463 Court St., Carroll Gardens (above Frankie's Spuntino)
loot is a minimal-design-meets-maximum-inspiration museum, shop, and library of over 3,000 titles that kids can purchase or borrow. Loot also offers a monthly membership that lets kids borrow titles, plus take part in the shop’s art classes and workshops, all while meeting other kids who share their interests.
Denise Fasanello Flowers
203 Columbia St., Carroll Gardens
Denise Fasanello is a fine artist by trade, so it makes sense that her arrangements have a museum-worthy quality. She's particularly skilled in trimming arrangements with wildflowers and rustic elements, which creates a texture and volume that's as unexpected as it is beautiful.
457 Court St., Carroll Gardens
Whether you head to the Carroll Gardens original or the West Village outpost, you can expect a home-style Italian meal in a casual, neighborhood setting from Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo. We love their vegetable-centric offerings, house-made pasta, and hearty Meatball Parmigiana, which is pretty great for lunch.
361 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
While you won't walk out of Swallow with big case goods, you are likely to find something small and unusual, like a tiny brass bird or an opalescent vase. They also have really beautiful tabletop, from rough-hewn stone plates, to little salt cellars.
220 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
Owner and buyer Jen Mankins has built a bit of an empire out in Brooklyn, drawing Manhattanites out to shop in the process. Her eye is both quirky and cool, meaning that you’ll find a pretty irreverent (and bright) mix here, along with picks Alexander Wang, Zero + Maria Cornejo, and Tsumori Chisato. The racks for men are just as on point. She has three outposts in Brooklyn, including an outpost in Park Slope and Williamsburg.
249 Warren St., Carroll Gardens
Novels, travel guides, and history books are all jumbled together and categorized by country and region, rather than by author or subject matter at this travel-centric bookstore: The idea is that a book based in a particular place can be the perfect supplement to your trip. As an example, before heading to Istanbul, they suggest you read Orhan Pamuk’s memoir by the same name, to get a real feel for the city. For those prepping for a longer trip or a move, their language classes are a major plus, as they’re taught by native speakers. The original is in the the West Village.
Black Mountain Wine House
415 Union St., Carroll Gardens
This warmly-lit, cozy, wooden house offers an excellent selection of wines and a small menu of casual small plates. Brimming with charm, this is a great spot for a laid-back date or for meeting up for a drink (and then just never leaving).
Momofuku Milk Bar
360 Smith St., Carroll Gardens
While working at Momofuku in its early days, Christina Tosi—office manager at the time—started baking the occasional treat for the team; her insanely sweet, totally novel confections quickly took off. Soon, she had her own shop next door (and now many more all over NYC) where she and her staff crank out ridiculously complex layered cakes, the aptly named Compost cookies, and unusual soft-serve flavors—all simultaneously nostalgic and unlike anything you've ever tasted.
Blue Bottle Coffee
85 Dean St., Carroll Gardens
Blue Bottle is a top-notch coffee roaster and café with a sustainable ethos, in multiple locations throughout NYC. Our picks: The siphon filter and the New Orleans iced coffee. There's also a location in Williamsburg.
575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens
Arguably one of Brooklyn’s best pizza joints, you’ll find rustic, wooden tables surrounding a brick oven here, which is the perfect stage for the pie-throwing theatrics of chef Mark Iacono. Lucali doesn’t take reservations, so get there at around six to snag a table—the thin-crust pizzas and calzones are absolutely worth the wait.