The Colossal Guide to Bushwick
With hundreds of artist studios, over 50 galleries, and corridor after corridor of colorful, world-renowned street art, Bushwick outstrips all other NYC neighborhoods for DIY cultural cachet.
But Bushwick is more than an open-air art gallery: Events like death metal yoga, disco brunch, and all-night raves occur on the regular, the Queen (Bey) has set foot on these very streets, and “that new bar” is Bushwick’s middle name.
The thing is, the hot spots are hyper-concentrated instead of being evenly distributed — less like the fudge in a pint of Chunky Monkey, more like a dense fudge core. The amateur explorer might have a harder time here than in Williamsburg.
That’s where we come in. Most Colossal employees live in Bushwick, and the rest party there at least once a month. We asked the resident experts to round up their choicest picks so you can do this great hood right.
Reporters from big-time media outlets are racing to review Bushwick’s high points. The New Yorker calls Honey’s thoughtful and low-key, the New York Times compares the parties at Brooklyn Mirage to those in Las Vegas, Miami and Croatia, and W Magazine lauds Members Only as a techno haven with zero pretension.
Pictured left: Brooklyn Mirage (via)
1 / 5
The bar-slash-venue is tried and true, but you’ve got more options in Bushwick. On one end of the spectrum there’s Syndicated, a movie theater slash bar, and Cobra Club, a bar slash heavy metal yoga studio (Alex, our HR Generalist, swears by it). On the weirder end, there’s Troll Hole, a laundromat slash feminist sex shop.
Pictured left: Syndicated (via)
2 / 5
A League of Their Own
House of Yes deserves a special shoutout. In the immortal words of SNL’s Stefon, this place has everything: glittery aerial burlesque shows; Ketamine: the Musical; and Mayor Bill De Blasio — there signing legislation creating the City’s first Office of Nightlife. If you go to one venue in Bushwick, let it be this one.
Pictured left: House of Yes (via)
3 / 5
Sure, there are warehouse parties. The Paper Box, 538 Johnson, and The Umbrella Factory are all great places for em. But you know how those parties always get shut down right when they get good? It happens here so often that a lot have gone legit. Now taxis deliver partygoers to Elsewhere, The Wick, The Well, and Bossa Nova Civic Club... venues with actual bathrooms.
Pictured left: Elsewhere (via)
4 / 5
Pick Your Poison
A pigeon walks into a bar… nope, this isn’t a joke, it’s Mother Pigeon hanging out in Bushwick. She’s got options, and so do you. Choose the Narrows for a date, Our Wicked Lady for a chill rooftop, or Lot 45 for the DJ version of open mic night.
Pictured left: Our Wicked Lady (via)
5 / 5
“My favorite bars are Cobra Club and Pearl’s. The Keep is good, too; it’s like an antique shop inside and there’s live jazz on Wednesdays.”
– Charlie, Painter
“Rebecca’s is a fun, really small dive, with weird purple lighting. Last time I left here everything looked green.”
– Dio, Shop Technician
On the Scene
If you’re curious about the scene but you can’t make it out here, or if you think staying up til 4 AM sounds like torture, don’t worry — we brought Bushwick’s nightlife to you.
“The erstwhile hipster vortex of Williamsburg is starting to feel no more funky and arty than the Upper West Side, while Bushwick spots like Faro, El Cortez and Lorenzo’s suggest that seat-of-your-pants creative energy has moved decidedly eastward.”– New York Times
Background image: Patrons at Montana’s Trail House (via)
Seeing (Michelin) Stars
Blanca (★★) and Faro (★) — Take your mom to either of these places and she’ll stop worrying about you living in a neighborhood she wouldn’t dream of getting close to back when she lived in Brooklyn.
Pictured left: Blanca (via)
1 / 3
Still Got It
A solid contingent of pre-gentrification spots hold their ground, supported by families who have been here for generations. Try Los Hermanos, a tortilla factory that makes incredible tacos, Circo’s Pastry Shop, where the cannoli make Little Italy’s look like trash, and any of the tamale carts spouting mouthwatering aromas onto the street.
Pictured left: Los Hermanos (via)
2 / 3
We’ll never say no to a New York slice, but in Bushwick, new-school pizza reigns supreme. You’ve got Artichoke, a Manhattan export with a lively bar scene; Archie’s, where the pies are best paired with a Narragansett tallboy; Ops, with supernatural sourdough crust; and Union Pizza Works, a friendly dupe for the world-famous Roberta’s.
Pictured left: Roberta's (via)
3 / 3
“There’s a pizza at Sapore di Italia that’s so good, my friend and I just call it ‘The Pizza.’ It’s got pepperoni, jalapeño, capicola, and prosciutto.”
– Nicole, Pattern Manager
“Tina’s Place is the diner where they filmed the Deuce. You walk in there and it’s like they haven’t changed anything since the ‘60s.”
– Dio, Shop Technician
By the Numbers
New York City has long held VIP status in the international arts scene. Today, one neighborhood is the nerve center of it all: Bushwick. Our latest count turned up over 80 galleries, nearly 1,000 artist studios, and corridor after corridor of colorful, world-renowned street art.
Pictured left: Inside Open Studios (via)
1 / 5
Once a year, artists open their doors for an all-weekend extravaganza known as Bushwick Open Studios. The exhibitions, pop-up galleries, performances, and parties draw Chelsea gallerists, art fans from all over the world, and locals wondering what the hell’s been going on in that building next door and hey is that free wine?
Pictured left: Bushwick Open Studios (via)
2 / 5
Skip the crowds at the City’s museums. Get a breath of fresh air and an eyeful of fresh art on one of Bushwick’s many street art tours — the 7th most popular activity in all of Brooklyn. For $30 a pop, a guide will lead you up and down industrial blocks, pointing out the best and brightest new work.
Pictured left: Tourists with a Bushwick mural (via)
3 / 5
New Art World Order
Back in 2012, Luhring Augustine turned the tides in Bushwick. Big-deal art world figures were lured east when the elite, internationally-renowned gallery set up shop in a sea of DIY. Now, Storefront Bushwick presents shows with guest curators from Manhattan and Pocket Utopia features work by artists like Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and Maira Kalman.
Pictured left: Luhring Augustine (via)
4 / 5
Around the Block
When your foreign friend imagines Brooklyn, it probably looks like the annual Bushwick Collective Block Party. Dozens of street artists hit walls with color. Live music pours out of speakers (last year’s lineup featured Foxy Brown, Cam’ron, and Juelz Santana). Free face painting keeps the kids happy, and a beer garden makes sure their parents are all smiles, too.
Pictured left: Bushwick Block Party (via)
5 / 5
Business as Unusual
The unmistakable cool factor has caught the eyes of major corporations. Livestream was the first major tech tenant to move to Bushwick, then came Carto. And in 2015 alone, developers added 3.5 million square feet of office space to the neighborhood.
Background image: Carto DB office (via)
Bjork materializes out of nowhere like an Icelandic nymph. She’s been seen at the The Wick music venue, artisanal Dun-Well Donuts, and a Ru Paul’s Drag Race viewing party at the Rosemont.
Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Hillary and Bill Clinton have all been to Roberta’s, the only restaurant in Brooklyn celebrities outnumber celiacs. We hope they ordered the Bee Sting, a pizza drenched with hot honey.
Kanye West filmed a short movie inspired by American Psycho on a Brooklyn Fire Proof soundstage.
It’s Called Fashion Look It Up
Wangfest, Alexander Wang’s fashion show, landed in Bushwick in 2017, bringing with it Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Cardi B, Ja Rule, and Ashanti. If you had any doubts about Bushwick’s cultural cachet, this’ll rid you of em.
Pictured left: Alexander Wang runway (via)
1 / 3
Old Dog New Digs
Been living under a rock for the past ten years? Boy, do I have news for you: there’s excellent vintage in Bushwick. Hit L Train Vintage if you need a fur coat for a Halloween costume. 28 Scott’s got the high-end hidden gems. Beacon’s Closet and Friends are your best bets for newer trade-ins. And if all else fails, keep an eye out for roving trucks full of $10 finds.
Pictured left: 28 Scott (via)
2 / 3
Ditch the heels. Out here, you’ll want your finest vintage Levi’s and your freshest Fenty Pumas.
Pictured left: Fashion week street style (via)
3 / 3
“Green Village Used Clothing is like an SNL skit; two brothers own it and they’re always yelling at each other.”
– Prue, Manager Client Services
“Worship is a good vintage store, if you’re into that sort of thing.”
– Dio, Shop Technician