Williamsburg's an interesting and popular Brooklyn neighborhood, and well worth exploring. And half the fun of exploring Williamsburg is eating and drinking there.
If you find yourself in heart of the "action" on Bedford Avenue — that is, near the "L" line Bedford Avenue subway stop — where can you have a good snack, cup of coffee, artisinal pastry or other refreshing yummy?
Here are 8 great places to meet friends, have a rest, or sit and plot your next steps when exploring Williamsburg. All are within a half-dozen blocks of the Bedford Avenue subway, which is the first stop in Brooklyn, en route from Manhattan.
01 of 06
Saltie is tiny. And it plays with a nautical theme. Their sandwiches have breezy names like "Captain's Daughter," "Ships Biscuit," "Clean Slate" and "Romaine Dinghy." But don't be fooled. The food here is top notch, and the chefs aren't lackluster landlubbers. They've navigated more than one Williamsburg restaurant to acclaim and success.
02 of 06
This adorable cafe specializes in baked-on-the-premises items, each lovingly and thoughtfully prepared. Grab a chair at one of the few munchkin-sized tables on the sidewalk (although it's traffic-y during weekday mornings)or rub elbows with your neighbors inside. Favorites: muffin of zucchini and blueberry, a feta parsley roll, a savory tart, fresh baguette tartine with tomato, egg and butter. The portions are not huge, but the flavors are, and they somehow remind you of home.
03 of 06
Bi-coastal types may already be familiar with this elegant, West Coast style coffee shop. But New Yorkers in a rush may have a cow waiting for their cup of java; Blue Bottle is the anti-hurried cafe, the antithesis of coffee-on-the-run.
So Zen out, and enjoy the vibe. The ambiance stylishly marries antique and modern.
And, there's a little back-story to the building. The cafe is housed in a renovated 1910 brick building. In the course of its hundred-year history it was the site of the kind of industrial manufacturing that characterized Williamsburg of yesteryear. The hardscrabble immigrants who worked in the building included glass blowers, metal smiths, barrel makers, and rope makers. Fittingly, the coffee you'll drink is roasted on site, making this not just any old cafe, but a "coffee roastery."
The coffee itself is strong and flavorful: think the opposite of instant brew.
04 of 06
05 of 06
You may know this mini-chain cafe from its other locations around New York City and also in Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. Nosh on pies and cookies or kimchie slaw and veggie buns, pastrami and rye pockets or banana curry bread. People come from afar for the soft serve and other super sweet specialties.
06 of 06
Last but not least. Reynards is a tad pricey but worth it for the people-watching and sense of luxury, which is harder to come by than you might expect in Williamsburg.
This restaurant is located on the street level of the Whythe Hotel. You can get a pricey cup of coffee or light meal, watch the locals have power meetings and observe tourists figuring out where to go next. It's a place local residents might bring their parents. Very close to Brooklyn Brewery and also Brooklyn Bowl.