The arena has become an indisputable fact for the area and new faces are getting familiar with Monday, October 15 marking the first time the Brooklyn Nets played their first preseason game at the center.
To those fresh faces coming up the escalators at Atlantic Terminal wondering what to do, where to eat and places to visit, you can ease your mind as there are great attractions and lots of things to make your time worthwhile.
Even if Flatbush Avenue is a part of Brooklyn you’ve never visited before, the following list of restaurants will help take the guess game out of your visit. You should eat and drink at the best restaurants and bars around Barclays Center.
To commemorate the new Barclays Center, we’ve put together a list 10 top-reviewed restaurants in and around the arena.
Around Barclays, the falafel war is no joke. In this corner, you have Chick P (490 Bergen Street), a solid contender with friendly service and great lemonade. In that corner, you have Kulushkät, of a similar size and with a similarly focused menu, but a stronger product.
Their spicy falafel sandwich is spicier than Chick P’s, and they serve well-seasoned fries (think Five Guys, but better). When you dine-in at the K, they let one crisp falafel pod chill on the plate, letting you try it solo or stuff it in after you’ve downed half the pita but need more reinforcements in the substance department.
There’s nothing worse than having a nice hunk of pita left, but no falafel. It’s little touches like this, that give Kulushkät the edge.
Whether you’re having a nice and slow meal in the restaurant, or have ducked into the Bar located next door, for a burger and a beer, Flatbush Farm will meet your needs during Barclays Center hysteria. Local and organic inform each dish on the menu, where the vegetarian fare impresses just as much as the meat dishes. The cocktails are solid, and the bar eats filling enough to get you through the night. The back patio, in warmer months, is a draw, too.
Even if Bark didn’t explain the path each item in your meal took to arrive in Brooklyn, you’d still leave this hot dog shop feeling just right, satisfied that you made the correct dining decision.
One of the most underrated things about Bark (and any restaurant serving greasy American food like hot dogs, burgers, fries, etc.) is the attention paid to portion. You can eat a dog and cheese fries at Bark without feeling like a fat ass afterward.
No food coma, no sluggishness. Though the bun is buttery and the toppings ample, you’ll feel great, ready to scream as the Nets win (or lose…).
The clean and sleek interiors of this grocer, coupled with the somewhat high price tags, might be a deterrent for someone glancing through the front window, but don’t dismiss BKLYN Larder as a snooty Park Slope establishment.
Well, it is that (at least a little), but it’s also damn delicious and impeccably stocked. Larder’s gelato (try the subtle but unforgettable mascarpone and honey) and the made-to-order sandwiches set the bar high for similar products being pushed in and around the Slope.
Ignore the imitators and proceed directly to BKLYN Larder.
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Address: 353 Flatbush Ave.
Order This: Six Point Sweet Action
A very fine wannabe dive, Sharlene’s is generally quiet and dimly lit. The jukebox contains real compact discs, and plays the requisite rockabilly, punk, and soul. It can become packed on the weekends and the bartenders are sometimes abrasive, but other than that, nothing to complain about.
Just a fine place to have a beer and a talk, and it’s right on Flatbush, meaning you don’t have to stray too far from the ark that is Barclays.
Kaz An Nou
Sébastien Aubert, the owner, head chef, and chief waiter at Kaz An Nou, is one of the kindest people in Brooklyn. His restaurant is small, the dishes simple, and he’ll treat you as if you’re dining in his home. When there isn’t live music, fuzzy international jazz records that Madlib would sample (if he hasn’t already) fill the cozy spot, located just off Flatbush.
Start your meal with the fritters and end with the spicy chocolate cake in coconut sauce. Aubert will take care of everything else. (Except the booze—as it’s BYOB, grab a bottle of wine from the liquor store on Flatbush and Saint Marks before you’re seated.)
Frank’s Cocktail Lounge
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Address: 660 Fulton St.
Order This: A gin and tonic
Though Frank’s is often described as a dive, the drink prices and sleek (but kitschy) interior do little to confirm that rumor. But there’s plenty of sass from the bartenders, and the clientele love to engage in discursive, random-patron-involving arguments about Michael Jackson’s personal life (and the like), so the weirdness quota is met.
And you can do karaoke to all the T.I. you want. Why you wanna go and drink anywhere else?
Ample Hills Creamery
Simply put, your favorite ice cream parlor isn’t as good as Ample Hills. The flavors you’re used to don’t pop as hard, the ingredient combinations aren’t as inventive, and the service isn’t as friendly. The Salted Crack Caramel is rightly famous, as the fanatics who’ve become addicted to the balance of salty and sweet come back regularly for another hit.
The taste technicians working in the kitchen (which the line winds around) are up to dirty business, turning treats like monkey bread into ice cream, or figuring out ways to incorporate beer and bacon into sweet cream. From their cakes to their sundaes, Ample Hills makes it impossible for you to make a bad decision.
But if choice paralysis grips you, ask one of the employees—they spend enough time there that they’ve figured out the best ways to freak the flavors, and will whip something up for you posthaste.
British bar owner Kathryn Weatherup likes to drink in secret. At least, that’s the impression you get passing into her unmarked establishment by way of the nondescript door and heavy curtain that guard the way. Lots of places claim to be speakeasies, and rely on lame gimmicks to do so.
Aside from its super low profile, Weather Up employs no gimmicks, unless you find immaculate cocktails served by professionals to be gimmicky. If you feel like spending ~$12 on a handsome and potent drink either before or after a Barclays event, you can’t do better than this.
For the folks living directly across the street from bike parking at Barclays, beer-and-sandwich-purveyor Bierkraft won’t seem like the closest pre- or post-game spot, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the trip. And if you’ve come from Jersey, the walk to 5th Avenue from Atlantic Terminal won’t seem like a hike at all.
Of course, get any human with functioning taste buds inside Bierkraft and whatever exertion the trip required will fall away in the face of gorgeous drafts of craft beer and hearty sandwiches wrapped in sturdy orange butcher’s paper (and tied up with twine!).
You won’t find a better prepared Italian sub for miles, with ingredients this fresh and of such a high quality. You can make build your own, but beginners should choose from the board’s options until you’ve got a grasp on pairing slices of Serrano ham with fig jam.
- Jay-Z opened the Barclays Center (night 1 setlist) (brooklynvegan.com)
- Local Businesses Assess Impact of Barclays Arena (wnyc.org)
- Barbra Streisand is a proud Brooklynite at concert (sacbee.com)
- Marv Albert coming home to Brooklyn and Barclays Center (newsday.com)
- Jay-Z Takes the Subway to his own Concert at The Barclays Center (Video) (dajaz1.com)
- The Rap On The Barclays Center (hot1041stl.com)
- Nets eager for first game at Barclays Center tonight (newsday.com)
- Beyonce Performs ‘Crazy in Love’ with Jay-Z at Barclays Center (rollingstone.com)
- Take A Tour Of The Barclays Center, The Brand New Brooklyn Nets Stadium (businessinsider.com)
- Barclays Center Subway Stop: Mornings, It’s Totally Dead (transportationnation.org)