Just when America seems determined to declare Brooklyn dead, the rest of the world is dying to swipe that Kings County swag.
After suffering through so many tedious think pieces about the Brooklyn-as-brand phenomenon, we’re almost relieved to see the spectacle unfold right in front of us. We could debate endlessly about authenticity, about what it means to sell the borough’s image beyond its borders, but frankly we’d rather just stuff our faces with burgers and play ukuleles.
And luckily, thanks to these businesses, we can.
Yes, the Brooklynification of everywhere/thing is in full swing even outside of America. No matter how many times someone says the carefully-crafted cachet of the Brooklyn brand is waning in New York, it’s still going strong in other parts of the world. Brooklyn has launched a full-scale invasion abroad, with establishments like these popping up all across the globe.
The Brooklynites are coming, the Brooklynites are coming!
1. Bedford-Stuyvesant Cafe in Amsterdam
In Brief: A Dutch couple decided that what Amsterdam really needed was a coffee shop named Bedford-Stuyvesant. Inside you’ll find a mural of Brooklyn brownstones, a large, rustic wooden table for communal working plus plenty of second-hand furniture for lounging, transactions conducted via iPad, and a play corner for children (although that’s really more Park Slope than Bed-Stuy).
The Grub: The café is the only one in Europe to sell Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee. It also serves up a house-made pastrami sandwich, organic wine, a kale smoothie, and a “Detox soup of the day.”
The Reviews Are In! “Great spacious place. A big table to work or read the paper, comfortable hang out spots and nice window seats for people-watching. Easily a place you can hang out all day.” –Florian W.
2. Brooklyn Cafe & Brklyn Bakery in Helsinki
Image: Brklyn Bakery
In Brief: The two sisters who started this Finnish coffee shop are Real Brooklynites™, so what you’re getting here is less about co-opting the borough’s coolness and more about curing homesickness.
The Grub: The requisite bagels are here, in both regular and sandwich form, as are cupcakes, other desserts, and all kinds of caffeinated beverages.
The Reviews Are In! “Awesome little place. Could easily be in Brooklyn itself.” –Susanna V.
3. Brooklyn Hide Bagels in Sydney
Image: Brooklyn Hide
In Brief: Brooklyn Hide brings a little touch of New York to Australia with authentic bagels baked fresh daily.
The Grub: All ingredients are locally sourced and the bagels are named after NYC’s streets, boroughs, and neighborhoods (not all in Brooklyn) for added authenticity. Vegemite is a topping option, for decreased authenticity.
The Reviews Are In! “The person taking orders had NO idea what I meant when I said schmear. Not only is it referred to as schmear on the website AND on the menu but it’s Bagels 101 and it felt wrong that I had to explain what that was. And if the website claims to be “as New York as it gets” then step number one is knowing that cream cheese = schmear in the context of bagels.” –Hazel W.
4. Bar Brooklyn in Stockholm
In Brief: Bar Brooklyn is pretty much exactly what you’d guess it is: a dive bar modeled after its American counterparts in Williamsburg. The owner says “we wanted to be like the bars in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We wanted to serve different kind of beers from Brooklyn breweries and let people bring their own food to the bar.”
The Grub: The NYC-inspired menu features an array of sliders, including BBQ Pulled Pork with coleslaw, Tuna Melt, and the ultra American-sounding Beef Burger Mac And Cheese. Booze-wise, the bar pours brews from American microbreweries and rotating guest beers, as well as locally-produced beer from the Brooklyn Brewery in Stockholm.
The Reviews Are In! “Semi-hipster’ish but really, people of all ages and types were present. Not to mention, there’s a ping pong table where you can get up to 30 people participating in a rally ping pong tournament.” –Jonathan B.
5. Brooklyn Burger Bar in Hamburg
Image: Brooklyn Burger Bar
In Brief: There’s no shortage of Brooklyn-themed things happening in Germany right now, but we’ve gotta give a little extra love to a burger joint located in the actual city burgers are named after.
The Grub: The menu is insane top-to-bottom, from the Lil’ Italy and Das Monster burgers, to the Def Jam burger with bacon marmalade (yes, bacon marmalade), to the cocktail called This Little Piggy Drank Whiskey.
The Reviews Are In! “Great Burger Joint. Loud Music. Good Beer. Amazing Cocktails. The Guys formerly of Streits Bar did a great job with this place.” –Oliver W.
6. Diner Bedford in Paris
Image: Diner Bedford
In Brief: The Bedford Avenue Diner in Paris invites patrons to “feel the cheddar smell,” whatever that means. Maybe it’s a French thing. According to the website, the owners “love Brooklyn and it’s generosity” and “decided to create an authentic diner, the same as you can find right now in NYC” – because generosity is exactly what New Yorkers are famous for.
The Grub: There’s a Chuck Norris burger. That’s really all you need to know.
The Reviews Are In! “I enjoyed myself, but I can’t get as excited as other reviewers – but then again – I’m a New Yorker. I don’t get excited over much!” –Mike N.
7. Brooklyn Burgers & Wings in Warsaw
Image: Brooklyn Burgers & Wings
In Brief: One reviewer said “The interior seems to scream American Corporate Burger Joint, however the meat for the patties is minced on site and the fries have a true homemade quality to them.” An actual American runs the place, so we have high hopes for the authenticity of its cuisine.
The Grub: Beyond the burgers and fries, this joint serves up fresh salads, cakes, homemade lemonade and other “real American food” using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients inspired by the good ol’ U-S-of-A.
The Reviews Are In! “Really good shit.” –Antoni M.
8. Brooklyn Cafe in Glasgow
Image: Brooklyn Cafe
In Brief: Glasgow’s Brooklyn Cafe was in the news earlier this year for being the first shop in Scotland to accept Bitcoin, which makes it just about as hipster as the borough it’s named after. It’s been around since 1931, though, so we can’t accuse it of hopping on a trend.
The Grub: There’s something called a “Brooklyn Cheese Steak” at Brooklyn Cafe, but we’ll forgive them for it because there’s also a bunch of burgers, ribs, and deep fried mozzarella. They also celebrate national corn dog day and serve onion rings in a stack on top of their burgers because they are not messing around.
The Reviews Are In! “The Brooklyn was the nearest cafe to my previous flat, and like some sort of hapless victim of Stockholm Syndrome, I kept pretending to myself it was much nicer than it actually was.” –John D M.
9. Ukuleleshnaya in Moscow
In Brief: Moscow’s hipsters are apparently all over the Williamsburg phenomenon and the result is a shop that sells ukuleles and vinyl (and sometimes hosts live shows). Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, someone managed to out-Brooklyn Brooklyn.
The Grub: There’s no food to speak of, but what’s not to love about a charmingly misguided (according to Google Translate the website says “In the U.S. store Ukulele, ukulele studio or club can be found at every turn”) instrument shop?
The Reviews Are In! According to Google Translate: “all the ukulele you can touch and play.” –Iriska K.
10. Fort Greene in Tokyo
Image: Fort Greene
In Brief: Brooklyn has well over 1000 restaurants that serve Japanese food. Now Japan has at least one restaurant dedicated to Brooklyn. Oh, and it’s located in a house, with a single table that seats just 10 and the chef operating the stove just a foot away.
The Grub: “I wanted [this place] to have the same mood I felt in the cafes around Fort Greene,” Chef Makoto Asamoto told Bon Appétit. “My food is mostly French, but the restaurant itself is my interpretation of Brooklyn.” Just in case you’re worried that means it’s not Brooklyn enough, the restaurant also serves its own organic wine and sells homemade granola.
The Reviews Are In! Confusingly, “Fort Greene feels like the kind of place you might stumble across on a lazy day in Williamsburg.” So great with food, but not so great with geography. Maybe Tokyo’s Brooklyn Pancake House paid a little more attention in elementary school?
Bonus Non-Brooklyn Bar: Far Rockaway in London
Image: Far Rockaway
In Brief: Opened by a former New York resident, Far Rockaway Shoreditch is an “American style bar and restaurant inspired by urban street art and culture.” Ok, so it’s not based on Brooklyn, but we think Queens deserves some love too.
The Grub: Brooklyn beers, NY-style snack food, and employees that have been trained in pizza-making by Deninos in Staten Island. Allegedly a slice is easy to fold in half, which all self-respecting New Yorkers know is the only way to eat a piece of pizza.
The Reviews Are In! “The good people of Rockaway, NY have suffered enough misfortune in recent years. You are better off at Meat Mission behind Hoxton Square.” –David R.