After a trek across the Brooklyn Bridge, you'll want to check out these excellent bars and restaurants on both sides.
So you know you’re supposed to visit the Brooklyn Bridge while visiting New York City. (You do. You really do.) It’s an architectural marvel, an easy ramble, and brimming with lovely views. But if you’re going to be spending half an hour or more walking over it, you’re likely to be peckish at some point. So here are five favorites—from cheap eats to fine dining—on both ends of the bridge.
The Manhattan Side
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
You’re close to one of New York City’s several excellent Chinatowns, so take advantage of it. Nom Wah, which has been hawking almond cookies, dumplings, and dim sum for almost a century, is popular with tourists and locals alike for good reason. Tuck into a few snacks at one of the sweet red booths, then continue on a dumpling and noodle crawl.
Fancying something...fancier? Little Park, with a locally focused menu from renowned local chef Andrew Carmellini, is a smart stop for a quick bite at the bar or a proper sit-down meal. At breakfast, look for brûléed grapefruit with ginger and sugar. Come dinner, order a vegetable dish; chef de cuisine Min Kong has a way with veggies, and beet tartare was the highlight of a recent meal.
The Dead Rabbit
All that walking sure can make a body thirsty. Head to Dead Rabbit, where armchair historian and barkeep Jack McGarry can school you in the history of flips, follies, nogs, and crustas—and make you one heck of a drink, to boot. (Pro tip: Go during off hours, and head upstairs; downstairs is nuts when work lets out downtown.)
New York’s Chinese food is among the best in the nation, so you should try to eat some while you’re in town. If noodles are more to your liking than dim sum, head to Sheng Wang, where tender knife-cut noodles spun with bok choy, mutton, spare ribs, or duck and tossed into soup are the thing to order.
Prince Street Pizza
Housed in the sort of frills-free, stools-only cupboard of a shop so typical of New York pizzerias, Prince Street is easily overlooked. A longer walk from the foot of the bridge, it’s worth it for the Spicy Spring—a fat square slice covered with what one pizza aficionado has lauded as “crisp little grease-filled chalices of awesome pepperoni.”
The Brooklyn Side
Jacques Torres Chocolate
There’s a lot of good ice cream on this side of the water—from an Ample Hills outpost to a roving Blue Marble cart—but we’re still partial to the spicy chocolate ice cream from Jacques Torres in DUMBO. If you’re lucky, the chocolate shop will have it in its (divine) sandwich form.
Vinegar Hill House
Thoroughly charming, with a sprawling backyard and a sort of urban farmhouse vibe, this is the place to go when you’re not ravenous—it gets jumping—and could be happy with killer chicken liver mousse, a glass of sparkling wine, or a perfect roast chicken.
Good news: You’re close to the Shake Shack and its famous cheeseburger, and it’s walkable from the foot of the bridge. Better news: Its line is nothing like the Madison Square Park location!
The River Café
With floor-to-ceiling windows lining the river side, the River Café has been a hotspot for ages. You’ll need a jacket, gents, and proper footwear, but if you do it right, you can sneak in for a cocktail at the bar on a whim without a reservation. A manager suggests calling first to make sure there’s room, and that walk-ins can typically snag a drink around 5:30 or 10 p.m.
Henry Street Ale House
It’s been a long day. Take a load off. An unpretentious tavern tucked away on one of Brooklyn Heights’s many pretty streets, this is an ideal place for a pint. With its stamped tin walls and an antique belt-driven ceiling fan, it’s also an authentic piece of Old Brooklyn—hard to come by nowadays.
Alex Van Buren is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @alexvanburen.