It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Fleet Week is practically upon us, meaning a parade of ships, tours, ceremonies, and performances will be taking place throughout the city to inspire the seafarer in all of us.
Oh, and did we mention the sailors?
This week (Wednesday, May 24th- Tuesday, May 30th) the city will be flooded with military women and men in crisply pressed uniforms, ready to render the city’s normally unshakable inhabitants into helpless flocks of fawning seamen chasers.
This year two Coast Guard vessels will be docked at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, turning this already-cool neighborhood into the perfect Fleet Week destination. Here are our best picks in the Hook for getting your “Hello, Sailor!” on:
1. Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (72 Bowne Street– Brooklyn)
Put on your insta-game face. It’s Fleet Week, and the best backdrop for a #selfiewithasailor is obvs going to be on a boat. Ship tours are free and take place daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. (Tag #spoilednyc so we can keep track of your shenanigans, too!)
Daily tours will also be held in Manhattan on Piers 88 and 92 and Homeport Pier in Staten Island.
2. Brooklyn Ice House (318 Van Brunt Street – Brooklyn)
After your boat tours, head to the Ice House early and snag a picnic table. Their ivy and gravel backyard has a cool secret garden vibe, and it might be crowded (hopefully with sailors) if it’s sunny. The bar has beer-and-a-shot specials and unusually good bar food like tasty wings and juicy pulled pork sliders.
3. Louis Valentino Jr. Park and Pier (Ferris Street & Coffey Street – Brooklyn)
It’s hard to resist a jaunt out onto this scenic pier, named for a firefighter and Parks lifeguard. There’s a rocky beach, a grassy lawn, and a key-lime pie restaurant nearby. (Red Hook likes to keep it random.)
Grab some limeades and a swingle (a frozen key lime pie dipped in chocolate on a stick) from Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie and take a sailor on a stroll down the pier to look at Lady Liberty. (If you actually get to do this, please trade lives with us.)
4. Sunny’s Bar (253 Conover Street– Brooklyn)
This neighborhood stalwart might just be your best bet to shake a leg with a seaman. Since the 1890s, Sunny’s has been a long-standing haven of musicians, misfits, and motley muses.
Come on Wednesday night to catch Smokey’s Round-up, a western swing band with the chops to get the crowd out of their seats and stomping their feet.
5. Hometown Bar-B-Que (454 Van Brunt Street – Brooklyn)
If there’s food, they will come. Especially if there is scrumptious food, like the stuff Hometown Bar-B-Que serves up at their walk-up counter. You can choose from pit-smoked brisket, ribs, and pulled pork and tasty sides like queso mac & cheese or smoked pit beans with brisket burnt ends.
6. Brooklyn Crab (24 Reed Street– Brooklyn)
This double decker seafood restaurant has excellent harbor views and a scene built for mingling. Not only is there an open air bar and picnic table seating, but there’s also mini golf and cornhole. Perfect for chatting up a sailor and betting your next round of drinks on a hole-in-one.
Of course there’s crab and other shellfish on the menu, but they also serve some delicious drinks, like their michelada: corona on ice mixed with Cholula hot sauce, lime, and their Bloody Breuklen clamato mix served in a glass rimmed with Old Bay.
7. Fort Defiance (365 Van Brunt Street – Brooklyn)
If you somehow get “Red Hooked” and find yourself in the neighborhood past pumpkin hour, Fort Defiance offers one of the best pick-me-ups going. This charming cocktail bar and restaurant serves one of the best Irish coffees in the city. It’s the perfect energy booster before one last, mandatory stop:
8. Red Hook Bait & Tackle (320 Van Brunt Street – Brooklyn)
Last year, this taxidermy-filled, beer-drinking, whiskey-swilling, impaired-dancing, hell-of-a-good-time bar was the last place the seamen would burst into before heading back to their ship. Go there plenty of time before 1 a.m.—those uniforms have a curfew.
Just don’t tell the locals we sent you.[Feature Image Courtesy Notey]