With plummeting temperatures, the idea of traipsing all around the city to get your fill of good eats, shopping, and booze seems less appealing than that itchy thermal underwear you’re sporting to stay warm. Just in time for the start of mitten season: the next installment in our series, An Afternoon On, where we explore the best that a single street in the city has to offer. Our last afternoon adventure took us to Bleecker Street, so this time we’re crossing the water to hit up a Brooklyn favorite — Smith Street — between Atlantic and 4th Avenues. Flanked by three neighborhoods (Boerum Hill to the east, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens to the west), this stretch of street is dense with shops, restaurants, and bars. And there is Crack Pie, pinball, and drinks made with artichoke liqueur. Yup, this one is worth bundling up for.
The speakeasy-style bar is a dime a dozen in the city, with suspender-clad mixologists shaking and stirring haute cocktails all over the boroughs. What sets Clover Club apart is the fact that the bar team actually knows a lot about the history of the drink, and their menu reflects a well-researched cannon of favorites like royals, collins, sours, old fashioneds, and cocktails (and yes, these are all very different items, which their menu will clarify for you with easy-to-understand descriptions).
On weekends, they offer a solid brunch (baked eggs in leek-studded truffle butter, anyone?) with a wake-up worthy drinks list that puts the mimosa to shame — including punch bowls for sharing, champagne cocktails, and a sturdy Bloody Mary. On weekdays, their happy hour starts at four, and includes simpler drinks for $7, and bar bites like duck fat potato chips with truffle creme fraiche (um, $4 — hello). Fantastic things are happening in their Bandwagon Fizz drink: which partners tart grapefruit liquor with the herbaceous and bitter bite of the artichoke-based Cynar liquor and smooth gin. A detour to the “autumn spice” section of their drinks menu will lead you to a nutmeg and cinnamon infused wonderland of port, whisky, and tequila-based cocktails.
A trip to Clover Club will leave you feeling just a little more classy and a little more knowledgeable about the various ways to imbibe — a real win-win — and a stellar way to kick-off your afternoon.
Location: 210 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4pm-2am; Friday, 4pm -4am; Saturday, 10:30am – 4am; Sunday, 10:30am -1am
We’re gonna keep it classy as we meander down Smith, and head straight for the well-curated, male-focused shop, Modern Anthology. That being said, a good deal of whats to offer here is gender neutral: mid-century decor, sturdy duffle bags and State backpacks, as well as woodsy-scented candles, face, and body products. There’s also the complete roster of men’s fashion staples: jackets, denim, shoes, shirts, and watches. The clothing is smart and sturdy, all without looking like it’s trying too hard. Just like
men clothing should be.
Location: 123 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 am – 7 pm; Friday through Saturday, 11:30 am -7:30 pm; Sunday, 12:00 – 6pm
Welcome to Tea Nirvana. T2, an Australian tea house, recently launched its first American stores — one on Prince Street in Soho, and the other right here on Smith Street. Just a heads-up: you will lose track of time in here, and that’s all good by us. The walls are stocked floor to ceiling with jewel-toned boxes full of every tea you could ever need: from green tips to rooibus, black, and herbals. Be sure to help yourself to the four or five teas on sample, sipping as you browse and sniff your way around the tea selection. What makes this store a true stand out is their complete collection of tea accessories, including serving vessels that honor the varied ways in which different cultures prefer to drink the hot stuff: English cups and saucers in bright color palates, Japanese ceramic bowls, and ornate Moroccan glasses. If you have a tea lover in your life or feel like making a convert out of any coffee devotee, this is the place to do your shopping.
Location: 140 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10am-8pm; Sunday, 11am-7pm
The perfect way to refuel, Smith Street style, is with a stellar craft beer and a few rounds of pinball. Bar Great Harry is a cozy spot with a primary concern for supplying customers with the best in brews (and ciders too). Their taps are rotated regularly, keeping the locals coming back by offering what’s seasonal and tastiest in the artisan beer landscape. Two Roads, Bell’s, and Evil Twin breweries are among their menu, which reads like a who’s who of small-batch beer makers. If you don’t know your IPAs from your porters, the bartender is knowledgeable and happy to help you find a perfect match, which can be poured in three different sizes, meaning you can go big on a brew you love, or small to get tastes of a few.
Once armed with your beer or cider, head to the back room and try your hand at one of the three pinball machines. A little friendly competition — to see who is paying for the next round — is a great mid-afternoon break from the shopping and feasting that’s available on Smith.
Location: 280 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2pm – 4am; Saturday + Sunday, 12:30pm-4am
Timeless minimalism best describes the aesthetic of Article&, a boutique clothing store stocking wearable closet staples from domestic and international labels. The selection of skirts, dresses, sweaters, and jumpers (because who doesn’t need more jumpers?) manage to be both chic, yet office appropriate. Perfection. Round out your clothing purchases with a pair of geometric earrings or necklace, and don’t forget to snag a season-appropriate shade of nail polish, too. Like hitting the ‘refresh’ button on your tired-old look — just in time for the new year.
Location: 198 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11:30am-7:30pm; Sunday, 12:00-6pm
Colorful blankets and throws — stacked high on bright painted end tables and nestled between lamps —greet you as you enter Mongo. It’s a bohemian paradise offering the injection of fun your apartment needs. There’s vivid Indian rugs and quilts, eclectic art from local artists, and curiosities (think old-school etched crystal glassware, vintage pie tins, and Japanese tea pots). There’s also statement jewelry, lambs’ wool scarves, and a selection of bold-patterned women’s clothing made by one of the owners. This spot is small but mighty, offering customers the chance to take home every color of the rainbow.
Location: 246 Smith Street
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12:00-7pm; Sunday, 12:00-6pm; Closed Mondays
The chefs at Battersby have nailed farm-to-table by consistently producing (seemingly) no-fuss food that plays on the flavors each ingredient naturally brings to the table. This is the place for a food-lover’s dinner on Smith. The menu is seasonal and reflects what is best, right now, from their purveyors. Cooler temperatures means dishes like fresh pasta with chestnuts, trumpet mushrooms, sunchokes, and brown butter or a hearty and earthy rabbit, mushroom, and golden rice main. Whatever you order, do not skip their crispy kale salad with lime dressing. This is not just another (eye-roll inducing) kale salad. This bad boy was named Dish of the Year (yes, the entire whole year) by the restaurant editor for Bon Appétit in 2012. It has graced the Battersby menu ever since (and should grace your tummy as soon as possible).
Location: 255 Smith Street
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5:30-11pm; Sunday 5:30-10pm
Given that we were on our very best behavior at dinner (kale salad counts for something), it’s time to take a post-dinner stroll to the southern end of the street for one final treat. Behold: Milk Bar. With badass pastry chef Christina Tosi at the helm, the sweets’ shop (part of the David Chang Momofuku family) is doling out some of the most creative and crave-able desserts we’ve seen. There’s the Crack Pie — just a whole bunch of butter and sugar coming together to create an addiction-causing custard pie. The corn cookies — think sweet corn bread but with loads more butter, because treat yo’ self. And the venerable cereal milk soft serve — yes, it does taste just like milk after you’ve let sugar-laced cornflakes bop around in it. And we haven’t even gotten to the cakes. Grab a few stand out items to share and end your afternoon on Smith street on a very sweet note.
Location: 360 Smith Street (plus additional locations throughout Manhattan + Brooklyn)
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7:00am – 10pm; Friday, 7:00am – 11pm; Saturday + Sunday, 8:00am – 11pm
Featured Image at T2 by Kristin Stangl