97 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
We recently stayed at the freshly-minted Hoxton in Williamsburg and were sorely tempted to play hooky from the office and work from the lobby instead. Communal tables, rich velvet sofas (nab a seat by the fire), dependable Wi-Fi, and floods of natural light make the space a freelancer’s dream. As for the guest rooms, they are labeled as ‘cozy’ or ‘roomy.’ But size really doesn’t matter when you can lie in an insanely comfortable bed piled with pillows and stare at the Manhattan skyline (while devouring the chia puddings delivered every morning). An unexpected delight was the dining scene, the food at the Hoxton's two restaurants is absolutely top notch. You cannot go wrong with the blistered chicken, a bowl of ridiculously indulgent cacio e pepe, with a side of roasted cauliflower, eaten sprawled out in the plush, textural lobby with a friend as we did—made better only by a few glasses of Beaujolais. We also love to frequent the other, equally thoughtful and beautifully turned-out Hoxton properties in London, Amsterdam, Paris, and, most recently Portland.
69 Grand St., Williamsburg
A massive roaster occupies the front half of this vast Williamsburg café, adding an industrial vibe to this otherwise cheerful, sunlight-flooded brick space near the East River. Arrive early to snag a seat (this is freelancer HQ for the surrounding blocks, and tables go quickly), but once you’re in, there’s strong Wi-Fi and stronger coffee. We especially appreciate the daily newspapers and magazines available for catching up on the news the old-school way.
894 Broadway, Bed-Stuy
Whether you’re looking for a place to buy flowers, sip coffee, or enjoy a cocktail and dance to a live DJ set, you can find it all under one roof in Brooklyn. Cafe Erzulie—named after the Haitian Voodoo goddess of love, beauty, and dance—is a lush indoor-outdoor tropical cafe. A flower shop by day, it seamlessly transforms into an intimate cocktail bar at night. On Thursdays, there's live Caribbean jazz set under strings of lights in their outdoor space, and on the weekends, the dance floor opens up for some of Brooklyn's best up-and-coming DJ’s. Don’t leave without trying the green tempeh sandwich, and for a drink, the summer sorrel
The Williamsburg Hotel
96 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
The rooms all have floor-to-ceiling windows—the best of which come with private balconies and views of the Manhattan skyline.
150 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
A tiny café in the heart of Williamsburg, Bakeri is one of the original neighborhood hangouts in this ever-evolving slice of Brooklyn. All of the bread and pastries are made in-house, but locals also swear by the breakfast items, like organic eggs Provençal, baked in tomato sauce and served with a side of sourdough rye, and the lunch salads, like grapefruit avocado with kale, red onion, fennel, pepitas, and sea salt. Most people take their food to go, but the main dining room is small, cozy, and highly recommended in winter, while the backyard is a shady, cool escape in the middle of hot, humid NYC summers. There are also outposts in Greenpoint and the East Village in Manhattan.
232 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
Australian cafés have been popping up all over Manhattan in the past several years (Two Hands and Ruby’s being two of our favorites). Now Brooklyn is getting a few of its own—including Sweatshop, which was opened on a busy stretch of Williamsburg’s Metropolitan Avenue in 2014 by Melbourne natives Luke Woodard and Ryan De Remer. The menu is full of Aussie classics (including a killer flat white and Vegemite-enhanced sandwiches), and their version of avocado toast is done with chunks of ripe avocado mixed with feta, citrus, and herb oil on a thick slab of sourdough, topped with flaky sea salt and chili flakes.
150 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
A tiny café in the heart of Williamsburg, Bakeri is one of the original neighborhood hangouts in this ever-evolving slice of Brooklyn. All of the bread and pastries are made in-house, but locals also swear by the breakfast items, like organic Eggs Provencal, baked in tomato sauce and served with a side of sourdough rye, and the lunch salads, like grapefruit avocado with kale, red onion, fennel, pepitas, and sea salt. Most people take their food to go, but the main dining room is small, cozy, and highly recommended in winter, while the backyard is a shady, cool escape in the middle of hot, humid NYC summers. There are also outposts in Greenpoint and the East Village in Manhattan.
348 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights
Fausto had big shoes to fill when it opened on a busy block of Flatbush Avenue in Park Slope last year. The space was formerly occupied by Franny’s, a much-loved neighborhood pizza place that had been a staple of the area for almost fifteen years. Luckily, Fausto was equal to the task. It quickly became a new favorite, thanks to chef Erin Shambura’s house-made pastas (like buckwheat rigatoni with shiitake mushrooms, dandelion greens, and Parmesan), and a clean-lined, sophisticated mid-century modern dining room. The wine list is as close to flawless as a wine list can be—which makes sense given that it was conceived by sommelier (and co-owner), Joe Campanale, the restaurateur behind popular NYC Italian spots Dell’Anima and Anfora.
Pier 6, Brooklyn
When Grand Banks opened on a 142-foot wooden sailing ship on the Hudson River in 2014, it became an instant warm-weather hit, as much for the novelty factor as for the oysters and lobster rolls. Last summer, the same team (brothers Alex and Miles Pincus) brought their concept to Brooklyn, on a 140-foot 1924 schooner docked just off Brooklyn Bridge Park, with views of the famous bridge and all Lower Manhattan. Like its sister ship across town, Pilot offers everything you’d expect: In addition to the oysters and the lobster roll, there is a softshell crab po’boy, a tomato and watermelon salad, and a big selection of refreshing cocktails. Try the Life at Sea, a house cocktail of vodka and bitter lemon syrup.
Treatment by Lanshin
129 Roebling St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Many of the treatments here call on the power of Chinese medicine to heal, energize, and enhance skin. Founder, acupuncturist, and herbalist Sandra Lanshin Chiu uses gua sha—an ancient Chinese medical massage technique that incorporates a jade skin-care tool to relieve tension, support circulation, and flush out toxins for a brighter, smoother complexion—in many of her treatments. The Acne Rehab is one of her most impressive: The aesthetician uses botanicals, gua sha, and facial cupping to break up stagnation in the underlying tissues and restore balance. (Chiu emphasizes that fantastic skin happens from the inside out—but that it’s also important to pamper the skin’s surface.) And we keep coming back for the cozy cups of licorice root tea, prized in Chinese medicine for its calming effects.
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