Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn: Red Hook

Welcome to the Insider’s Guide to Brooklyn, our personal guide to every single neighborhood of our favorite borough. Each week, we’ll be hanging out with some of our favorite local residents to visit their essential shops, cafes, eateries, and more to inspire your next day trip in Brooklyn, New York.

Red Hook might require a bit more of a trek than other Brooklyn neighborhoods, but we think it’s well worth the day trip. From its vibrant art community to its off-the-beaten-path restaurants, Red Hook’s the perfect neighborhood for anyone truly looking to escape the bustle and noise of Manhattan. (Plus, if you’re a young newcomer to Brooklyn, a trip to Red Hook’s IKEA is almost a required rite of passage.)

When we brought up the idea of our Insider’s Guide series to the closely-knit duo behind the lifestyle collective Local Creative, Jenna Saraco and Nicole Steriovski, the neighborhood of Red Hook was an immediate first choice. The two spent their first few years in the city working together at the local neighborhood mainstay Kevin’smaking Red Hook the place where they first started to put together the pieces of the creative collective they’ve assembled today. Check out some of Jenna and Nicole’s favorite spots – some old, and some new – in the quiet neighborhood of Red Hook, New York:

all photos by Apneet Kaur.

BLACK FLAMINGO

Jenna & Nicole of Local Creative in The Black Flamingo cafe. Jenna wears the Classic Specs Prescott glasses in Havana Tortoise.
Jenna & Nicole of Local Creative in The Black Flamingo. Jenna wears the Classic Specs Prescott glasses in Havana Tortoise.

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the black flamingo

WHERE: 281 Van Brunt Red Hook NY 11231

WHY: “We wish this was here three or four years ago when we were working at Kevin’s! The decor has a nostalgic feeling of old New York, and it’s a nice way to start the morning with the jazz on repeat. It’s a great addition to Red Hook – the neighborhood needed coffee years ago.” – Nicole & Jenna


PIONEER WORKS

Nicole wears the Classic Specs Logan glasses in Whiskey Crystal.
Nicole wears the Classic Specs Logan glasses in Whiskey Crystal.

WHERE: 159 Pioneer St Red Hook, NY 11231

WHY: “It’s just a really amazing space. Dustin Yellin, the owner, used to come into Kevin’s all the time.” – Jenna

“Visually, the space is amazing, and the opportunity it brings to the neighborhood is really exciting. A lot of people hold different art shows and exhibits, but they also do fashion week and it’s an event space. It’s really versatile, and it brings a lot of attention to a neighborhood that sometimes can get kind of forgotten in everything that’s happening. The people they collaborate with are incredible, too.” – Nicole


CACAO PRIETO + WIDOW JANE

cacao prieto

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WHERE: 218 Conover St Red Hook, NY 11231

WHY: “This is another establishment in the neighborhood – it’s a beautiful space, it’s all wood and they work with an illustrator to do the packaging, so it’s kind of a really great gifting. They’re also a part of Widow Jane, a whiskey distillery attached to the chocolatier. They have a really nice, genuine product that also happens to be really well-packaged.” –Nicole & Jenna


FORT DEFIANCE

fort defiance

WHERE: 365 Van Brunt St. Red Hook, NY 11231

WHY: “They have tiki drinks – and other great cocktails! And oysters. Can’t go wrong with oysters.” – Nicole & Jenna


Other Red Hook Mainstays (and more!):

Saipua – The original Instagram-famous flower boutique. (“Saipua are the people who started this whole revitalization of the floral community, starting the culture of social florists on Instagram.” –Nicole)

The Good Fork – When they say they’re a mom-and-pop shop, they really are the real deal: husband/carpenter Ben Schneider built the place, while wife/chef (and Blue Hill-trained) Sohui Kim is behind the delicious Korean-inspired comfort food at this intimate eatery.

Red Hook Lobster Pound – Probably the closest thing you’ll get to eating a fresh Maine lobster in, well, Maine.

And, of course, we can’t forget IKEA and Fairway Market (the reason you might be visiting the neighborhood in the first place).

LEARN MORE ABOUT JENNA & NICOLE OF THE LOCAL CREATIVE.

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