After more than 16 years in Williamsburg, bookseller Spoonbill & Sugartown is opening a second store in not-so-distant East Williamsburg. The new location, in the front half of the Montrose Avenue storefront currently used as the bookstore’s warehouse and office space, will be open Friday through Sunday, starting today.
If Allen Ginsberg were still croaking around today, he would’ve just celebrated his 90th birthday. I can see it now– the old man and his expansive beard, its gnarls wafting gently at the rims of coke-bottle glasses. He’d invariably be rocking sandals (whatever to the people locking eye-to-fungi) while boy servants fan him with palm leaves, gently though, so he can still roll those double-sized fatty spliff-spliffs from pages ripped out of On the Road and intermittently flash people from underneath his dashiki. Inevitably, James Franco would be VJing a Howl ft. Grimes remix and everything, everything would be lost.
Behind an old-school bodega-like awning Josh Ku and Trigg Brown are putting the finishing touches on Win Son, their brand new Taiwanese-American restaurant, officially opening on Thursday. The place has an unassuming facade (I almost walked right past it, actually), but is home to a relatively spacious neighborhood eatery awash in natural light. Win Son lies somewhere between upscale and approachable, but with an angle on one Asian cuisine that’s surprising enough to turn all sorts of heads.
If you had to spend a day stopping in at every shop in Brooklyn that hawks bespoke menswear, by sunset you’d need a very tall glass of whiskey indeed. Custom, handmade shoes, on the other hand, are a tradition that’s relatively hard to find around these yrts, even as a hipster revivalist thing.
That probably explains why Eric Pitzer– a guy who back in 2010 ditched his unfulfilling corporate day job in Ohio and ran away to Santiago, Chile (a place he’d never been before) to work in a tire factory– felt like he had come across something really special when he met Jaime Cardemil. “Here, shoemaking is kind of a lost thing,” Pitzer said.
East Villagers have a new place to score rainbow-sprinkle cream cheese for when they just can’t with the lines at Tompkins Square Bagels. Newcomer Bagel Belly opened Saturday and serves what are touted as “freshly baked, hand rolled, kettle boiled organic bagels and handcrafted cream cheese” alongside a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, panini, and wraps. The menu (below) claims the bakers get up at 4 a.m. every morning to do their thing.
Metrograph officially joined the ranks of New York’s great independent cinemas when it opened its doors to a line of eager filmgoers today. With a decor that coyly mixes throwbacks to glamorous Old Hollywood with the industrial chic favored by today’s L-train types, the theater’s small team and highly curated programming will likely please both the cinephile who feels that French New Wave just isn’t getting enough attention these days, and those who simply want a chance to finally watch The Blob in 35mm.
Bar Omar, a new addition to Williamsburg’s bubbling culinary landscape, is a French-Algerian restaurant that forgoes the stereotypical Moroccan-style lamps and ornamental plates in favor of what co-owner Yasmina Guerda says is a “Brooklyn aesthetic”: natural wood paneling, a well-stocked, speakeasy-type bar, and a window-paneled front looking out onto Grand Street.
It was one of the last vestiges of a bygone Williamsburg– a grungy, cavernous little coffee shop with worn-down wood floors and a lifetime of coffee grounds seemingly plastered onto every surface. Verb Cafe, which opened in 1999, was nothing fancy– no one went there to get a pour-over or fawn over bespoke beans with tasting notes. But when the place closed in June 2014, there was more than a bit of sadness (which was compounded when life imitated every joke ever told about Brooklyn hipsters and the coffee shop was replaced by an artisanal soap boutique with handmade, organic cupcake soap).
You’re going to have to suck in and ruffle a few feathers to squeeze into this tiny new wine bar-resto — Ruffian‘s space is snug. But if you manage to snag a seat at the bar without elbowing someone, you can breathe a sigh of relief– and, while you’re at it, breathe in the garlic sizzling on the stove in front of you.
It’s not like we need more pizza in North Brooklyn, we’ll admit that. We’ve got a healthy mix (well, at least we like to tell ourselves that pizza is healthy), what with an incredible slice crew that counts Best Pizza, Motorino, and Roberta’s amongst its ranks. But the Greenpoint / North Williamsburg area is a different story– go much farther north than McCarren Park, and you’ll find yourself in something of a Neapolitan pizza desert.