. . . in and around Gowanus

The colloquium venue — the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) — and the recommended colloquium hotels are located in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood. Here are a few locally sourced tips about where in the neighborhood you might like to grab a bite or a drink, or spend some leisure time. (Of course you can always seek professional advice at YELP.) Everything’s within walking distance (except the two things marked with a *.)


If you need coffee or breakfast near BZC . . .

  • Ninth Street Espresso (inside Three’s Brewing) – Good coffee place (nice pastries that they keep out of sight behind the counter), great workspace (if you’re a work-in-the-coffee-shop sort of person), wi-fi. // 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Root Hill Cafe – Nice coffee shop with good breakfast menu: bagels, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt & granola — that sort of thing — wi-fi. On the same block as BZC. // 262 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Runner & Stone – Lovely place for coffee and house-made pastries. Just around the corner from BZC. // 285 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Great places for coffee, breakfast, and lunch — all within short walking distance . . . 

  • Le Pain Quotidien – Coffee, breakfast and lunch options. // $5-$15 // 239 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Oaxaca Taqueria (Park Slop location) – Mexican take-out or eat-in. // $10-$15 // 250 4th Ave.,  Brooklyn, NY
  • Root Hill Cafe – Nice coffee shop with good breakfast & lunch menu, wi-fi. Not open for dinner. // $5-15 // 262 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Runner & Stone – Lovely place for coffee, pastries or lunch. // $10-15 // 285 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Taheni – Mediterranean take-out or eat-in. // $5-15 // 224 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Ninth Street Espresso (inside Three’s Brewing) – Good coffee place (nice pastries that they keep out of sight behind the counter), great workspace (if you’re a work-in-the-coffee-shop sort of person), wi-fi. // 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Whole Foods – You know the one. // $1 – ∞ //  214 3rd St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY

For dining out on your own, with some class . . .

  • Al di la Tratoria – Upscale delicious Italian. // 248 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY
  • Freek’s Mill – Great food, great cocktails, amazing Georgian wine list. // 285 Nevins Street, Brooklyn, NY
  • Insa – Funky Korean BBQ // 328 Douglass St, Brooklyn, NY
  • Littleneck – New England-Style seafood shack. // 288 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • RoseWater Restaurant – Farm-to-table plates and an awesome biodynamic wine list. // 787 Union St. Brooklyn, NY
  • Runner & Stone –  Seasonal farm-to-table menu. // 285 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY

For dinner on your own, but less ambitious or a bit grittier (in a good way) . . .

  • Ghenet – Ethiopian. // 348 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY
  • Pig Beach – Serious BBQ and patio // 480 Union St., Brooklyn, NY
  • See Oaxaca Taqueria and Taheni (above)
  • Grab something at one of the bars or beer places listed below — e.g., The Meat Hook (in Threes Brewing), Dirty Precious, or Lavender Lake. Most bars in the area have a decent light food menu.

I scream, you scream, we all scream . . .

  • Ample Hills Creamery – Brooklyn’s very own ice cream, with a little Walt Whitman on top. Roof deck! (Sorry, doesn’t open until noon.) // 305 Nevins St. location is closest but also in Prospect Heights (Vanderbilt) and at Brooklyn Bridge Park (see below).
  • Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream – A little further from BZC, but honest-to-God the best ice cream in the world (imho). // 81 Bergen St. (but also has locations scattered all over Brooklyn and Manhattan — find one near you!)


Beer in Brooklyn – Sky magazine excerpt

  • Al di la Vino – Upscale Italian restaurant’s next-door wine bar. // 607 Carroll St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Dirty Precious – Airy cocktail bar with lite bites. Not open at lunchtime. // 317 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Givers and Takers – Nice cocktail bar. // 286 3rd Ave. Brooklyn, NY
  • Halyard’s – Great cocktails and bar snacks. // 406 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Lavender Lake – Lovely cocktails and wine, nice food menu as well with good vegetarian and vegan options. // 383 Carroll St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Mission Dolores – An astounding tap beer menu. Has outdoor space, you can bring in your own food, it’s a gritty, sweet bit of a dive bar.  // 249 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Runner & Stone –  Nice cocktails and wine, lunch and dinner available. // 285 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY
  • Strong Rope Brewery – A great taproom with hand-crafted Ales. // 574 President St., Brooklyn, NY
  • Three’s Brewing – Local brewery (check out Beer in Brooklyn – Sky magazine excerpt) with rotating taps and a back garden. Currently featuring The Meat Hook, a trendy carnivorous sandwich pop-up. // 333 Douglass St., Brooklyn, NY


Places of interest in the area to sight-see and have a good time . . . 

  • Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – Open 8am-6pm Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday. The gardens are free on Saturdays from 10am-noon. // 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY.
  • Brooklyn Museum – Open 11am-6pm Wednesday- Sunday. // 990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn NY.
  • Prospect Park – Brooklyn’s gorgeous “central” park. Walks and more walks.
  • Grand Army Plaza Farmer’s Market – Beautiful Saturday farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza, at the entrance to Prospect Park. Open 8am-4pm.
  • Royal Palms Shuffleboard – Shuffleboard for hipsters! A giant shuffleboard and game playing space, featuring trendy cocktails at the bar and various snacks. // 514 Union St., Brooklyn, NY.
  • Canoeing on the Gowanus Canal – I kid you not. Take a self-guided canoe trip on the canal, Brooklyn’s coolest superfund site — canoes, life jackets, and minimal instruction provided free of charge (first come, first served). 1pm-5pm on Saturday.
  • Swim in the Gowanus Canal – Now I’m kidding.
  • Go for a bike ride – Hop on a Citi Bike and explore: Prospect Park (see above), Brooklyn Bridge Park (see below) — the city is your oyster. There are four nearby Citi Bike stations.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park – Check out Brooklyn’s waterfront and New York Harbor. A beautiful spot for a walk and to spend a few hours. But this one requires a cab, Uber or Lyft, Citi Bike, or the subway.

Local venues that feature music . . .

* And then there’s Manhattan . . . or Staten Island

  • Enjoy!

[* = too far to walk]