An incredible food scene, historic brownstones, and residents who hail from just about every part of the world—that’s what you get in Bed-Stuy. It’s also a place rooted in community, where neighbors look out for neighbors, families remain for generations, and activists—notably Black activists—begin movements that extend far beyond the neighborhood’s borders.
In its recent survey of nearly 40,000 people around the world, TimeOut asked local experts to share the coolest neighborhoods in their cities, and Bed-Stuy landed at #4 in the top 40. And we’re not surprised one bit.
As the first large real estate firm to see the promise of Bed-Stuy and set up storefronts in the neighborhood (back in 2014), we know how special the community is. TimeOut editors took into account the food, atmosphere, and culture of these global neighborhoods to complete their rankings, and in each of these categories, Bed-Stuy stands out. From its artistic spirit and quality of life to that “hard-to-define buzz that draws people from across the globe,” Bed-Stuy has it all.
We asked some of our own local experts—Brooklyn real estate brokers who know the borough’s neighborhoods inside-out—to share what they love about Bed-Stuy.
What Makes Bed-Stuy So Cool?
For George Fesser, it’s all about the friendliness of the neighborhood’s residents. “Everyone says ‘hi’ to you when you walk down the street,” he says. One of the most diverse communities in New York, Bed-Stuy is a true melting pot. Here, you can find “people from various backgrounds and races, young and older families, creatives, and urban professionals,” says Sascha Beicken.
Ban Leow—who was responsible for the $6.3 million John C. Kelley mansion sale that broke records for sale prices in Bed-Stuy—agrees, referencing the tight-knit, diverse community. He also emphasizes the community support shown during this pandemic, as well as the incredible mobilization seen as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Black activism is not new to Bed-Stuy, either. The neighborhood has been home to political activism in the face of racial injustice since at least the 1960s.
As a result of the diverse population of the neighborhood, Bed-Stuy also has an enviable food culture. Ban tells us that some of the city’s best pizza spots are located here, as are an array of restaurants serving cuisines ranging from Japanese to creole and everything in between.
The Coolest Spots in the Coolest Neighborhood
A warm ambience greets you at this New American restaurant and bar serving innovative farm-to-table fare that changes with the seasons.
Hidden away on Putnam Ave., this unassuming spot serves up mouthwatering Mexican staples and some excellent cocktails.
Selling one-of-a-kind vintage clothing for all genders, this shop has a wonderful array of handpicked items—as well as an original line—for children as well as adults.
For a great brunch—or any meal when you’re in the mood for comfort food—head to Mama Fox, which also offers heated sidewalk seating.
There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of ramen on a cold night, and Nana Ramen is a great option. Try their Shoyu ramen!
Delicious Japanese food with a twist is what you’ll find at Trad Room, a family-run establishment with a chic interior.
From home décor items and accessories to thoughtful books and cosmetics, you can find an eclectic collection of curated items at this husband-and-wife team’s boutique.
You’ll find all your favorite Italian dishes at Saraghina—which is both a restaurant and a bakery—including their specialty Neapolitan pizza.
Locals love Bed-Vyne, which runs a lively cocktail bar as well as a separate pub and wine spirits store.
Serving up beer, cocktails, and a friendly atmosphere, this local hangout has a patio in the back and a diverse clientele.
No list of the best Bed-Stuy establishments is complete without Peaches, a pillar of the community that serves some of the best southern food in New York. You can’t go wrong with their fried chicken, gumbo, or shrimp and grits.
Head to Sonora for a cantina atmosphere and a Mexican menu featuring tamales, tacos, and tasty mezcal cocktails.