Today’s Brooklyn is not your parents’ Brooklyn— or even your older brother’s. Detective Frank Serpico’s former beat in Williamsburg now teems with yoga studios, artisanal food trucks, tattoo parlors, record stores and underage mustaches.
But before tucking into any of Brooklyn’s hipster hangouts, you need the look. Start with a haircut at Tomcats Barbershop in Greenpoint. It’s not just the Pabst cooler or the interesting selection of magazines scattered about the waiting nook that make it cool; the spunky, rockabilly-flaired staff apply the pomade and get your hair looking on point.
Follow up with new threads from Beacon’s Closet, which recycles the pick of vintage and cast-off clothes from all parts of the city. Open seven days a week and adding inventory daily, its collection is in constant flux.
Polish off your look with a more-permanent souvenir, courtesy of Three Kings Tattoo. With 14 regular artists and rotating guest artists, walk-ins are no problem. They also love doing such New York–inspired tattoos as torches, big apples and old subway coins.
Now that you’re suitably dudded, spend the afternoon dodging fashion shoots and bouncing between art galleries in DUMBO, the riverside neighborhood between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. If the spirit takes hold, sign up for a class at Creatively Wild Art Studio, which hosts daily workshops in graffiti, mixed media and sculpture.
Because artistic inspiration often goes hand in hand with spirits, it’s time for a drink. In Brooklyn, craft beer rules, and one particular line of taps stretches down Carroll Gardens’ main strip. Boat Bar offers a hipster-heaven mix of well-appointed grunge, an old-school jukebox full of Cat Power, Mogwai and Sonic Youth and an inviting selection of beers. And after a few — please drink responsibly, of course — you can pad your stomach with a smoked-pork sandwich at the bacon-heavy, southern-style Van Horn Sandwich Shop a block away.
Keep the evening entertainment just as quirky at the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music in nearby Red Hook, where the vaudeville-style stage comes to life most nights with eclectic music performances ranging from Bulgarian folk to urban bluegrass, all with a Brooklyn twist.