’Tis the season to find oneself in Red Hook, the mysterious neighborhood where no subway goes. Whether by bus, car or bike, though, it is always worth the trek for those who don’t live nearby. This schlep comes with numerous rewards—from whiskey tasting rooms to chocolate factories to barbecue and much, much more. The somewhat restrictive access keeps a lot of Red Hook alive with some old Brooklyn energy, free from pretensions, making it a perfect summer staycation spot.
Ample Hills Ice Cream
421 Van Brunt St.
This is the biggest of the ice cream shops from this Brooklyn classic, where all the flavors one has come to love are available in an array of fun cones.
59 Van Brunt St.
So famous for their cakes that this local shop now has a location in Tokyo, this bakery offers stunning slices, brownies, pies, cookies and all the classic American treats—done really, really well.
24 Reed St.
A three-level seafood “shack” with a great view of the water and even better deals on oysters.
Brooklyn Ice House
318 Van Brunt St.
A classic bar with food—what some might call a “tavern”—with a long beer list and a big patio for outdoor drinking.
218 Conover St.
The excellent Cacao Prieto chocolate Brooklyn is made in this space, which creates bars from single-origin Dominican cacao. They also distill, making the brilliant Widow Jane whiskey and gorgeous cacao rums.
Court Street Grocers Hero Shop
116 Sullivan St.
Dine on new-New York classic Court Grocers sandwiches while strolling the path by the water. It’s a grab-and-go spot perfect for picking up picnic supplies.
365 Van Brunt St.
Open all day, from Irish coffee to whiskey on the rocks, and offering really well-done diner-type food with occasional Latin flair. Go on Thursdays, when it turns into a tiki bar called Sunken Harbor Club.
The Good Fork
391 Van Brunt St.
New American seasonal food served at chef Sohui Kim’s spot, which has a back garden.
454 Van Brunt St.
There is nothing here for vegans, which is to be expected, but omnivores and vegetarians alike can delight in the excellence of the mains and sides, or just have a good bourbon drink at the bar. Weekdays are optimal for getting in and having a less-crowded experience.
64 Seabring St.
Some of the best chocolate in the world is made in Red Hook by these folks who offer an incredible amount of transparency around their supply chain and production methods, in which the cacao goes unroasted for a really intense experience of the terroir. But they also have a lot of fun with their flavors and have a new one every month, making it a great place to pop in to regularly.
Red Hook Lobster Pound
284 Van Brunt St.
It’s a picnic-style dining room at this spot, which opened in 2009, serving lobsters straight from Maine. The success has continued on for a decade now.
253 Conover St.
A classic dive that’s been around since the 1890s, placing it among the oldest watering holes in the city. Threats of its demise are constant in this ever-changing city, so stop in while you can.
Van Brunt Stillhouse
6 Bay St.
Extremely good local whiskey that sources its wheat, rye and corn from upstate farmers. The tasting room offers a full bar experience, where guests can also taste from their roster of expressions.