Berg’n, New York

In summer 2014, the creators of Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea, Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler, opened a food and beer hall in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood called Berg’n. In November 2015, my boyfriend, a high school friend, and I traveled to New York to celebrate my birthday and found ourselves at that same food and beer hall.

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The 9,000 square-foot garage space was once a Studebaker service station. Abandoned and in decay for years, the building needed some serious TLC, and Selldorf Architects had a big project on their hands. Selldorf kept the 1920s theme by adding an enormous deep-dark wooden, speakeasy-esque bar along the back wall.

Try something from the wide array of food on the booths’ menus, and try a local craft beer from the bar’s dozen rotating taps or choose from their 50+ bottle and can list. Since I’m not much of a beer person, I choose the bubbly and delightful Zapiain Cider from Gipuzkoa, Spain.

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Selldorf designers preserved the integrity of the garage-like feel by re-bricking the facade and installing brand new retractable garage doors that open to a patio during warm-weather months. And they created a social, community space with long, heavy, wooden picnic-style tables and benches lining the industrial space. It’s fun, it’s open, it’s #hipstorical.

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We were meeting with a high school friend of mine, who arrived with her husband and darling baby in tow. My friend and her family were not alone, as there were young, hip families with their toddlers and infants all around us, mixed with twenty and thirty somethings with square-framed glasses and checkered shirts.

Above and adjacent to the food and beer hall is 1000 Dean Street, a creative co-working space founded by Berg’n’s Jonathan Butler, so on any given weekday, you may see young creatives on their laptops or at the bar enjoying a break from their work.

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The food hall gets its name from an abandoned subway stop (one of the original signs is near the bar). The concept is for Berg’n to welcome rotating food booths– brick and mortar versions of food trucks or second locations for some of New York’s favorite affordable gourmet.

The first to join the troupe were Asia Dog, Pizza Moto, and Ramen Burger before Ramen Burger was replaced but Bunk’r’s Vietnamese cuisine. B’klyn Burro popped in for a bit before Lumpia Shack stepped in.

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I chose a build-your-own bowl from Lumpia Shack with chicken and brown rice. I’m a wimp when it comes to spiciness, so I had to go mild, but the sauce was perfect and had the perfect amount of flavor. It tasted fresh and light yet filling and satisfying.

Despite the roving restaurants, Samesa owners Eli and Max Sussman don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. Samesa offers Mediterranean meals including their specialty shawarma with chicken sliced off a spit.

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Lumpia Shack and Samesa’s current neighbors include Mighty Quinn’s BBQ and Ed + Bev’s Detroit-style Coney diner. Round the corner to find an old-fashioned Ice Cream Counter where you can top off your meal with Parlor Coffee, Dough donuts, or Blue Marble Ice Cream.

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Berg’n was the perfect place to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones. It’s perfect for families or happy hour crews, and they even have a back room that you can rent for parties. Enjoy it, Brooklyn. And if you’re a traveler visiting New York for the weekend and you find yourself in Brooklyn, stop by Berg’n for a beer. You won’t regret it.

Suggestions for more hipstorical places in New York? Email me and help me build my archives!

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