If you want to get a true taste of “brownstone Brooklyn,” take the quick ride from downtown Manhattan to the tree-lined neighborhood of Cobble Hill, where you’ll find historic 19th-century town houses, excellent boutique shopping and some of the best food the city has to offer. Cobble Hill is a walkable square mile, a mix of quaint, low-rise residential buildings and small businesses, although chains like Lululemon Athletica and J. Crew—and the Wall Street types they cater to—have recently been snapping up real estate.
Where to Eat
Once hailed as Brooklyn’s Restaurant Row, Smith Street, which runs through Cobble Hill in addition to Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens, is still a veritable buffet of cuisines from around the world.
Battersby, which serves American and European food, offers a $75 five-course tasting menu that usually lasts at least two hours.
At Wilma Jean, you will enjoy a friendly, casual atmosphere for Southern cooking, with a website that boasts, “fried chicken, cold beer, seven days a week.” Now, how can anyone resist something that simple and good?
If an Asian tilt is more to your liking, though, you might want to stop in at Red Star for some unusual sandwiches, among them crispy pork belly and curry cauliflower with roasted cashews and herb yogurt.
Where to Shop
Cobble Hill has a number of small, well-curated boutiques, gift shops and stores from recognizable brands, so it’s possible to blow your budget on this strip alone.
Article& is a chic women’s clothing boutique. Their promise to you: “Launched in response to the fashion needs of creative professionals, Article& is devoted to bringing you a tightly edited selection of unique, wearable, and affordable clothing and accessories by contemporary designers and independent labels from the U.S. and abroad.”
Dear Swallow is a funky gift shop selling artsy housewares and jewelry, crafted with precious and semi-precious stones.
For more fine custom-made and vintage jewelry, be sure to stop off at Elleven.
Finally, At Exit9, you will find everything from a Unicorn horn headband for your little girl to a Heloise wallet to hilarious oven mitts. Great giftable items!
Where to Drink
Time for a cocktail after all that shopping? You may want to stop in at Brooklyn’s popular Clover Club. With its ornate chandelier, lots of wood detailing and comfy leather sofas, this place will remind you of an intimate gentleman—or gentlelady—club.
At Leyenda, grab Latin American nibbles and drinks that, according to a recent article, “goes beyond tequila and mezcal to focus on the entire universe of Latin spirits.”
In keeping with that south-of-the-border state of mind, Bar San Miguel has Mexican plates and more than 200 tequilas and mescals, all in a colorful setting.
What to Do
Elsewhere, if your idea of a good time is a picnic, an entertaining reading or a night mingling with strangers, you won’t need to travel far to find your fun in Cobble Hill.
Brick walls and sleek, atmospheric lighting add to the appeal of Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore with frequent events featuring both well-known and up-and-coming authors—the place gets a little brighter for children’s events.
At Fawkner, an inviting bar with a fireplace, rustic couches and booths, you can enjoy comedy shows, trivia nights and live music.