You wouldn’t know it now, but Bushwick (together with Greenpoint and Williamsburg) was originally a Dutch farming town. These days, Bushwick is a haven for artists who flock there for the cheap studios in old warehouses and DIY culture. But even Bushwick is growing up and–dare we say–gentrifying. We won’t argue the pros and cons of what this means for the neighborhood’s future. Rather, we aim to highlight some of Bushwick’s best spots to eat, drink, read, shop and hang out.
The largest concentration of street art is located on and around Troutman Street, just around the corner from the Jefferson Avenue L station. Bushwick native Joe Ficalora is the curator of the Bushwick Collective, which he created in order to metaphorically paint over the painful memories of growing up here. The murals, which range in style and scale, line several block’s worth of buildings. Among the artists are Icy & Sot, Buff Monster, Concrete Jungle, Danielle Mastrion, The Yok, Fumero and many more.
We previously rounded up informal neighborhood libraries in Paris, London and NYC and Mellow Pages is another one. Mellow Pages has over 3,000 titles, including many independently published or limited run books and zines. They’re open every day from 12-7pm and anyone can hang out. You can become a member with borrowing privileges by donating ten books. They host readings and other events almost nightly. Mellow Pages is currently soliciting donations via Indiegogo.
Opened in June, AP Café brings a sleek, minimal esthetic and donuts by Dough to Troutman Street. The menu includes Horchata, Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee in addition to the standard coffees and teas. This place has a very zen vibe, with interior and exterior waterfalls, stone benches and fresh flowers. There’s free wifi and the staff will let you sit for as long as you want.
Owl Juice Pub is another great spot where you can sit and work for hours at a time. If you prefer freshly blended juices that combine veggies like kale and spinach with pineapples and bananas over coffee, come here. The interior is cozy and full of vintage furniture. And apparently Ben Stiller loves Owl Juice Pub too.
We love the warm, detail-oriented interior of this recently opened restaurant on Troutman Street. Self-described as “a contemporary Brooklyn pub housed in an industrial space,” the Rookery has British and West Indian influences in both its decor and its menu. This is the only place we know where you can find veggie samosa burgers and curried goat shepherd’s pie. They also have some creative cocktails, like the Blackwatch, which is made with Johnny Walkers Black, Becherovka (the Czech liquor that tastes like Christmas), Sweet Vermouth, Crème de Cassis and Bitters.
With all the artists and writers in the neighborhood, Bushwick needed a place that specializes in craft beer, and The Sampler fills that hole. Pop in to try one of the beers on tap, fill up a growler or grab a rare bottle off the shelves. They stock over two hundred kinds of beer so you can pretty much find whatever you want.
If you’ve gotten used to Williamsburg vintage clothing prices, this shop is quite a nice surprise. We found skirts and dresses for $5, fake fur coats for $30, shoes, bags, belts, and lots and lots of plaid. The place is huge, so come ready to look around and hunt for bargains.