Sundays in Red Hook

Grandlife guide

Sundays in Red Hook

back to list

To tourists and New Yorkers both, the neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, is considered off the beaten path, a remote industrial shipyard visited once or twice, usually for that much-needed trip to Ikea. But the underrated destination is a hub for arts and food—the perfect day trip location to escape the city’s congestion. It is also known for its stunningly clear view of the Statue of Liberty. Who wants to freeze their butt off on the ferry anyway? Although it’s a bit detached from our typical ideas of the “New York experience,” Red Hook has a lot to offer in the way of antique gems, illuminating art galleries, and seafood by the bucket-load.

Here, we’ve rounded up Red Hook’s best activities for that coveted, scenic Sunday on the pier that we all deserve.

Fort Defiance

Often considered one of the best restaurants in Red Hook, this cozy and casual American cuisine spot is a known must-try if you need some fuel before the day’s activities, or if you want to close out the day with a handcrafted drink. Opened in 2009, and sourced completely locally, Fort Defiance is quaint and homey with colorful tables and antique chairs, but the food is what will really hook you. Whether you’re visiting with a group of friends or alone, completely famished or just into an appetizer/drink situation, Fort Defiance will serve up quality and quantity that just about makes it a no-brainer.

365 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn; T. (347) 453-6672

Red Hook Labs

It may come as a surprise that Red Hook is home to the city’s hottest up-and-coming artists, but photo curation is actually one of the areas in which the neighborhood thrives with Red Hook Labs being the center of it all. Founded by Jimmy Moffat, the lab is a hybrid: photography studio, gallery, school, and production company—a contemporary art hub where creatives go to discover and be discovered. If you’re just spending the day in Red Hook, though, you’ll want to prioritize the gallery for its diverse and rotating lineup of group shows that are sure to bewilder and titillate the senses.

133 Imlay St, Brooklyn; T. (718) 797-1103

Sunny’s Bar

“The bar on the edge of the world” is how writer Tim Sultan described the historic Sunny’s Bar (pictured above) in its ’90s prime, a time when the bar was open for only one or two days a week and its lucky patrons got to experience some of New York’s most eccentric and spontaneous live music. Today, Sunny’s is less exclusive and open six days a week, but the humble, divey character still hits you the moment you walk in. Now a Red Hook institution, the bar has a variety of small rooms with funky seating, larger-than-life bobbleheads, a storied collection of local artwork, and cheap drinks. If you’re looking for the classic dive bar you see in the movies, look no further.

253 Conover St, Brooklyn; T. (718) 625-8211

Brooklyn Crab

Brooklyn Crab almost feels like a vacation spot: located right on the shore, three floors of outdoor seating, buckets of fresh crab being tossed around, a mini-golf course… With its “on the boardwalk” vibe and a sea breeze that feels too good to be true considering its proximity to the city, the restaurant/bar is reason enough to make the trip out to Red Hook. Be ready to eat. Hang out with a group of friends, order the mac ’n’ cheese or the jalapeno cornbread—just the atmosphere is satiating enough.

24 Reed St, Brooklyn; T. (718) 643-2722

Widow Jane Distillery

Whiskey on the Coast may sound like a bad country song, but it’s the reality at Widow Jane Distillery. And although we recommend partaking in their whiskey tasting/tour during the latter part of your day, it’s definitely something that you need to experience—if all persons are willing and able, of course. Owner and master distiller Daniel Prieto Preston’s industrial and magnificent whiskey haven, which shares a warehouse with his Dominican chocolate company, is a stunning space with picturesque wooden beams and floors, and the main attraction: the copper still. You’ll get to see the distilling process, which includes all aging, barreling, blending and bottling being done in-house. There’s also a spacious patio that houses chickens and a peacock—an added bonus, really.

218 Conover St, Brooklyn; T. (347) 225-0130

Wooden Sleepers

For tastefully curated workwear/military/vintage men’s clothing, there’s really no better spot than Wooden Sleepers. The brick-and-mortar shop, opened in 2015, turns vintage shopping into a fully immersive experience with its extensive and affordable range of men’s pieces. It’s one of those places that, after visiting once, you hope remains hidden that much longer.

395 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn; T.  (718) 643-0802

WORDS Ivan Guzman

Sundays in Red Hook
Brooklyn Crab
Sundays in Red Hook
Fort Defiance
Sundays in Red Hook
Red Hook Labs
Sundays in Red Hook
Widow Jane Distillery
Sundays in Red Hook
Wooden Sleepers

You May Also Like

Paige Powell Andy Warhol Basquiet Bill Cunningham John Lennon Bob Gruen Ken Schles New York 80s Allan Tannenbaum Walt Cassidy

New York-Centric Coffee Table Books

art & design
stories
From revelrous art world celebrities to late-night voyeurism: The photo books that pay homage to our immensely photographic city.
SoHo New York itinerary soho diner king ruby's cafe brunch al fresco roxy hotel clic gallery saturdays surf nyc the webster

Weekends in SoHo

art & design
bars & nightlife
food & drink
stories
Explore the neighborhood anew with this curated guide.
Catskills Guide Upstate New York Phoenicia Diner

Top Picks for a Fall Getaway

travel
stories
It’s time to start planning your fall getaway, and we’re here to help.
St Mazie, Bemelmans Bar, new york bars, cocktails, Lucien, Dante, Grand Banks

Local Go-Tos with Maxwell Britten, Tali Lennox, Zackery Michael & Others

bars & nightlife
stories
We asked friends of GrandLife to share their neighborhood spot for drinks and what they order when they go. Here’s what they told us…
MoMa, the Whitney, Brooklyn Museum, The Met, The Metropolitan Museum, Fotografiska

Museums Reopen: Here's What to Expect

art & design
stories
A collab with David Byrne at the Brooklyn Museum, the Donald Judd retrospective at MoMA, and more to explore at New York's landmark museums this fall.
Summer Day Trips to Ignite your Senses

Summer Day Trips to Ignite your Senses

art & design
bars & nightlife
travel
stories
We round up the best day trips to set your senses alight and lull you into that holiday state of mind without venturing too far from the city.
McNally Jackson Summer Reading List New York Books

McNally Jackson’s John Francisconi shares his top 5 summer reads

art & design
reading
stories
For your reading pleasure. 
New York Stores bookstore coming soon abc home adam green brianna lance tali lennox academy records maryam nassir zadeh no.6 store shopping the realreal sincerely tommy strand bookstore mast di palo's

Local Go-Tos With Adam Green, Brianna Lance, Nikki Kynard & Others

art & design
now open
shopping
stories
We asked friends of GrandLife to share their favorite NYC stores and what they love about them. Here’s what they told us…
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600