There is SO much going on in Gowanus right now. A magnet to millennials and creative types, this constantly evolving neighborhood is home to some fantastic bars, restaurants and stores, if you know where to find them. That makes Gowanus the perfect location to feature in this first edition of ‘On Your Doorstep’ where I’ll be taking a peek at new (and sometimes not so new) destinations you should be making it your business to seek out.
Dirty Precious is not shouting about its arrival on the Gowanus bar scene. In fact, it’s barely noticeable as you pass it on 3rd Avenue (between Carroll and 1st Street), save for its beautiful herring boned brass door. Step inside and you’ll experience a feminine and expansive space, with a bar created for the most discerning of drinkers. The space is the creation of ex-Breslin and Basik bartender Katipai Richardson-Wilson and partners Amy Cole and Shana Sandberg, who wanted news of Dirty Precious’ arrival to be spread through the neighborhood by satisfied customers rather than spoon fed through the media by a PR machine.
It seems to be working. Dirty Precious is becoming a popular fixture among Gowanus residents and is worth visiting alone for its delicious, inventive and humorously descriptive cocktail menu and its ‘one portion is never enough’ mac and cheese.
Since Freek’s Mill quietly arrived on the Gowanus restaurant scene last year, it’s been growing a stellar reputation for delicious food and great atmosphere. Inspired by a time when people knew not only where their food came from, but where it was processed, Freeks Mill source ingredients, whenever possible from ‘growers we know and love, who cultivate food based on taste and sustainable cultivation practices’. A New York Times Critics Pick, their imaginative repertoire of small plates (think roasted pork jowl with smashed cucumbers, cashews and cilantro, or sunchoke agnolotti, with hazelnuts, brown butter and sage), has customers singing the praises of this out-of-the-way gem. You’ll find it close to the Superfund site that inspired it: a block from the Gowanus Canal at 285 Nevins Street between Union and Sackett.
The Studio of Neil Powell
The Studio of Neil Powell colorfully burst onto the Gowanus art scene in April of last year and offers a wide and diverse range of artwork. Vibrant, witty and beautifully detailed sculptural mixed media pieces sit alongside bold, oversized paintings and papier-mache characters. Particularly striking are the graphic, sculptural pieces made from discarded, vintage book covers – a unique medium that Powell has made his own.
The space is a triple threat: Powell’s studio, graphic and interior design office and gallery in one. All the art on sale is made by Neil, although he occasionally collaborates with other artists for one-off shows at the space. And yes, I’m a little biased about his work. So shoot me.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you just need to know that on a cold and windy Brooklyn night, you’ve always got the option to drink margaritas and make like you’re shuffle boarding on a cruise ship 1950s style. No? Oh, must just be me then.
It’s not just me. Since opening 3 years ago, Royal Palms has brought shuffleboarding to a whole new level in its Union Street space. Who knew that Brooklyn’s 20 and 30 somethings needed shuffleboarding in their lives? It’s been a huge success and goes from strength to strength. Plus the drinks are killer.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Four and Twenty Blackbirds has been a Gowanus staple for a while now, after opening on 3rd Avenue and 8th Street in 2010. It deserves mentioning however, because THE PIE IS JUST SO GOOD. The bakery was founded by sisters Emily and Melissa Elsen, who grew up in South Dakota and learned all their pie making skills from their grandmother, Liz. Their Salted Caramel Apple and Black Bottom Oat pies are the best kind of comfort food you can find and their menu changes with the season.
With the publication of their cookbook in 2013, and mentions by everyone from the New York Times to Oprah their pies are here to stay.
And thank the Lord for that.
For more information on the Gowanus property market, contact me here.
Photo credits: Lindsay Owen, Dirty Precious, Freek’s Mill, Royal Palms and Four and Twenty Blackbirds.