’s. At first glance, it appears to be a fancy garden-level bodega. And while you can definitely pick up your fair share of imported cured meats and artisanal snacks, there also happens to be an inviting bar and patio tucked away in the back of the shop. With a wide selection of beer on tap and delicious sandwiches to boot, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t post up here for a round or two. Personal favorites include the Croque Meksieur, a delicious porchetta and gruyere combo and the N’ Orleans BBQ shrimp po’boy.
61 Franklin Street Garden , Greenpoint
This tiny community garden is nestled between two row houses on a quiet section of Franklin Street in Greenpoint Brooklyn. There’s always a welcoming sign out front and volunteers regularly host creative workshops. Past workshops include sustainable floral design, botanical illustration, and watercolor painting. Check out their online calendar and swing by on a lazy Summer afternoon to relax amongst the sunflowers and marigolds.
Mezcaleria La Milagrosa, Williamsburg
Why would you walk into a dirty laundromat on a whim? Unless you unexpectedly sharted your pants or saw a very enticing snack dangling from a vending machine spiral, you wouldn’t. That’s why it’s the perfect front for a hidden bar. If you see a guy with one of those gym-teacher clipboards lingering in a sparsely stocked laundromat/deili, you’ve reached the right place. After passing through a freezer door, you’ll find an intimate watering-hole serving up Mezcal cocktails to the eclectic sounds of an ever-growing record collection. Audiophiles and Mezcal fans will feel at home.
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BY CORY KENY
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