You’ve heard plenty of chatter in the time between the L train shutdown announcement and the L train un-shutdown announcement: Williamsburg is so over. There are still stellar places in the ’burg to hang, imbibe, and unwind, but it’s not the eccentric wonderland it used to be. Greenpoint, its direct neighbor to the north, though, remains such a place.
I’ve utterly enjoyed roaming around the area over the years, rummaging through record stores, satiating on savory Vietnamese pizza and Oaxacan tostadas, and slurping so much coffee and dive bar beer. And yet I’ve only stepped foot on Franklin Street a handful of times (all of which were accidental).
Even with mild chatterings of the mile-long stretch becoming the area’s “new hot spot” and the official “Brooklyn fashion route,” its retail and culinary gems have remained hidden in plain sight compared to their neighbors to the east, Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Boulevard. But after a recent staycation blessed me with 72 hours to explore the quiet neighborhood at my own leisure, I fell in love with the culinary and cultural offerings of this street, named after the man on the hundred dollar bill.
Greenpoint’s newest all-day café also doubles as one of the most authentic Lebanese spots in New York. That’s because Beirut native Tony Ismail has revamped his culture’s cuisine in familiar ways, namely reenvisioning staples like muhammara, tagine, and fattoush into vivid bowls and stacked sandwiches. Health warriors also rejoice in knowing the majority of the menu is gluten-free and vegan- and vegetarian friendly. 252 Franklin Street
The Moonlight Mile
Bourbon bars are a dime a dozen in this town, but this rustic corner-side spot remains a straight-up gem five years after its opening. For one, its drink list includes more than 200 American-made whiskeys and a wide variety of brown-based cocktails at a fraction of the usual Brooklyn prices. Its nighttime scene is also unintimidating, with crowds primarily consisting of libation aficionados and locals looking to play some complimentary jukebox tunes. 200 Franklin Street
Lovingly called Dandy by the locals, this wine store could double as your living room—if your apartment’s walls were stacked with bottles. Founder Lily Peachin strives to add personal touches everywhere she can—from handwritten tasting notes hanging from bottles’ necks to a key rack adorned with neighbors’ spares to bite-size dog treats for shoppers with four-legged friends. Dandy also excels at stocking under-the-radar varietals and producers—not to mention some cool boxed wine, if you’re over drinking Franzia. 153 Franklin Street
New Yorkers love their indie bookstores, and this decade-plus literary haunt is certainly one of their favorites. Perpetually cool staff members greet you upon entry, where a curated selection of page-turners are displayed and aching to be read. Regular readings, book groups dedicated to romance novels and Rory Gilmore’s reading list, and a generous membership program make it hard to stay away from Word for very long. 126 Franklin Street
You know you’ve made it when a Rolling Stone and a Reservoir Dog give your bar a stamp of approval. What was once an actual safe house is now an unpretentious drinking hideaway for the locals. It even has all the necessities needed to persevere in these trying times—cheap beer on draft, free wifi and pool, and Tex-Mex–style tacos and burritos! 120 Franklin Street
Duke’s Liquor Box
Do you pride yourself on stocking your home bar with rare bottles none of your friends have? Well, do we have the shop for you! Unconventional spirits and indie wines you wouldn’t find at your regular liquor store line the shelves at this specially curated booze haunt, where you’re tested to drink outside of the box. If you’re more of a cautious drinker who likes to sip before committing, Duke’s also offers free tastings on the regular. 114 Franklin Street
There’s a probable chance you’ve sipped its wine spritzer in the can at a rooftop rager or Rockaway Beach romp within the past year, but did you know Ramona is also a supersexy bar? From its frisky illustrated spokeswoman posing on the menu and bathroom walls to a French Quarter–esque aesthetic, the double-decker space is quite the stunner. But we don’t just care about looks; the generous happy hour, absinthe-splashed libations, and classy frozen cocktails keep us coming back for more. 113 Franklin Street
Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop
The suburban pizzeria you’ve come to know and love as a child makes a strong comeback, thanks to Greenpoint’s undisputed pizza king. Paulie Giannone’s sophomore concept exchanges tableside hospitality for quick counter service; rustic decor for bright plastic chairs and checkerboard flooring; and fiery wood-burning ovens for more conventional gas ones. What remains, though, are the pies you’ve waited hours for at his O.G. brick-and-mortar—particularly the hot honey–covered Hellboy and the vegan Vidalia dotted with caramelized onions—served in a quarter of the time. 110 Franklin Street
Strong, single-origin coffee. Picturesque potted plants. As if you didn’t want anything more from your everyday coffee shop–slash–horticulture hub, husband and wife Scott Haven and Vanessa Chinga-Haven also offer housewares and gifts. We won’t blame you if you overspend on some handmade ceramics or magazines dedicated to greenery; Goop said it was OK. 107 Franklin Street
Chez Ma Tante
Standing out from the sleepier stretch of Franklin is this French-Canadian bistro, where Vancouver native Aidan O’Neal and lifelong New Yorker Jake Leiber deliver low-key, exciting dishes in their clean-cut dining room. Full disclosure: While I’m sure dinner there is fantastic—who can resist some pig’s head terrine or juicy roasted duck breast?—the brunch is about as perfect as it comes in New York City. Just try the buttery cast-iron pancake stack and tell me otherwise. 90 Calyer Street (at Franklin Street)
Come for a connoisseur-approved craft draft list, stay for everything else. This laid-back brewski bar has quickly become a local mainstay due in part to its unique decor decisions (old cassettes acting as bathroom tiles), savory handheld nibbles (Thai chicken potpies and sausage rolls), and the quirkiest backyard gondola you might ever encounter. Fun seekers should also be pleased by the backyard’s slot car racetrack, regular Mario Kart tournaments, and the well-worn shuffleboard table bordering the wall; perhaps challenge a stranger and make him your new best friend by last call? 43 Franklin Street