With the Brooklyn D.A. announcing that he’ll throw out low-level marijuana possession cases and the Times pumping out pro-legalization editorials, there’s just one question on your mind: where’s the nearest head shop?
It turns out that Brooklyn has woefully few such shops, but what it lacks in abundance it makes up for in personality. Brooklyn, amiright? Here are four of our faves. Their employees wouldn’t always let us photograph inside, but we’ve broken down each one so you know what you’re getting into.
Sunflower Glass Company
12 Wilson Ave., nr. Noll St., Bushwick; 347-406-7090
The Vibe: This hippie den is an old-school escape with a Berkley-circa-1969 vibe. The giant Putin painting is a little off-putting, but the store has nice touches. Some products are enclosed in antique wooden display cases, and others are spread out on little shag carpet cut-outs straight out of your grandma’s basement. Points for easy access, deductions for clutter.
The People: The best head shops greet you at the door; sometimes people are trepidatious and need to be coddled. I wasn’t greeted when I came in, but once she warmed up, the employee showed me around. Regulars came and went without much interaction.
The Goods: Sunflower has your standard selection of hand-blown glass pipes, one-hitters, dugouts, and metal pipes, ranging from $5 to $40. There was nothing show-stopping in the water pipe area, and prices were pretty standard, from around $30 on the small end to $200 on the big end. They have a huge selection of Raw rolling papers, and a case for vape, including pens and starter kits–all handheld devices like Micro G, and nothing big like Volcano. They don’t have a very good selection of grinders, FYI.
But the best part about this shop is the accessories. There’s a selection of rad antique ashtrays and lighters–great gifts or indulgences for yourself. They also tout their jewelry, like handmade Navajo sterling silver and turquoise necklaces. Not sure who goes into a head shop to buy a $500 necklace, but that’s an option here.
The Bottom Line: This is Bushwick’s head shop. There are plenty of basics for when you need something, and gifts for when you want something.
272 Grand St., nr. Roebling St., Williamsburg; 347-529-6702
The Vibe: This place is so New York it’s ridiculous. I mean, the name really says it all. Fugetaboutit sort of feels like a clean dive bar; “Turn Down for What” was blasting when I walked in (which was awesome, for the record). It’s a no-nonsense place, with no flashy displays or antique whatevers. Everything is enclosed in glass or mounted on the wall, and it’s well organized so that visibility is good.
The People: The guy behind the counter was happy enough to see me when I walked in, and definitely knew his shit when I started asking questions. Overall, he was warm and helpful.
The Goods: There are some cool custom glass pipes at the counter here, and novelties like sports teams and cartoon characters. Pipes run from $5 one-hitters to $60 hand-blown thick glass. There’s a wall full of colorful plastic water pipes, which is kind of frat-y, but I guess people still buy those after college. They have a big selection of glass water pipes, too; my personal favorite is the one shaped like a naked woman. Guess where the bowl sits! (Better yet, find the carb.) The vape selection is small, but they make up for it with a case full of grinders, and lots of scales, if you’re looking for one.
The Bottom Line: This is a solid, no-frills neighborhood spot. It might look intimidating, but that’s just because they’re focused on impressing you with their stock and service.
Master Piece Smoke
130 India St., nr. Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint; 718-389-6027
The Vibe: Walking in here is like tripping through time to the 1920s, when women lounged on cheetah chaises and puffed on slimline cigarette holders. The quaint store is tucked away in a residential neighborhood of brownstones, and the mood is appropriately low-key.
The People: All three employees here stopped what they were doing and ushered me into the store. It’s by far the best reception I’ve gotten at a head shop in Brooklyn.
The Goods: The focus of Master Piece is vape and hookah, but they have a glass case full of fun hand-blown glass pipes ranging from one-hitters to bubblers, all at reasonable prices. You might expect to pay more for basics here, given the style of the place, but that’s not the case. They carry Vector and Micro G vaporizers, and tons of vape cigarettes. And then there are the gifts: flasks, lighters, ash trays, knives, and, of course, Samurai swords. Because, duh.
The Bottom Line: Expect excellent service, but limited head shop basics. Come here if you’re looking to vape.
Grand Smoke Shop
176 Grand St., nr. Bedford Ave., Williamsburg; 646-299-9629
The Vibe: This is the mack daddy of all bodega-style head shops. Half of the store is dedicated to smoking, the other half to drinks and snacks. Well, that seems to make sense, doesn’t it?
The People: Don’t come to this smoke shop if you’re looking for customer service. The gentleman behind the counter was nice, but not helpful.
The Goods: Maybe it was the unassuming nature of the place that made the size and scope of their selection so impressive. Or maybe it’s just impressive. I counted over 50 water pipes and hundreds of small glass pipes. Prices are a little higher here than at other stores, but you pay for ease. There’s nothing flashy here, just tons and tons of basics, laid out well in tall glass cases. The thing that sets Grand Smoke apart is their selection of big vaporizers like Volcano; I’ve yet to visit to another shop that has a selection as good.
The Bottom Line: Come here because of the huge selection. Or, if you’re trepidatious about visiting a dedicated head shop, this a covert way to get what you need.