In 2011 I lived in New York City for three months while I completed an internship at the United Nations, News and Media Division.
Before I went I was adamant that I absolutely must live in Manhattan. I think I had some weird prejudice against the outer boroughs that I inherited from watching too many episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Sex and the City’.
That was until I set myself up in a cute apartment in Greenwich Village only to find myself hopping on the L train every weekend to enjoy the more eclectic scene in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Hipsters rejoice, you have found the mother land!
While I highly recommend taking a stroll around Williamsburg and the Bedford Ave strip to explore the cafes, bars and vintage shopping stores, read on for a selection of places that you shouldn’t pass up:
Barcade (388 Union Avenue) is an arcade of old school video games accompanied by a bar of American craft beers and is basically: nerd heaven.
I never really got the hang of the coins in the USA so this was the perfect opportunity for me to offload the pennies that were amassing in my pockets. We spent a relaxing evening playing the likes of Ms Pacman, Tetris and Donkey Kong.
There can be lines of people in front of some of the more well known games so if you have your mind set on a particular one you should get there early or visit on a weeknight.
There are a few surf themed bars throughout Manhattan but none of them do it as well as the Brooklyn Surf Bar (139 North 6th Street). I think it’s the commitment to the theme that makes it stand out, I mean the entire bar is filled with sand and the walls are covered in surf boards, lights and other surf paraphernalia.
We were in it for the ambiance (tacky in a good way) and the cocktails (fruity and delicious) but word on the street is that it does a pretty mean seafood dish for a very decent price.
Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue) is an institution in Williamsburg. I still get the email reminders even though I haven’t been there for 2 years. So what exactly is it? Well it’s a 16 lane vintage bowling alley, a bar and a concert venue of course!
We saw a DJ set with Hot Chip but be sure to visit the Brooklyn Bowl website for upcoming performances because it’s a huge space and a great place to see a gig. Also if you do want to bowl be aware that you may have to book well in advance.
Vinnies Pizzeria (148 Bedford Ave) sell by the slice and as this isn’t really done in Australia I loved it immediately. Vinnies take it to a new level with the amount of toppings available and a heap of vegan and vegetarian options. One of our group was a vegan so Vinnies was a regular stop for a cheap eat before, during or after a visit to Williamsburg’s bars.
Beacon’s closet (88N 11th Street)
There are a couple of vintage stores scattered around the main strip but the mecca of all vintage stores is found at Beacon’s closet. Oh the hours we spent in there and the finds we had. Make sure you have a couple of hours to spare, it’s worth it to find some of the hidden gems.