Ever since it opened in September of 2012, Barclays Center has becomes Brooklyn’s hub for sports and entertainment. Its location makes it tremendously easy to travel to from anywhere in Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Long Island. All the food in the arena is locally sourced from Brooklyn, with every concession stand coming from a recognized Brooklyn establishment. With tickets to NBA games easier to come by than at Madison Square Garden, Brooklyn Nets games at Barclays Center are an enjoyable way to take in some basketball.
Tickets & Seating Areas
The Nets made a big splurge when they debuted at Barclays Center, but the original excitement has calmed down after mixed results. That works out well when looking for tickets as there are plenty of good seats available on the primary market. The Nets vary their ticket price based on the opponent, so be prepared to pay higher prices when teams like the Cavaliers and Clippers come to town. Prices spike even more when the rival Knicks cross the East River regardless of how well they’re playing. You can buy tickets online at Ticketmaster, via the phone, or at Barclays Center box office.
As for where to sit when you go, basketball is a sport best seen in the Lower Level. Thankfully you can pick up seats in the Lower Level on the primary market. Seats within four rows of the court are part of the Calvin Klein Courtside Club, which offers in-seat service and all-you-can-eat in the designated Club area. Barclays Center offers All-Access passes with their season tickets in the sideline area of the Lower Level and sections 15-17, so check if your tickets include that benefit when you buy them on the secondary market.
The design of Barclays Center offers more Lower Level seats than some other arenas as they’ve pushed the Suite Level a little higher up. You should be happy regardless of where you sit in Lower Level.
The design of Barclays Center’s Upper Level is steeper than most arenas, which will bring you closer to the action. You might feel like you’re going to fall over as you’re walking through the aisle to your seat, but you’ll be spending most of your time enjoying the view from your seat. Just know that leg room is a little tight because of the steep angle. The key is to spend the extra money and sit in one of the first few rows. The view gets exponentially worse the higher up you get. Try to avoid the corner sections as your view of the court may be slightly obstructed.
Getting to Barclays Center is extremely easy since it’s located right next to the main public transportation hub in Brooklyn. As you’d expect, most people take public transportation to get there with subway lines running directly to the Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center stop. The 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, and R subway lines all stop there, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. In case that’s not enough, the C & G lines stop a few blocks away. Some may choose to take the bus with there being plenty of options between the B25, B26, B38, B41, B52, B63, B65, B103 all stopping at or near Barclays Center.
There’s also the Long Island Railroad if you’re coming in from that area. Trains run rather regularly to the Atlantic Avenue Station from Jamaica Station in Queens, where all Long Island Railroad trains connect at some point.
Of course there’s always a taxi or Uber if you’re running late. Maybe you’ll even walk if it’s a nice day outside.
Pregame & Postgame Fun
Given that Barclays Center is located in the busy Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, there are plenty of places to go for food before the game. Brooklyn is the home of pizza and there are two really good places within a short distance of Barclays Center. Franny’s is the most well-known joint in the area, serving up their famous clam pie along with other tasty varieties. Emily, in the neighboring area of Clinton Hill, makes their fresh mozzarella every afternoon and their namesake white pie combines honey with crushed pistachios.
There’s also Brooklyn’s new obsession of barbecue close by. Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue may be a little further than you planned on going, but their ribs and brisket is worth the slightly longer journey. Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue is closer to Barclays Center, but you’ll think you’re in Austin,Texas since owner John Avila learned his craft at that city’s legendary Franklin Barbecue. Although not a barbecue joint you won’t complain about the ribs at Top Chef Dale Talde’s Pork Slope. You’ll probably enjoy the cheeseburger even more.
I’d be remiss to not mention Bark, known to have the best hot dog in the area. Finally there’s local Mexican legend Calexico, which is not only close to the arena, but also serves up food inside of it. (We’ll get to that right now…)
There’s also a bunch of local watering holes to keep you satisfied. Cherry Tree is a low-key spot with a patio in the back to enjoy a drink in nice weather and the pizza is surprisingly good. Across the street at Fourth Avenue Pub, you’ll find another patio to enjoy some craft beers. Pacific Standard is a few steps down the street and offers a relaxed atmosphere and microbrews. If a German beerhall is more your thing, then both Die Koelner Bierhalle and Der Schwarze Kölner has you covered with all the Hoffbrau you can handle.
Weather Up allows you to enjoy a high-end cocktail before the game. Finally, we can’t move on without mentioning the best sports bar in the area. 200 Fifth has possibly the best TV situation of any sports bar in New York City, let alone Brooklyn.
At the Game
Barclays Center was insistent on being Brooklyn to the core and that’s why all the concessions inside the arena have Brookyln ties. Since sporting events and hot dogs are tied at the hip, you won’t be surprised that legendary Nathan’s from Coney Island outfits the arena with its product. You can do better than hot dogs, however, because the local favorites are everywhere. Calexico’s nachos are a must since they take sports facility nachos to a new level. The brisket mac n’ cheese at Fatty Cue BBQ is another nice way to get your eating started.
Williamsburg Pizza moved into Barclays Center in 2014 and sets a firm standard for what pizza at a sporting event should taste like. Those looking for sandwiches can grab a Cuban at Habana Outpost or anything meat related at Paisano’s Meat Market. And since you’re in Brooklyn, finish things off with a piece of cheesecake from Junior’s.
If you’re looking to add more style to your food experience, you can head into Barclays Center’s own 40/40 Club before the game for the all-you-can-eat buffet. It costs $65 a person and doesn’t include tax, tip, or alcohol, but you can get your money’s worth on the food. There are standard sports food items as well as a slider bar, a pasta bar, sushi, antipasti, meats, and numerous desserts to enjoy. Just make a reservation before going to the game to insure they have space for you.
Where to Stay
Hotel rooms in New York are as expensive as any city in the world, so don't expect to catch a break on pricing. They jump up a bit in the fall during football season, especially the closer you get to the holidays. If you’re coming in from out of town, you’ll probably want to enjoy Manhattan and make the easy commute to Barclays Center for the game. There are numerous brand name hotels in and around Times Square, but you might be best served not staying in such a highly-trafficked location. You're not that bad off as long as you're within a subway ride that takes you near Atlantic Avenue. There are also some cheap hotels near Barclays Center and the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge not too far away.
Kayak can help you find the best hotel for your needs. Travelocity offers last minute deals if you're scrambling a few days before you attend the game. Alternatively you can look into renting an apartment via AirBNB or VRBO. People in Manhattan and Brooklyn always travel so apartment availability should be reasonably decent at any time of the year.