Travel

Brooklyn

Establishment neighborhood
Café con Libros
724 Prospect Pl., Crown Heights
This bookstore-slash-café’s name sums up the kind of Saturday morning we all want: one filled with coffee and books. Settle in to this Crown Heights spot for a slow morning of too many cortados and a few chapters of something recommended by the store’s exceptional staff. The women behind Café con Libros run a stellar feminist book club that meets regularly (currently on Zoom), with an emphasis on titles that reflect an intersectional feminist viewpoint. They also host a monthly podcast, Black Feminist & Bookish, on which store founder Kalima DeSuze chats through the club’s current read with a community member and waxes lyrical about the many delights of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Tea
524 Nostrand Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
In this town, we feel like coffee culture is taken very seriously—layered notes this, caramel notes that—while the world of tea often takes a backseat. But tea has a deep complexity and global culture all its own. Alfonso Wright and Jamila McGill, the duo behind Brooklyn Tea, get it. Their tea room on Nostrand Avenue is the spot for a steaming pot of Japanese sencha or single-estate Assam. The owners are incredibly knowledgeable about tea farming and emphasize the importance of choosing loose-leaf over industrially produced bagged tea. (Tea bags are generally bleached, and the crushed, dusty tea leaves they contain are often of an inferior quality compared to whole, loose-leaf options). Trade your weekend coffee for tea and sip it among the tea connoisseurs that frequent this gem of a café.
Healhaus
1082 Fulton St., Clinton Hill
We found Healhaus via one of our Brooklyn-based staffers who can’t get enough of its wellness-forward programming. Founders Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle left corporate careers to found this much-needed, accessible, integrated space for healing. While the physical location is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Healhaus’s streaming offering is seriously robust. Check out workshops on breathwork for trauma and yoni care, plus Zoom vinyasa classes, de-stressing meditations, Reiki, and chakra clearing. Private sessions in energy healing, holistic medicine, doula support, and teletherapy are also available.
Brother Vellies
71 Franklin St., Greenpoint
We have long been obsessed with Brooklynite Aurora James’s personal style. While traveling around Nigeria, South Africa, and Morocco, James fell in love with the traditional shoes and sandals handmade by local artisans. Then when she was back home in Brooklyn, Brother Vellies was born (“Vellie” is local speak for veldskoene, South African leather walking shoes). Stepping across the threshold is like walking into another world: There are plants and greenery everywhere, speckled with insanely cool merch. Mexican huarache sandals, feathered pumps, Kenyan-made slides, and butter-soft knee-high boots mingle with embossed leather handbags and woven clutches. Each piece is crafted by artisans from across the globe. In a continued effort to both assemble a treasure trove of gorgeous things and support unique makers, James has introduced a new “something special” vertical on the Brother Vellies site. Expect Oaxacan mugs, the coziest ruffled socks, and…well, see for yourself.
Uva Wines & Spirits
237 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
Brooklynites, rejoice: Bedford Avenue’s Uva is offering free delivery of its extensive selection of wines and spirits to most of the borough, and it’s shipping throughout the state. When it’s open, it’s not unusual to spot a leading NYC restaurateur or a food writer you’re obsessed with browsing the shelves of this small spot alongside locals who know a lot about wine. What we’re saying is that Uva is a wine shop for wine lovers, to the point that it has an entire section devoted to rare and fine bottles. And there are tons of affordably priced, interesting-to-drink bottles, too. If you’re in a curious yet noncommittal mood, click on a $15 bottle of Chilean Cabernet Franc. If you want to splurge or try something entirely new, hit the natural wine section or go wild on unusual champagnes. Uva has it all, and the enthusiastic staffers are available to help.
Bed-Vyne Wine
385 Tompkins Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bed-Vyne Wine & Spirits is a collaboration from four wine and booze enthusiasts. Instead of sticking to the rubric and categorizing its inventory by region only, Bed-Vyne opts for accessibility and categorizes by taste. Do you like sweet? Dry? Earthy? Floral? Bed-Vyne has it all, and much of it is unusual. On the spirits end, the founders favor locally made and artisanal products and wine produced by Black-owned wineries, plus wines made under their own Bed-Vyne label. Order for local delivery via Drizly or download the custom app to scroll through the inventory and load up your cart.
Dandelion Wines
153 Franklin St., Greenpoint
Greenpoint’s Dandelion Wines, helmed by Lily Peachin, revels in sourcing the weirdest small-batch female-produced wines from around the globe. Pre-COVID, this hole-in-the-wall neighborhood store was a treasured spot to stop by, browse a few unusual-looking bottles, and have a couple of sips. Now that experience has gone virtual with online tastings and gorgeous curated six-packs of wine that change weekly. Order via the website (take a look around and pick up some accessibly written wine knowledge while you’re there) for delivery in the New York City area and shipping nationwide.
Beacon’s Closet
74 Guernsey St., Greenpoint
Ask any in-the-know New Yorker where you might score the best vintage in the city and you’ll likely get this answer: Beacon’s Closet. A goldmine of sorts, Carrie Peterson’s legendary consignment store has a little bit of everything—from au courant pieces by Proenza Schouler, Isabel Marant, and Acne to one-of-a-kind finds that walked straight out of 1970 (where do you think all those epic Hawaiian shirts Zoë Kravitz wears in High Fidelity came from?). Now with four locations (Greenpoint, Park Slope, Bushwick, and Greenwich Village), this vintage mecca continues to reign supreme. (Also see: the recent mass upcycling following the Kondo craze). Give yourself ample time to dig around—who knows what you might end up walking away with. Images courtesy of Carly Rabalais.
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