97 Wythe Ave., Williamsburg
We recently stayed at the new 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 and 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—the most recent addition—Portland.
1434 Dekalb Ave., Bushwick
In this part of Bushwick, Dweebs (on the corner of Dekalb and Wilson) acts as the neighborhood’s communal office, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a small, flower-filled patio to draw in the area’s creative minds. There are outlets everywhere and a printer that actually works. And as any local will tell you: The bagels and coffee are the best you’ll find off the Jefferson L train stop. Photo courtesy of Bridget Kenny.
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.
402 Atlantic Ave., Boerum Hill
Designed by Australian potter Shelley Simpson and handmade in her Sydney studio, Mud Australia’s products are distinguished by their unique finish. Simpson only glazes the interior of her pieces, so the bottoms of the bowls and plates maintain a raw texture that actually becomes softer over time as they’re handled day-to-day. Despite their unique textural qualities, each piece is built for everyday use—everything is microwave-, dishwasher-, and oven-safe. You'll also find the full range at the Mud Australia Store x ABC Home on Broadway.
894 Broadway, Bedford-Stuyvesant
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
632 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Two locations strong—the original is in Fort Greene and the second outpost is in Prospect Lefferts Gardens—Greenlight is one of NYC’s few remaining quality indie bookstores. You can order books online and have them shipped to you (anywhere in the US) or do a pickup in store. The First Editions Club makes a nice gift; it’s a subscription service that gets a friend (or yourself) a new, autographed book each month. It costs a penny, plus the price of the book for each month you stay in the program. If you’re local and a big reader, check out the stellar lineup of readings or Greenlight’s monthly book group nights, broken down by genre: nonfiction, fiction, young readers, and romance.
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.
Bellocq Tea Atelier
104 West St., Greenpoint
An industrial swath of Greenpoint isn’t the first place you’d think to find this charming curiosity shop dedicated to specialty teas, but the hidden, unexpected location is part of the fun (ring the doorbell for entry). Once inside, you’ll find a quiet retreat, with plants hanging from the ceiling and large canisters lining the purple-painted walls, filled with whole-leaf organic teas from everywhere far away: China, Japan, India, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Malawi. The staff is passionate and knowledgeable about any tea-related question, and aside from tea itself, there are a handful of accessories for sale—sticks of Japanese sandalwood incense, Bellocq’s own line of candles inspired by various tea blends, and all thing tea-related.
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.
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